Brian Burke now has the Seahawks 4th in his power rankings. Aaron Schatz has Seattle second overall, and even had them first before the Patriots blew out the Texans on Monday Night. Seattle is third according to the SRS, too. Seattle is better on offense than you think: the Seahawks rank 8th in ANY/A and 11th in NY/A and 4th in rushing yards and 5th in rushing first downs. Seattle is 15th in points scored and 14th in PFR’s Expected Points Added, but they’ve done all this despite facing a pretty difficult schedule filled with good defenses.
Defensively, they’re in the top 10 in rushing yards allowed, rushing first downs allowed, rushing touchdowns allowed and EPA. The Seahawks are 4th in NY/A and 2nd in ANY/A allowed, while ranking 7th in turnovers forced, 3rd in yards allowed and 2nd in points allowed.
They’re really good and really balanced. Are they a Super Bowl contender? Absolutely. So what about that
8-5 7-6 record according to Packers fans? Well, Seattle lost by 4 in Arizona, by 6 in St. Louis, by 7 in San Francisco, by 4 in Detroit, and by 3 in Miami. They were leading in the 4th quarter in every game except the 49ers loss (trailed by 4 late in the game) and the Rams loss (intercepted in Rams territory in the final minutes). They’ve lost some close games in the 4th quarter and dominated most of their other opponents. They’re one of the best teams in the NFL. Obviously they’re even better at home, but if New England defeats San Francisco this week, the entire landscape of the NFC playoffs will change.
If the 49ers lose in Foxboro, the Seahawks control their own destiny for the division title since they host the 49ers in week 16. And if the Packers lose one of their final three games, the Seahawks would control their own destiny for the 2 seed, which would mean a bye and a home playoff game — or possibly two, if Matt Ryan and the Falcons lose like everyone expects. Essentially, Seattle fans can dream about this scenario:
– New England wins at home against San Francisco (the Patriots are 5-point favorites)
– Green Bay loses in Chicago (or in Minnesota or at home against the Titans)
– Seattle wins in Toronto, which would be their last road game of the year if…
– Seattle beats San Francisco and St. Louis at home and…
– The Falcons lose to the Giants or 49ers or whichever team they face in the second round of the playoffs
There are a lot of “ifs” and “ands” but they’re in as good a position as I can ever remember an 8-5 team being. Of course, even as the 2 seed they would likely have to beat Green Bay and then either New York or San Francisco to get to the Super Bowl, so I wouldn’t book tickets to New Orleans just yet.
[As always, the number of wins I’m projecting each team to finish the season with is in column 3. The fourth column – PWIN – shows how many wins I projected last week, and the difference column represents how many wins I added or subtracted this week. The “RSOS” column stands for the remaining SOS for the team, based on the number of projected wins I’m giving to each of their opponents. The “RHG” column stands for remaining home games.]
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