There are a lot of people ready to go back to calling the Seahawks the best team in the NFL, including yours truly, and that's cause to celebrate. As you know, I suffer from "alcoholism," which for the lay person translates as "I party early, hard and often" and so I like to celebrate with a beverage.
This beverage contains a substance known as "alcohol" (which is named after what it does: All Kill, All) and makes you feel good about things but also forget bad things. It works so well that people have been drinking it for centuries and they've put it in all sorts of different forms so that eventually you'll find one that tastes good.
It's like Flintstones Vitamins for adults.
I personally like 'em all, it's too hard to choose! When the Seahawks are good, you never know what will be best to celebrate with. And if it all falls apart, you'll need to know what to use to best make yourself forget how sad you are. Below are the Seattle advanced stats for the week and I've paired each bit of information with the best alcoholic beverage that suits it.
Let's make like the 49ers and Rams and tie one on! Here's an update on the Advanced Stats going into Week 8:
Seahawks at Cardinals, Win Probability Chart (per Pro-Football-Reference)
Pair with: Chardonnay
The Seahawks went into Arizona on Thursday night, a place where they had lost six of their last seven games against the Cardinals, and won rather easily. Despite another game that would have had T-Jack playing by the fourth quarter if not for some first half mistakes, this one went down the gullet like buttery lobster. The creamy, full body of a nice magnum bottle of $9.99 Chardonnay (try Yellow Tail) is the perfect complement to a game that was rarely ever in doubt.
Seattle was listed as 66.5% favorites at kickoff and midway through the third quarter, had pretty much put a cork in any chances for Arizona to win this one.
Pair with: IPA
I choose to pair this big play selection with a nice, rich, not-too-bitter IPA because I don't think you need anything to go with a delicious glass of Racer 5. There weren't many big plays in this contest, in terms of WPA, because it was a game rarely ever in doubt.
Russell Wilson connecting with Sidney Rice for a 31-yard touchdown to make it 7-0 was worth about +8-percent, and that's about as big as it's going to get in a game like this. Matt Shaugnessy's sack and fumble of Wilson in the second quarter added almost +13-percent to the Cards chances, but they were still well-behind any good chances of winning this game.
When I've got nothing in front of me but an alcoholic beverage, make it an expensive IPA.
"Cool" and "Fool" of the Week
Brandon Browner had his best game of the season, deflecting three passes and recording his first interception of the year. Browner had six pass deflections in 12 games last year and already has eight in five games this year. He's consistently treated like the fourth Amigo in the "Legion" (Can we just address that calling a unit a name sort of feels "WWE-ish"? And I'm not talking about the WWF, which is legit as fuck, I'm talking about everything that happened to that sport after I turned 13 and stopped watching.) He's consistently treated like the fourth Amigo in the secondary, but if Brandon Browner is your fourth-best player in the secondary, you've got a really damn good secondary.
He's a really good player.
Someone else that we haven't addressed much this year is Bruce Irvin. He played in 56 snaps on Thursday (75% of total snaps on defense) and he didn't record a sack but Advanced NFL Stats credited Irvin with 5 "Successful Plays." The Success Count description on the glossary page is kind of vague, but I'll say that it's good to see Irvin earn this much playing time at a new position and not look bad out there. Just another player to not forget about on a defense full of players we're constantly thinking about.
But I gotta give my cool to my main dude.
"Cool" of the Week - Russell "Mania" Wilson
We'll get more into Wilson in our Russell Section, but he just had the most successful road game of his career. Against a division opponent, on a Thursday, on the road, behind a still-shitty offensive line, Wilson was at his best.
I don't even know how to describe what it's like having Russell Wilson because we literally never have had anyone like this. A year ago today we were still debating if he should be benched for Matt Flynn and now the closest thing I can compare him to from a Seattle perspective is Ken Griffey Jr or Gary Payton. I can't even compare him to Felix Hernandez because Felix wasn't really dominant until his fourth or fifth season in the majors.
Wilson is one of the best quarterbacks in the league. Now. Right now. There's a real debate as to whether or not Wilson or Luck is the best QB under 30 and I still think a lot of the reasoning behind choosing Luck over Wilson still weighs heavily in the physical stature department. I can't wait to go over the stats here in a bit, because Wilson's are pretty much better than anything we've ever seen as Seahawks fans. And he's 25. (Correction: He doesn't turn 25 until November 29!)
