For weeks I tried to prepare the loyal fanbase for a potential loss, and for weeks that loyal fanbase told me to fuck off! Okay, well, not all of you, but certainly some people just seemed peeved that I would suggest that a loss would be "okay" since pretty much every team loses.
Of course you want to win every game, but that's just not feasible. And a single loss, or two, or four, really don't do much to dissuade a team from not losing the only games that matter as long as they get there: Playoff games. The Seahawks are going to the playoffs, and the following numbers will continuously beat you down with facts as to why it's almost certainly a sure thing.
Don't worry, this season will definitely be a gangsta party, ain't nuthin' but a gangsta party. (2 of Amerikaz Most Wanted, Tupac featuring Snoop Dogg, 1996)
Oh, that. Also, in honor of NFL referees, I will be citing every reference this time around so that it makes it easier on the reader. I think you can already tell that it's not distracting at all, and really just very informative. On with the show, this is it! (Bugs Bunny Show, 1960)
Seahawks at Colts Win Probability Chart
When Seattle snagged a safety, they became ~90% to win, but you can be assured that if they went up 17-0 instead of 12-0, they would have no longer been a part of the 99-percent. (Occupy Wall Street, 2011)
When the Colts went ahead 14-12, it made the game brought the game back to 50/50 (50/50, 2011) but after the Jermaine Kearse touchdown, the Seahawks remained about 3-quarters favorites until 9:46 remaining in the game when the Colts were at the SEA 10 and about to score. Seattle was unable to mount a viable threat again after Indy (Raiders of the Lost Ark, 1981) went up 31-28 and that's all she wrote (Ernest Tubb, 1942)
There really wasn't anything major to report for the Seahawks side and that will happen when you kick field goals instead of score touchdowns. Again, the safety instead of a touchdown is a major swing, swing (All-American Rejects, 2002) -- and it still confounds me as to why they wouldn't have called it a touchdown. I'm sure that at this point it's beating a dead horse (John Bright, 1867, originally "flogging a dead horse"), but every time I've ever seen that play happen in a game, if the player contains possession (film, 2002, film 1981, film "The Possession" 2012) for any amount of time while in the end zone, it's six points. Jeron Johnson pretty clearly had possession and his entire body in the end zone. Instead, it's "Say no more, mon amour" (Empire Records, 1995)
The Colts had several big plays, but none bigger than the blocked field goal to give them a 14-12 lead that woke them up before they had to go-go. (Wham! 1984) That jumped there chances by almost 25-percent.
"Cool" and "Fool" of the Week
Well, this is a lot easier to do when you win.
If the Seahawks have a "Cool" this week, then Russell Wilson's groundwork and happy feet (Happy Feet, 2006) behind an offensive line of little giants (Little Giants, 1994) certainly deserves us to praise him with joyful noise (Sister Act, 1992.)
But how about a shoutout to Cliff Avril and Chris Clemons? Their sack, strip, fumble recovery set Seattle up for what should have been a surefire 29-17 lead, but they had to once again settle for 3. (Three Men and a Little Lady, 1990.)
"Cool" Seahawks: Cliff Avril, Chris Clemons
Now for something that nobody likes (Cavemen, 2007, ABC)
"Fool" Seahawks: Sidney Rice and Paul McQuistan
It seems the obvious choice to go with either, so let's do that. What McQuistan doesn't seem to understand is that we live in a world with walls (A Few Good Men, 1992) but he is like the Lt. Weinburg of defending those walls. For everyone that wonders why Alvin Bailey isn't out there instead, what makes you possibly think that you know something that Pete Carroll doesn't? I'm not saying that you always have to trust your organization in every decision that they make, but if McQuistan is out there and Bailey isn't, with how bad McQuistan may look, just trust that there is a good reason for it.
If Bailey is ready this week, then he'll play. At this point, why wouldn't he if there was any hope that he was better than McQuistan?
Sidney Rice has the highest base salary on this football team. He has six seasons prior to this one, and he has topped 500 yards just twice, including his 748 yards last season. That season was considered a "success." He currently has 10 catches for 146 yards and even if this isn't an offense built to have any 1,000-yard receivers, he hasn't been as much of a factor as Doug Baldwin or Golden Tate, and possibly even Kearse, Zach Miller, or Luke Willson.
There also isn't any real benefit to release him during the season, that's just a knee-jerk reaction (your last physical, within the last two years hopefully) to frustration that doesn't make your football team any better. It would just be easier to give him less playing time (he had less than half as many targets as Baldwin and Tate), but at the same time, we still know that somewhere in there are unbelievable highlight catches. Rice will be released, just not this year. (Catch and Release, 2006)
"Cool" Colts - T.Y. Hilton
Hilton had a good rookie season, but we've seen similar types of players come out of obscurity early in their careers only to fall right back into obscurity. (Eddie Royal, 2008) It doesn't look like that's going to happen to Hilton.
