The Seattle Seahawks are 3-1 but have had offensive struggles, are unable to protect Russell Wilson, and some defensive lapses on a number of drives against mediocre offenses. So maybe they aren’t the best team in the NFL and maybe they won’t win the Super Bowl for the second time in four seasons.
Don’t tell that to FootballOutsiders.com though.
The advanced stats website currently has the Seahawks with 86.6% odds to make the playoffs, 50.8% odds to get a bye week, 20.7% odds to win the Super Bowl. That’s well ahead of second-place Pittsburgh, as the Steelers are at 11.7% after four weeks. However, the Seahawks are just second in DVOA behind the Philadelphia Eagles, so what gives?
Well, you have to understand that advancing in the playoffs may actually have more to do with your opportunities than it does your talent levels relative of other teams in the conference. Because the Arizona Cardinals have flopped to a 1-3 record, that wiped out Seattle’s only real (we assume) threat to win the NFC West. Yes, the LA Rams are 3-1 and hold the tiebreak over the Seahawks by beating them in Week 2, but the Rams are still only 24th in DVOA because of their 31st-ranked Case Keenum offense and still-developing 12th-ranked defense.
LA is 43.1% to make the playoffs, an amazingly improved number from preseason expectations, but only 17.5% to win the NFC West, making it unlikely that they’ll get a home game if they did make the postseason.
The Eagles, meanwhile, must still deal with the ninth-ranked Dallas Cowboys. Not only do the Cowboys have a top running game, but will be getting Tony Romo back in Week 8. They also can’t count out the 14th-ranked Washington Redskins or 20th-ranked New York Giants. It’s a much more competitive division right now than the NFC West appears to be.
Now, some people hate “great playoff odds” because they believe in magic and think that it will “jinx” the Seahawks chances of actually winning the Super Bowl. This is just a mathematical calculation. It doesn’t mean Seattle will win anything. It just takes what we know and uses it to calculate what could happen. We know the Seahawks are good, we know that they might have an easier path to a division title, home game, and bye week because of their opponents. After that, it really is a crapshoot.
Maybe just a slightly rigged one.