November 19, 2012; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) runs with the ball against Chicago Bears defensive tackle Nate Collins (93) during the third quarter at Candlestick Park. The 49ers defeated the Bears 32-7. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-US PRESSWIRE
The St. Louis Rams followed up their disappointing tie with the San Fransisco 49ers by showing their fans what real disappointment was as they let the dysfunctional Jets come into the Edward Jones Dome and walk all over them. Only the most diehard or delusional of St. Louis Rams fans still believes they have a shot at the playoffs, even though technically they haven’t been mathematically eliminated yet. The Rams happen to be the youngest team in the NFL this season and it has definitely shown at times. Of course the Rams also seem to be on the short end of the stick when it comes to lucky bounces this season, whether it is unlucky bounces or questionable officiating/clock management the Rams are a handful of lucky breaks away from 6-4 instead of 3-6-1. While the Rams have been unlucky this season the Seattle Seahawks have been very lucky, with no greater evidence of that than the Monday Night debacle against the Green Bay Packers. As we approach the final leg of the season and the playoff picture becomes clear that game becomes less important to the Packers, who have rebounded very nicely, than it is to the Seahawks. Yes the Seahawks are clearly in the race for a playoff spot, and coming off their bye week will travel to Miami to take on the Dolphins. So what are some things that Seahawks fans are focusing on as their team makes a push for the postseason?
Russell Wilson. Of course Seahawks fans are talking about their young QB who has played well enough to keep them in the playoff hunt so far this season. The Seahawks have a 5-0 record at home so far this season and their young quarterback has only thrown the one game winning interception at home. The Seahawks running game and defense have been consistent either on the road or at home, but Wilson has been the difference between their 1-4 road record and their 5-0 home record. So I figured it was worth looking at the Home and Away numbers to see just how much more comfortable he has been at home, the chart below is for Wilson’s first 10 games as the Seahawks quarterback.
As you can see the numbers for yards per game and completion percentage are virtually the same, while the number of attempts per game is considerably higher on the road (28) versus at home (22). The areas where Wilson is clearly better at home are his yards per attempt, and touchdown to interception ratio. The fact that he has thrown 11 touchdowns and no interceptions at Century Link field is an impressive statistic, but he has also been almost equally disappointing on the road as he has thrown twice as many interceptions as touchdowns. If the Seahawks want to get to the playoffs this season they will need Wilson to play better on the road in at least one of their games.
Seattle’s Defense. The Seahawks defense had a huge day against the Jets in their last game after having a fairly rough four game stretch that saw them give up 21 points per game, well above their season average of 16.1, on the way to a 2-2 record. For all the Seahawks successes on defense so far this season they still are not particularly good at getting off the field on third down, allowing opponents to convert on 40.6% of third down opportunities. While Seattle’s defense has been consistent on the road or at home this season, their are some things they clearly do better at home. Rushing the passer is something they do much better at home than on the road as the team averages 1.7 sacks per game at home to just 1.1 on the road. The Seahawks defense has played well enough to win on the road, but they have still been better at home than on the road this season and that is something they need to change.
Playoffs. The Seahawks are currently sitting in a tie for the 6th seed in the NFC with only 6 games remaining. They also have all 3 division opponents at home on their remaining schedule with a good shot to come away at 2-1 or 3-0 in those games. Their away schedule consists of Miami, Chicago and Buffalo which Seahawks fans will tell you is an opportunity to run the table. Here is an interesting tidbit, the only team that Seattle has managed to beat on the road so far this season was the Carolina Panthers (2-8). Their remaining away opponents have a combined 15-15 record with the Bears at 7-3 and Miami and Buffalo each at 4-6. Historically speaking teams from the west coast that travel to the east coast have performed poorly, for a team that is already a poor road performer to have to travel all the way across country to pick up a win may be a tall order, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Seahawks for 0-3 in their remaining away games. Of course I don’t expect that to happen, and if the Seahawks want to make the playoffs they need to make sure that it doesn’t happen.
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