NFL

Seahawks inability to score on the road may be a fatal playoff flaw

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The Seattle Seahawks have a problem.

Not just because they were hammered by the Green Bay Packers, 38-10—though that is a good indicator of it.

No, the problem the Seahawks have is an inability to win on the road. More specifically, they can’t score on the road.

Defensively, the team generally plays well both at home and away, Sunday’s bludgeoning notwithstanding, allowing just 17.8 points against per game. The split on the road and at home aren’t much different—19 points allowed on the road (including Sunday) versus 16.5 at home.

Sure, that’s not an insignificant difference, but it’s not the end of the world either.

Where it becomes an issue is with how many points the offense scores.

At home, Russell Wilson and the boys average 28.6 points per game. Given the defensive numbers we just looked at, this is a good amount and wins the Seahawks their home games.

On the road, things are less rosy.

The Seahawks average 14.5 points per game away from Seattle, and Sunday’s 10 point effort dropped that down from 15.3.

So the team is allowing 17.8 points per game on the road, and scoring just 14.5. Before Sunday that margin was razor thin—the aforementioned 15.3 points scored per game before  Sunday was already below the 15.8 points per game allowed before that game.

This was a problem prior to the loss to the Packers and it’s going to loom large in the playoffs.

The Seahawks are lucky to have two of their last three games at home. While they trail the Detroit Lions by a game for the second seed and a first-round bye, the Lions aren’t looking at an easy road given they face the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys on the road and then the Green Bay Packers in a critical matchup in Week 17.

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So the Seahawks could creep back into that second spot, which would allow them to play at home until they have to face the Cowboys in the NFC Championship game—assuming both teams make it that far.

The Seahawks also have challenges coming from the Atlanta Falcons and Tampa Bay Buccaneers both of whom are neck and neck with Seattle right now. If the Seahawks drop a game, both the Falcons and Buccaneers can overtake them as well.

Much like their points for vs. points against statistic, there is little margin for error here. The Seahawks are not well served by any playoff schedule that isn’t mostly home games. On the road, they are just a much less effective offensive team, as we saw again on Sunday.

This time it was a poor game by Wilson. Sometimes it’s a lack of running game. On rare occasions, the defense collapses, like on Sunday, but the offense never seems to be able to bail them out the way they do on occasion at home.

For a team which is so dominant at home, whose fans make such a clear difference for them, this team seems to fold when they are traveling.  That 2-4-1 record is no fluke. The Seahawks do not score points on the road and the result is an inability to win games.

There’s little chance things are suddenly going to change out of nowhere, so the Seahawks have to get that second seed.

If they can’t, the numbers aren’t promising for a long stay in the playoffs.


About Andrew Garda

Andrew Garda is a freelance writer primarily covering NFL football, with frequent side trips to everything else. A member of the Pro Football Writers Association, he is a contributing writer for Sports on Earth and Pro Football Weekly. He also covers fantasy for Footballguys.com. Garda is the host of the At the Whistle podcast and has been credentialed for many NFL drafts, Senior Bowls, pro days and various NFL events.