Put My Heart In A Blender: Insider-Outsiders DVOA Update (Eve 6, 1998)
We may have lost, but don't freak out. Put the bunny back in the box (Con Air, 1997)
The Seahawks have remained a steady second place in the DVOA rankings but lost to the Colts on Sunday (I don't know how to tell you this, but we were three white guys short on the offensive line if you include Zach Miller, or as we say in Ebonics, "We be fucked." (Con Air, 1997)) which means they fell to... second in the rankings. And they still have a comfortable lead over third-place Kansas City in Total DAVE (taking into account preseason projections) and a decent lead in DVOA.
A look at the top 10:
Many people have argued that the Saints, not the Broncos, are the best team in football (if not Seattle) but here's where Football Outsiders might have some issues:
- Their opponents have a combined record of 10-14, including the 1-4 Falcons and 0-4 Buccaneers. Those wins looked a lot better back then, and both games were close. They travel to face the Patriots in New England this week, something that could give them a boost in the rankings (but the Pats are actually only 12th in DVOA.)
What's wrong with their rush offense and defense? My first thought would be... a lot. (Con Air, 1997)
- The Saints defense is 32nd in yards per carry allowed.
- The Saints offense is 29th in yards per carry.
- The Saints have the 27th ranked rushing offense by DVOA and the 32nd ranked rushing defense.
Assuming both teams are relatively the same by the time they play each other (add Percy Harvin for Seattle and Lance Moore for New Orleans) why shouldn't the Seahawks be able to run for 250 yards on Monday night? Marshawn Lynch will come out there and I'll be like, "Ski mask's gotta go, homeboy." (Con Air, 1997)
By DVOA, Seattle is sixth in passing, eighth in rushing, second in pass defense, eighth in rush defense, and fourth in special teams. Their only negative mark on special teams is on kick returns, but it's not that bad. You know what I always say about returns:
My birthday is July 14th. My daddy gets out of prison on July 14th. I'm gonna see my daddy for the first time on July 14th. (Con Air, 1997)
Kind of pushing it with that last one.
Playoff and Super Bowl Odds
May the playoff odds be forever in your favor! (The Hunger Games, book 2008, film 2012)
The Seahawks remain a near-sure thing to make the playoffs and they are 83.8% favorites to win the NFC West. Why is Seattle projected for one more win than the Saints and a greater chance to make the Super Bowl (and get homefield advantage in the playoffs) despite being a game behind the Saints? (The Saint, Val Kilmer, 1997)
Stat of the Week (Easiest Remaining Schedule)
The Seahawks have the easiest-remaining schedule in the NFL by DVOA. Playoff teams from a year ago like the Falcons and Vikings have collapsed. Playoff hopefuls like the Buccaneers, Giants and Rams have seen that hope float (Hope Floats, 1998) away. Even the surprising Arizona Cardinals are still only 24th in DVOA.
That means that the toughest remaining opponents are the Saints (at home, 5th in DVOA) and the 49ers (8th in DVOA) and Seattle should be favored in every remaining game except for maybe at San Francisco. Not the case for the 5-0 Saints.
New Orleans has the third-hardest schedule remaining, with games at Seattle, at New England, Bills, at the Jets, Cowboys, 49ers, Panthers, and at Panthers. That's eight of their remaining 11 games against teams in the top 15 of DVOA. (The Bills are 11th, but probably won't have E.J Manuel back by then.) The Saints "not-hard" games are at Atlanta, at St. Louis, and the Buccaneers.
The 49ers, by way of having a very similar schedule to us, have the second-easiest remaining schedule.
Week 6 Opponent
The Titans are 16th in overall DVOA, having fallen eight spots after their loss to the Chiefs in Week 5. Another factor here is that Tennessee will be without Jake Locker, a QB you may have heard of who really rose up the rankings this year. Locker is top ten in DYAR, DVOA, and QBR, but it will be Ryan Fitzpatrick making his second start of the season.
The Titans are 17th on offense, 11th on defense, and 28th in special teams.
Chris Johnson seems to have once again led himself astray, going the wrong way on a one-way track (Runaway Train, Soul Asylum, 1992) averaging 3.1 yards per carry and Tennessee is 20th in rushing offense by DVOA.
The Seattle rushing offense will also want to run an attack on Titans (Japanese Manga, 2013 TV series) by running the football, since Tennessee boasts just the 18th-best rushing defense against the 10th-best passing defense. Expect plenty of Lynch, Wilson, and if we are lucky, Christine Michael.
(There is no known entity in pop culture to reference for a football team named "The Titans.")
Russell Wilson Stats Update
Week 6: 15-of-31, 210 yards, two touchdowns, one interception, 13 rushes for 102 yards, one fumble
In the pantheon of Russell: The most single-game carries and rushing yards in Wilson's (Home Improvement, 1991-1999) career, it was also the best yards-per-carry game (Not including playoffs. Actually, he had over 8.00 YPC in both playoff games.)
This was the fourth game in Russell's career when he completed fewer than half of his pass attempts. It was his tenth career regular season game of 200-or-more passing yards.
On the year: 74-of-127, 58.3%, 997 yards, eight touchdowns, four interceptions, 7.9 yards per attempt, 7.7 adjusted yards per attempt, 91.2 QB rating, 55.29 QBR, 40 rushes for 233 yards and no touchdowns, five fumbles.
