If there’s anything that no one could’ve predicted about the 2017 NFL season, it’s the distinct possibility that the Seattle Seahawks could miss the playoffs because of their uninspiring W-L record at home.
Seattle comes into Sunday night’s pivotal matchup vs. the 10-1 Philadelphia Eagles having lost their last two at CenturyLink Field, including a 34-31 defeat on Monday night against the Atlanta Falcons. It marked just the sixth time Seattle had lost a home primetime matchup at the stadium since it opened in 2002.
The Seahawks have only dropped consecutive home games one other time in the Russell Wilson era, and that was back in 2015, when Seattle fell 27-23 to the eventual NFC champion Carolina Panthers, then 39-32 a few weeks later against the NFC championship runner-up Arizona Cardinals. That year also represents the worst home record for the Seahawks under Wilson, a still-above-.500 mark of 5-3.
In a rarity under Wilson, Seattle is a 4-point underdog against the Eagles, who could literally win the NFC East if Washington beats the Dallas Cowboys on Thursday night. Philadelphia’s only loss of the season came on the road against the Kansas City Chiefs, whose stadium is also known (especially to longtime AFC-era Seahawks fans) for being a difficult venue for the opposition. Should Seattle fail to pull off what would be considered an upset on Sunday, it would be just the second time that the team has ever lost three straight at CenturyLink Field. The dreadful 2008 squad went just 2-6 at then-Qwest Field, including a five-game losing streak before ending on a high with a 13-3 upset over the New York Jets.
This has been a really odd year for the Seahawks in terms of away vs. home performances. Two of their three biggest wins by point differential were at the New York Giants and the San Francisco 49ers. Their turnover differential is +4 on the road but just +1 at home. Russell Wilson has thrown six of his eight interceptions at home, they’ve allowed 23.2 points per game at CLink, compared to just 16 on the road. Not once have they led at halftime in any home game, and four of the five teams they’ve faced currently have a losing record.
There’s a real possibility that the Seahawks wind up 6-2 on the road and 4-4 at home (L vs. Eagles, L vs. Rams, W vs. Cardinals), or at least finish with a better away record than home, something that hasn’t happened since 2002.
I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that this Sunday night is one of the biggest and most important home games in the Russell Wilson era. To knock off the best team in the NFL despite a depleted secondary and a virtually one-dimensional offense would be huge not just for Seattle’s playoff hopes, but for the general belief that they can still make a deep postseason run despite all that’s transpired just within November.
Bring on the Eagles!