The Seattle Seahawks turned in a dud at home, losing 27-13 to the Arizona Cardinals and seriously damaging their hopes of getting the #1 seed in the NFC. As you all know, the #1 seed means the only “away” game you’re playing the rest of the postseason is a neutral-site Super Bowl, so teams in contention push hard to get home field advantage throughout the playoffs.
Here’s the problem for the Seahawks: They don’t really have a home field advantage anymore.
From 2012-2016, the Seahawks were 39-6 (playoffs included) at CenturyLink Field, best in the entire damn NFL and six games better than the second-best team in the NFC (Green Bay Packers). That’s home dominance for you.
Since 2017, they are just 14-9 in Seattle, which is a pedestrian 13th and tied with the Buffalo Bills. Even more staggering is the fact that the Seahawks are among nine teams who have boasted a winning record every season from 2017-2019 — I am counting any team that’s 8-7 at the moment like the Philadelphia Eagles — and Seattle has the worst home record among those nine teams.
For a team that has prided itself on not losing by multi-score margins, three of the Seahawks’ heaviest defeats under Russell Wilson have come at home: 42-7 against the Los Angeles Rams, 30-16 against the Baltimore Ravens, and 27-13 against the Cardinals. The 33-27 loss to the New Orleans Saints was a blowout in spirit, seeing as the final touchdown was as time expired. They were also down 25-10 to the Los Angeles Chargers with under two minutes to go, but the combination of the Seahawks’ “never say die” attitude and the Chargers’ mere existence created a dramatic ending.
What has been most eye-popping about the 2019 Seahawks at home is that they have a -19 point differential, and they have been outscored by 40 points in the first half, ranking near the bottom of the NFL. They have led at halftime only once at home all season, which to put into perspective, the f—king 1-14 Cincinnati Bengals have done that more often than Seattle. Intimidation factor? If it exists, it’s been more intimidating for the Seahawks than their opponents. Has the schedule been tough? Sure! You’ve seen the Ravens and Saints as Super Bowl contenders, but what’s the point of home field advantage if you don’t look like you have any discernible advantage?
The only other time under Russell Wilson in which the Seahawks were this poor at home was the 2017 season — again, negative point differential and poor first halves.
I said this at the start of the season and stand by it: these Seahawks are a lot closer to the 2017 team than anyone would like to admit. You know, the one that trailed at halftime to the 4-12 Indianapolis Colts, barely beat the 6-10 San Francisco 49ers, only led 10-7 deep into the 4th quarter against the 3-13 New York Giants, actually lost to 7-9 Washington, and fittingly missed the playoffs in part because they lost to an 8-8 Arizona team that started Drew Stanton at quarterback.
That was a team that suffered critical injuries at key positions, repeatedly struggled to separate themselves from seemingly inferior opposition, notched a couple of big road wins, didn’t play well at home, and faded in December. Thankfully the 2019 team has a much better running game and a better, more efficient Russell Wilson, but the injuries at running back may spell the death of this rushing attack, and we’ve not seen Wilson at his best for over a month. Hell, even the 2017 team didn’t have as many close wins as this year’s squad.
It’s hard to maintain home dominance when you just simply are not that good anymore. The Seahawks have a good team but they are far from great, and the injuries have made achieving greatness that much more difficult.
We have been looking so heavily at past results from the glory years and assuming this is how the Seahawks will operate moving forward (or at least as long as Pete Carroll and/or Russell Wilson are around). Perhaps it’s time to re-examine that line of thinking, because those days are gone, and so is Seattle’s once monstrous home field advantage.