Around the league: Wilson is 26th in pass attempts, but he is last among quarterbacks that have played in five games. He's just barely ahead of the injured Locker. (The Hurt Locker, 2008)
He's 23rd in completion percentage, but still ahead of players like Tom Brady, Joe Flacco, Cam Newton, Colin Kaepernick, and Eli Manning. He's ninth in yards per attempt and fourth in yards per completion.
Wilson is 11th in DYAR, ninth in DVOA, and 13th in QBR. He is fourth in rushing DYAR.
The thing that encourages me about Wilson (Castaway, 2000) is that he's hanging tough (New Kids On The Block aka NKOTB aka NK on the B, 1988) despite a porous offensive line. He's carrying the ball an extra two times per game compared to last season but has looked good as a runner, even if we keep pounding home that he's not a "running quarterback." He won't have to hang as tough later in the year when Russell Okung is back, or when Max Unger is back, and he'll have another major weapon when Harvin is back.
This Russ might have seen some of his numbers dip from last season, but last season's Russ didn't have to deal with the absence of Unger and Okung, and that's a bigger deal than Max Keebler's Big Move (MK's BM, 2001.)
Around the League
- You may have heard that the Denver Broncos have scored more points through five games (230) than any other team in NFL history. The last team to score 190+ through five games was the New Orleans Saints in 2009, and they did win the Super Bowl.
The 2000 Rams previously held the record and they started 6-0 but finished 4-6 and were knocked out in the first round of the playoffs.
In fact, besides the Saints, you'd have to go back to 1941 to find a team that scored 190+ through five games and won a playoff game. (Of course, there were only six teams to have ever done that.)
Bring it down a notch (170 points) and you'll find the 2011 Packers (15-1, lost in the divisional round), 2007 Cowboys (13-3, lost in the divisional round), 2007 Patriots (16-0, lost in the Super Bowl), 2002 Chiefs (8-8), 2002 Raiders (11-5, lost in the Super Bowl), 1999 Rams (13-3, won the Super Bowl), 1999 Redskins (10-6, lost in the divisional round) and 1998 Broncos (14-2, won the Super Bowl.)
It's how you finish! (Pete Carroll, most times.)
- As far as yards go, the Broncos have walked 2,449 yards and they would walk 2,449 more. (I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles), The Proclaimers, 1988) That's the third-most in NFL history through five games.
- There are only six teams in the NFC with winning records, and three of those teams are in the NFC West. That'll change this week as the 3-2 49ers play the 3-2 Cardinals, but it is interesting the conference disparity at the moment. There are 10 teams in the AFC with winning records. Last season there were eight winning teams in the NFC and six in the AFC.
Is that just a product of playing worse teams in the early going?
Blame some of it on the Falcons; Atlanta is 0-3 against the AFC East. The Bucs are 0-2 against the AFC East. The Panthers are 0-1. The Saints are 1-0.
The AFC North is 2-3 against the NFC North, with the 0-4 Steelers responsible for two of those losses.
The Chiefs are 3-0 against the NFC East, the Broncos are 3-0, the Chargers are 2-0, and the Raiders are 0-1. The NFC East is really dragging down the rest of the conference (Titanic, 1997), but the rest of the NFC can take plenty of the blame. The Seahawks can finish 3-1 against the AFC South, but the Jags aren't a contest, the Texans were nearly a loss, and they draw the Titans without Locker. (Titanic, 1997. When Jack draws Rose.)
Overall, by my calculations that's an 18-9 record for the AFC against the NFC. The AFC is basically saying to the NFC, "Yo mama is so ugly, that her portraits hang themselves!" (Yo Momma, Wilmer Valdermama, 2006)
- Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Matt Ryan, Philip Rivers remain on 5000-yard paces. When I look at you, my heart is on a 5000-yard pace. (A country song probably) Manning's current pace is now 6,028 yards.
- Aaron Rodgers led the NFL in sacks last year, with 51. (Ichiro, Randy Johnson, Area.) Ryan Tannehill is on pace to be sacked almost 77 times. (David Carr, 2002. No, really, the NFL record for sacks in a season is 76 by Carr in 2002. Remember how the Dolphins opted not to add a tackle in the offseason?)
- The average age of the top 30 QBs in terms of pass attempts this season is 28.43, which is actually older than I was expecting. The only "old" guys I expect to go away next season are the 30-year-old Brandon Weeden, 32-year-old Matt Schaub, and the 33-year-old Michael Vick. Possibly the 34-year-old Carson Palmer. However, in about five years, after Tom Brady, Manning, Brees have passed away (pretty sure they go live on a farm somewhere (Old Yeller, 1957)) it wouldn't surprise me if QBs are churned out earlier and earlier to save costs rather than handing out $100 million contracts to Joe Flacco, Tony Romo, and other quarterbacks out of fear. (Mark Wahlberg, 1996. Also, Feardotcom, 2002.)
That's going to wrap up this special, long edition of the Seahawks Advanced Stats of the week. I hope you enjoyed it. I know that for me... it was the best of times and it was the worst of times. (Original statement.)