Just how bad are the Seattle Seahawks? Well, they’re probably the worst playoff team in NFL history.
Even at an embarrassing 7-9, the Seahawks are worse than their record would suggest. According to the Simple Rating System, the Seahawks were the third worst team in all of football. Jeff Sagarin’s ratings had them 29th after the regular season.
They are woeful by all offensive and defensive metrics as well. 29th in yards per play. 28th in total yards. 28th in 1st downs. 27th in yards allowed. Well, you get the idea.
Five of their seven victories came against San Francisco, Arizona (twice), Carolina and St. Louis. Combined record of those teams: 20-44. Even that number is misleading though, because 11 of those 20 wins came against each other — the four NFC West teams and Carolina — and only two of the 20 were against winning teams (San Diego and New Orleans). In other words, five of Seattle’s seven wins came against the other four worst teams in football.
To put into perspective just how bad Seattle is, here are the worst playoff teams by SRS in the 10 years since divisional realignment:
- 2004 Rams -6.0
- 2006 Seahawks -3.6
- 2004 Seahawks -2.9
- 2008 Cardinals -1.9*
- 2004 Vikings -1.7
- 2005 Bucs -1.0
- 2003 Panthers -0.9*
- 2008 Dolphins -0.5
- 2003 Cowboys -0.5
- 2009 Cardinals -0.3
*Reached Super Bowl
Half of those teams are from the NFC West, including the four worst. All of this tomfoolery is only made possible by the octet of divisions created by realignment. The fewer teams per division, the more mathematically likely it is to have a distribution in which a division winner is a really bad team. It’s darn near impossible to have 16 of the worst teams (of 32) in the NFC. It’s not that hard to have four of them reside in a single division.
(The obvious solution is to simply eliminate the automatic berth a division title provides. Unfortunately, the odds of Michael Vick playing for the Falcons again are greater than that ever happening.)
The scary part about Seattle is how much worse they are on the road. At home, they outscored opponents by 0.4 points per game. Away from Qwest, they were outscored by 12.2 points per game. That’s 0-16 Lions territory; Detroit was outscored by 15.6 per contest in 2008.
The win over New Orleans was borderline miraculous, but the Saints SRS was only slightly above average at 2.3, so we aren’t exactly talking Chaminade over Virginia here. Another win at Soldier this weekend would be a legitimate miracle.