Pair with: Henry IV Cognac Grande Champagne
Because this is only something good enough for a King.
"Fool" of the Week - Carson Palmer
Palmer might not be better than John Skelton, but at least he's older and more expensive.
Pair with: Mango-Lime Mad Dog 20/20
Because you might wanna get fucked up for this if you're a Cardinals fan.
Seahawks "Fools" of the Week - The Offensive Line
It's a testament to the defense, Wilson, and Marshawn Lynch, that this team is winning right now, because most teams need to have a good offensive line to score points. Seattle does not have that. Pete Carroll said this week that Russell Okung was doing well and that he'd have a chance to practice in two weeks and return in four. That sounds like he might be ready by the Seahawks Monday Night game against the Saints in Week 13, which follows a Bye week.
Carroll added that Breno Giacomini was slower to recover than originally anticipated and they'd hope to have him back in a couple of weeks. We're just going to have to stick it out and hope to survive the next four.
The Rams have a very talented defensive line. The Bucs don't have much of a pass defense but are one of the best run defenses in the league. The Falcons don't provide much of a threat in that respect, and maybe in all respects right now. And then it's Jared Allen and the Vikings, but yeah, the Vikings.
Pair with: Moonshine
We're going to need to bite the bullet on this one, hope we pass out and still wake up alive in a few hours. We don't want to wake up dead.
Put My Heart In a Blender: Inside-Outsiders DVOA Update
With Denver's loss, the gap between first and second is shrinking ever so softly.
The Seahawks became the number one defense in the NFL by DVOA, overtaking the Kansas City Chiefs. However, what they gained on defense, they lost a bit on offense and special teams. If not for some of those big special teams mistakes, you'd have to think that their true talent is much better than tenth overall. The additions of Michael Robinson and Percy Harvin should provide an additional boost later on, perhaps as soon as Monday.
Seattle's overall DVOA only went up by 0.1%, but the Broncos fell from 46.6% to 40.9% after their loss to the Colts. Beyond just their defensive issues, Denver has now turned it over eight times in their last three games and Peyton Manning has looked great.
Great, as compared to, the perfect machine that he was to start the year.
Beyond what would have seemed unreasonable even three weeks ago, you'd have to think that it would be worse to face the Colts in the Super Bowl than it would be to face the Broncos. Weird.
Pair with: "I only had a couple, officer."
Because that's a solid defense.
Playoff and Super Bowl Odds
Well, this is neat.
I'm not sure if in the history of, whatever you want to call it, advanced stats, the NFL, the world, but I'm not sure that there's ever been a time when mathematics said that the Seahawks were the favorites to win the Super Bowl. Until now.
Denver's odds fell by a lot, from 24.9% last week to 18.8% this week, all with a single loss to a team that might just be better than them. And the Patriots might be better. And the Chiefs might be better. Most importantly, the Broncos chances of the number one seed took a significant blow while the Seahawks chances increased quite a bit. Seattle is 81.1% to get a Bye week in the playoffs and Denver has the second-highest odds to do that at 51.1%.
The Seahawks are 67.5% to get the number one seed in the NFC, while the Saints are only at 11.6%. There is a 6.1% chance that Seattle will win the rest of their games.
Is 15-1 all that crazy? The Seahawks are 13-3 over their last 16 regular season games, and they'll be 14-2 over the last 16 if they beat the Rams on Monday.
Pair with: An Old E forty in a ghetto grocery bag
On account of how good it feels to be a gangsta.
Stat of the Week
Over their last 15 regular season games, the Seahawks are 13-2 and they've scored 463 points (30.8 points per game) and allowed 227 points (15.1 points per game.)
The franchise record for points in a season is 452 (2005) and lowest points allowed is 245 (2012) so put that into perspective if you can. Here let me try to do that for you.
Pair with: Three bottles of Everclear
You're in a hospital bed. You're surrounded by your family and your closest friends as the doctors break the news to them that you partied too hard and you're in a better place now. You realize that you're now floating above the bed, looking down at your mother, your father, little Timmy, and your girlfriend. They're crying but you're calm, euphoric even. In fact, this is the best you've ever felt.
You're dead. This is heaven.
Week 8 Opponent
The Rams are 26th in DVOA, 22nd on offense, 27th on defense, and 11th on special teams. Going into the season, most people thought it would be their defense carrying the offense, but it's shifted a bit the other way.
