Nate Silver in The New York Times Five Thirty Eight politics blog argues that the Seahawks could be the worst playoff team in the history of sports.
The Seahawks are not any garden-variety 7-9 team: they are an incredibly bad 7-9 team.
First, consider the Seahawks’ point differential. They allowed 407 points during the regular season while scoring just 310, meaning that they were outscored by roughly a touchdown per game on average. Although it is quite common for N.F.L. teams to reach the playoffs with a negative point differential, none has had one as poor as the Seahawks’ minus-97.
The Seahawks, moreover, were probably fortunate to be outscored by only 97 points. Measured by yardage, their offense ranked 28th of the 32 N.F.L. teams, while their defense ranked 27th. (Bizarrely, the San Diego Chargers led the N.F.L. in both categories, but finished 9-7 and missed the playoffs.) The Seahawks’ yardage differential — they were outgained by more than 1,100 yards this season, not counting special-teams plays — was the second-worst in football, ahead of only the Arizona Cardinals.
What’s more, the Seahawks compiled this inglorious record against mediocre opposition. Not only did they have the benefit of playing six games against the other weak teams in the N.F.C. West, but their four intra-conference games were scheduled against teams in the A.F.C. West, which was also rather weak this year. According to the ratings compiled by Jeff Sagarin of USA Today, the Seahawks’ schedule was the fifth easiest in the league.
According to Aaron Schatz of Football Outsiders and their statistical analysis, the Seahawks are the third worst playoff team in NFL history.
Don Banks of Sports Illustrated explains how the playoff bracket would change if the NFL re-seeded the bracket, with New Orleans going from No. 5 see to No. 2 seed with a bye. Banks believes the league’s competition committee should consider altering the seeding format.
Dave Boling of The News Tribune debates which quarterback gives Seattle the best chance against New Orleans.
Art Thiel of Sportspressnw.com says that Seattle has little choice but to start Matt Hasselbeck at quarterback.
Doug Farrar of Sportspressnw.com discusses how Jeremy Bates tailored the offense to fit Charlie Whitehurst’s skill set against St. Louis.
Pat Kirwan of the NFL Network writes the 12th Man could help spur the Seahawks to victory on Saturday.
Clare Farnsworth of Seahawks.com writes that Seattle has advanced to the playoffs seven of the past 12 seasons.
Call them the lovable losers. The Seahawks-Rams contest on Sunday was the highest preliminary television rating for the final game of “Sunday Night Football” in its five years on NBC.
Jeff Duncan of the New Orleans Times-Picayune says the Saints will not take Seattle lightly.
Mark Triplett of The New Orleans Times-Picayune writes that at least nine Saints players are questionable heading into Saturday’s game.