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Seahawks’ waning home dominance may prove costly for a third straight season

NFL: Los Angeles Chargers at Seattle Seahawks Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

On December 24th, 2016, the Seattle Seahawks lost 34-31 against an Arizona Cardinals team that was already eliminated from the playoffs. This cost them the #2 seed, which went to the eventual NFC champion Atlanta Falcons, who eliminated the Seahawks in the divisional round.

It was a bad time for Seattle to lose its first and only home game all season. Since then, they have been uncharacteristically mediocre at 800 Occidental Ave.

Dating back to the Cardinals loss in 2016, the Seahawks are 6-7 in their last 13 home games, and 5-7 in the regular season (2-6 in their last 8) after Sunday’s 25-17 defeat against the Los Angeles Chargers. In that same span, they are 9-6 in all road games, and 9-5 in the regular season. That’s right, the Seahawks are currently a more successful road team than home team, a far cry from when Russell Wilson prevailed in his first 15 home starts.

Last year, the Seahawks were an impressive 5-3 outside of CenturyLink Field, but a 4-4 mark at home cost them a playoff spot. They lost three of their final four home games, including the 42-7 thrashing against the Rams and that ridiculous 17-14 defeat almost a year ago to the day against a banged up, mediocre Washington team that barely fielded a full squad. Even though it didn’t matter in the end, they also lost again to the Cardinals, who missed the playoffs and were starting Drew Stanton at QB.

This year, they’ve lost two close games to the Los Angeles Rams and Chargers. Winning both would’ve put them a half-game out of first-place in the NFC West. Instead their playoff hopes took a hit, and that home schedule doesn’t get a whole lot easier. Their next two CenturyLink Field appearances are against the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings, dangerous foes for two different reasons. Green Bay has consistently been a team Wilson has struggled against, and you can never count out Aaron Rodgers. Minnesota of course has a vicious defense and a terrific receiving duo in Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs. For as long as the Chicago Bears are holding serve, the Packers and Vikings are wild card rivals.

At this stage of the season and with the way the NFC is shaping up, the Seahawks have little room for error regardless of where they play, but the least they could do is defend their home turf a lot better than we’ve seen recently.