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The Seahawks are a 5-2 team playing like a two or three-win team

Baltimore Ravens v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

The Seattle Seahawks just lost by double digits for the first time since December 17, 2017. It hasn’t happened very often in the Pete Carroll / Russell Wilson era, and the rarity doesn’t help the sting whatsoever.

The loss by 14 to the Baltimore Ravens brings Seattle’s total point differential this season to +5. They’ve scored 181 points to opponents’ 176. Plus five is not good, and is a worrisome potential indicator that a 5-2 team is not worthy of the record. Plus five is the same as the 4-2 Indianapolis Colts, but it’s also the average of the 3-4 Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans. It’s six points better than the 2-5 cellar dwelling Los Angeles Chargers. It’s two points worse than a 3-3 Chicago Bears team.

Strangely enough, the offense is not to blame for Seattle nearly mirroring its opponents’ production (apart from this most recent Ravens game, at least).

Seattle fans are used to some tight spreads, but it was historically a defensive-driven philosophy and a hesitation to use Russell Wilson like teams use Aaron Rodgers or Jared Goff. The 2013 Seahawks saw some pretty dismal offensive showings, including a 12-7 win, a 14-9 win, a 19-17 loss, and a 17-10 loss.

Meanwhile, Sunday’s 16 points were the fewest that Seattle has put on the board this season, and only the second time they’ve scored under 27. If not for a meaningless fourth quarter field goal down by 17, they would have been shut out for the entire second half against Baltimore.

That strange disappearance of the offense is the outlier this year, not the standard. Seattle is a good offensive team. Maybe not great, but they’re currently fifth in total yards and a top half team in points per game. They can also still do that whole jumpy thing:

The sole reason the Seahawks are a five-win team, and I truly believe this, is Russell Wilson. Those other teams with comparable point differentials but losing records? Led by a rookie, a now-benched Marcus Mariota, a guy you thought couldn’t be any worse than Jay Cutler in Mitchell Trubisky, and Philip Rivers - though his team is just simply terrible.

Seattle’s defense has given up more points than any team with a winning record in the NFL. Let that sink in a moment. No team playing professional football has given up 176 points and won more games than they’ve lost.

Except for the Seattle Seahawks.

Seattle has now lost to two division leaders, and they simply don’t have the defense to keep up with legitimate contenders at the moment. Gone is the stifling Seattle defense, not just in star power but effectiveness. Not only in turnovers but in yards and points allowed. Gone are the wins attributed to the defensive front, and here are the losses stemming from bad rushes and worse tackling.

Sunday was the third time that Ravens QB Lamar Jackson has rushed for over 100 yards this season. However, his 8.3 yards per carry against Seattle’s defense is the highest this year. It’s actually Jackson’s best mark of his career since he started running the ball in mid-November of last season.

There’s an endless supply of theories as to what’s going wrong with the defense right now, and Field Gulls has covered all of them. Awful defensive line, lack of turnovers, or Tedric Thompson.

Whatever the case, Russell Wilson has been near perfect this season, and Seattle still comes out of week seven with a razor-thin point differential. One hopes that does not equal a razor-thin margin of error for this team’s ability to win a game.

For a visual confirmation of everything we’ve just stressed over, look who’s in the same box as the little blue Seahawk:

Throw out the Ravens because they just proved themselves superior, and by points scored in total they’ve actually got the second best offense in the league. I think they’re only in the grid because they somehow let in 40 points to the Cleveland Browns.

Everyone else?

Nowhere near playoff contender. The Oakland Raiders are bad, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are worse, and the Atlanta Falcons don’t even make sense as an organization. The Philadelphia Eagles are a surprise, but their D really is that bad, so their prospects are slim.

It’s a strange season in that after seven games, it still feels impossible to tell how good this team really is. They beat bad teams - barely. They beat mediocre teams - barely. They lose to really good teams - kind of decisively.

The one thing that Seattle has going for its defense, somewhat uniquely, is the addition of two new starting-caliber players. Jarran Reed should play better every week for the next two or three, and we hope the addition of Quandre Diggs adds some much-needed stability to the backfield.

Seattle gets to play two more teams on the struggle bus from the NFC South before they need to have all of this figured out. If not, the San Francisco 49ers will come and run them out of the divisional race.