And now St. Louis is without their best player on that offense.
With the news that Sam Bradford will miss the year, the Rams will be starting Kellen Clemens now and for the foreseeable future. If that's not damning enough, they just signed Brady Quinn and Austin Davis to be his backups. Did Quinn's experience with Seattle over the summer have anything to do with that signing? Would it matter if it did?
Breaking it down, the Rams are 30th in pass defense and 16th in run defense. That's pretty much the opposite of what people were expecting with the cornerback duo of Cortland Finnegan and Janoris Jenkins, in addition to the pass rush of Robert Quinn and Chris Long. Finnegan has missed three games and is questionable for Monday. Their starting safeties are T.J. McDonald and Rodney McLeod -- which sounds more like it should be the starring duo of a 1983 buddy cop TV show with William Shatner and Erik Estrada.
"McDonald & McLeod" (McLeod is always more concerned about picking up chicks than taking out bad guys, but at the end of the day he gets the job done.)
St. Louis is 20th in passing offense and 31st in rushing offense. It was probably the right move to let Steven Jackson leave, his age is showing this year at least in terms of health, but it was the wrong move to rely on Daryl Richardson, Zac Stacy and Isaiah Pead. A second round pick last year (it's always going to be fun to say things like "ahead of Russell Wilson") Pead will probably be cut at some point. He's rushed for 75 yards in his career, and that number is not due to injury.
Richardson is averaging 2.9 yards per carry. Stacy, a fifth round rookie, has strung together a few nice games in a row now but is he going to be able to produce as an every-down back?
Pair with: Really cheap tequila, no chaser
Sorry Rams fans, this isn't going to go down smooth, you're just going to have to suck it down and deal with it and hopefully next year you don't have a hangover. (But you probably will and will want to die.)
Russell Wilson Stats Update
Week 7 - 18-of-29, 235 yards, three touchdowns, no interceptions, 8.1 yards per attempt, 10.17 adjusted yards per attempt, 122.1 QB rating, 40 DYAR, eight rushes for 29 yards, no touchdowns.
In the pantheon of Russell -
For the first time in his career, Wilson threw three touchdowns in a game on the road. It was his second-highest road QB rating, just behind the 125.9 he had in Miami last season. He is now 6-6 on the road in his career (7-7 including playoffs) and I think this is pretty cool for a guy just starting out.
Just a reminder that Wilson is 11-0 at home in his career. A win in St. Louis this week and he'll be 7-6 on the road. The Seahawks are now 5-1 in their last six road games. Seattle is 5-0 when Wilson throws three or more touchdowns, 6-0 if you include his rushing touchdowns against the Bills.
On the season - 115-of-187, 61.5%, 1,489 yards, 11 touchdowns, four interceptions, 8.0 yards per attempt, 8.2 adjusted yards per attempt, 97.2 QB rating, 60.46 QBR, 58 rushes for 323 yards, 283 DYAR (9th), 10.6% DVOA (10th).
Wilson is sixth in the NFL in yards per attempt, tied for third in touchdown percentage (5.9%), 14th in INT percentage (2.1% and dropping), sixth in yards per catch (12.9) and seventh in QB rating.
Pair with: Gin and juice
Because Russell Wilson's number of pass attempts this year is 187 with a gun in ya mouth.
Russell Wilson since the start of the second half last season, including playoffs:
17 games, 277-of-432, 64.1%, 3,713 yards, 218.4 yards per game, 30 touchdowns, 7 interceptions, 8.6 yards per attempt, 107.7 QB rating, 131 carries for 811 yards, 6.2 yards per carry, four touchdowns, team is 14-3.
For a player who only had eight games of NFL experience before that streak, that's pretty fucking phenomenal.
That's a TD percentage (TD / Pass Attempts) of 6.9%, and only Peyton Manning has a higher figure than that. Philip Rivers is second with 6 percent.
That's an INT percentage (INT / Pass Attempts) of 1.6%, which is what Alex Smith has this year and is seventh in the NFL.
Aaron Rodgers had a QB rating of 108 last year, best in the NFL.
I'm trying to find a player to compare Wilson to, but at this point there isn't one. He's throwing like Drew Brees (but with fewer attempts), gaining yards on the ground like Robert Griffin III, and winning like Tom Brady. If people want homo-erotic references in regards to Wilson to stop, maybe start blaming Wilson. Seriously dude, stop shakin' that sexy thang.
