By Alex Levin
In September, five experienced NFL Network analysts created a series of videos predicting every National Football League team’s record. The group was very skeptical about the Seattle Seahawks’ potential in 2018.
All five analysts speculated that the Seahawks would perform very poorly, and three of them agreed that the team would at best produce a 5-11 record. A football team only five years removed from a Super Bowl now projected to only win five games for the entire season? I believe that these analysts were wildly wrong in their predictions. And I can prove it.
The Seahawks currently sit at a mediocre 5-5 record, which doesn’t exactly scream “elite football team.” Their statistics don’t appeal at first glance either. Out of 32 teams, on offense they rank 14th in points per game and 20th in yards per game. On defense, they rank 8th in points allowed and 11th in yards allowed.
On the surface the Seahawks have met their expectations. However, looking into the NFL archives proves that the numbers deceive. I took the statistics from this season so far and compared them with the first ten games from the 2013 Seahawks, the team that won the Super Bowl. The results were very interesting.
Believe it or not, the Seahawks are statistically a better team than they were in 2013. While the Seahawks are a lot younger and inexperienced now, they have produced better numbers.
For starters, quarterback Russell Wilson is playing better. This year he has thrown for almost 200 more yards than in 2013 up to this point, which is impressive given that the Seahawks pass on only 49 percent of their plays, the lowest in the league. Wilson has also majorly improved his touchdown-to-interception ratio from 17-6 to 23-5.
The current running game, absent powerhouse back Marshawn Lynch, has also been terrific. The Seahawks committee backfield, consisting of Chris Carson, Mike Davis, and rookie Rashaad Penny, has produced 1252 rushing yards, compared to Lynch and Robert Turbin’s moderate 1025 yards in 2013.
With the addition of Russell Wilson’s substantial amount of rushing yards, the Seahawks lead the entire NFL in rushing yards, a feat that the 2013 Seahawks did not achieve.
Seahawk receiving corps also have put up notable performances. The talented trio of wide receivers in Tyler Lockett, Doug Baldwin, and David Moore continues to impress. They might remind some of the Tate-Baldwin-Kearse trio that vexed defensive backs five years ago.
While the offense hasn’t been that much of a problem, most critiques of the Seahawks focus on the young, rebuilt defense. The team said goodbye to many big-name defensive players this offseason such as Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor, and Michael Bennett. They also lost safety Earl Thomas to a leg injury.
The Seahawks have started to rebuild by surrounding Pro Bowl linebackers Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright with a plethora of rookies and second year players.
The new Seahawks defense wasn’t expected to keep up with the pre-existing Legion of Boom, but the youngsters have proved critics wrong. Defensive linemen Frank Clark and Jarran Reed have combined for an impressive total of 15.5 sacks so far, while safety Bradley McDougald currently is second for the team with 44 tackles, with an additional two interceptions.
The cornerback position has been taken over by promising second-year player Shaquill Griffin and rookie Tre Flowers. Both have proved themselves as worthy opponents to receivers in coverage. Griffin has tallied a pair of interceptions, which is not bad for an inexperienced defense.
The Seahawks have improved on both sides of the ball since 2013, but the question still remains. If the team is doing better than when they won the Super Bowl, does that mean they have a chance for the big game again?
Since the team currently has a .500 record it is going to be difficult. However, the playoffs are not yet out of reach.
“I think we can turn this around, we have a tough schedule. It’s going to show what we’re made of,” said Wagner. Winning the next two games against the Panthers and the Vikings would give the Seahawks a huge advantage in the wild card race. While the playoffs remain in question, one thing I can say is this: the Seahawks are not going to finish the season 5-11.