Pair with: The blood of Jesus
Jesus pairs his bread with the blood of Russell.
Around the League
- The Pro Football Reference Simple Rating System rankings currently have, in order: Broncos, Seahawks, Colts, 49ers, Chiefs, Saints, Packers, Panthers, Cowboys. Those nine teams are decently ahead of 10th place San Diego, and six of them are in the NFC.
Homefield advantage is going to be pretty key for Seattle. For the 49ers to take that away, they'd have to beat Seattle and then be one game better than them over the final eight other games. (Depending on a few other factors, they might not have to do the other thing, but let's not needlessly complicate things.) What about the Saints?
New Orleans has the biggest offensive disparity in the NFL, ranking fourth in passing by DVOA and 26th in rushing. It will be interesting to see the Saints and Seahawks match up in Week 13, but how good of a chance does Seattle have of stopping Brees and this offense? Well, the Patriots have the fifth-ranked pass defense by DVAO (Seahawks are 2nd) and they shut down Jimmy Graham for no catches. Seattle is ranked third in the NFL against tight ends this year.
Brees completed fewer than half of his 36 pass attempts and for just 6.55 yards per attempt.
And the Saints lost.
- According to DVOA, the Chiefs defense has faced the easiest schedule of offenses in the NFL. They get the Browns this week and the Bills next week. Then they face the Broncos.
Seattle has faced the 27th-hardest schedule in the league. The Arizona Cardinals rank fifth in defensive DVOA and have faced the 10th-hardest schedule.
- The Cowboys offense has faced the easiest schedule of defenses in the NFL. The Seahawks have faced the ninth-hardest. The Broncos have faced the 28th-hardest.
- The 49ers ranked 32nd in variance on offense. That means that they are the least consistent offense in the NFL. That can be a bad thing or a good thing. For example, it means that sometimes they are really, really great. But the Bucs rank fourth in variance on offense. They are always terrible.
Seattle ranks 28th in variance on defense and 21st on offense.
- The Hawks defense actually ranks 26th against a number one receiver and 27th against a number two receiver. But the interesting thing is that how often do teams target their number one receiver against Richard Sherman and the defense? Only 6.8 times per game, fifth-fewest in the NFL. They target a number two receiver 4.6 times per game, third-fewest amount of attempts per game in the NFL. They more heavily target the other players on the field:
Seattle ranks third against WR3, third against TE, and third against RB.
- I've been tracking it all year, so why stop now? Philip Rivers dropped out of the club that's on pace for 5,000 yards, leaving only Manning, Brees, Matt Ryan, and Rodgers. Manning is no longer on pace for 6,000 yards, but he is on pace for 57 touchdown passes.
- There is still time for other players to catch up, but at the current pace, only 12 running backs are on pace to rush for at least 1,000 yards this year if you take out Doug Martin (IR) and Eddie Lacy (missed games already.) And there's still time for injuries and poor performance to knock that number down even further. Compare that to 17 running backs to eclipse 1,000 yards in 2010 and you'll see how big the disparity is becoming.
Kind of quietly, Lynch is second in the NFL in rushing yards and rushing touchdowns.
Russell Wilson is 21st in the league in rushing yards, ahead of players like BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Maurice Jones-Drew, Stevan Ridley, Darren McFadden, and Ray Rice.
Oh man, have you seen Ray Rice's numbers this year? Pair that with some fava beans and a nice chianti because that dude is dead.
- Robert Mathis, the veteran defensive end for the Colts that has already had a very good career, has a career-high 11.5 sacks in seven games. He's on pace for 25 sacks right now. Can a 32-year-old with one second-team All-Pro appearance in his career start building a Hall of Fame resume?
And sort of like 500 home runs in baseball, at what point are voters going to start considering the era that defensive players are playing in moreso than the stats themselves?
- Chiefs linebacker Justin Houston already has 10 sacks, as many as he had last year. Houston was a third round pick out of Georgia in 2011 and he already has 25.5 career sacks. So that's the most in the class, right? Not exactly:
Aldon Smith, J.J. Watt, Von Miller, Houston, Robert Quinn, Ryan Kerrigan, Jabaal Sheard. Kind of a good class.
Now sit back, relax, and pair this comment section with a lot of cheap domestic beer and a little bit of love.