Submitted by Jim Hurley on Friday, August 28, 2015 at 7:00 PM
Many pundits expected the Seattle Seahawks to suffer a Super Bowl letdown last season after they embarrassed the Denver Broncos to win the Lombardi Trophy. There was certainly some steps backward in intensity during parts of the regular season. But, Seattle did get its act together in the playoffs before losing a heartbreaker to New England in their Super Bowl return.
Were the concerns of a hangover a year early? Is THIS the season the Seahawks fall out of the sky? Early returns are pointing to YES, even if the “Futures” markets still make them NFC favorites.
*The first two Preseason games have been UGLY
*The offensive line is transitioning (poorly) to new talent
*Russell Wilson is acting too much like a celebrity off the field
*Renowned “players” coaches like Pete Carroll historically see their teams lose discipline right about now
The defense and running game are still likely to be great. But…the ingredients for an implosion are in place thus far. Given that everybody usually takes dress rehearsal weekend very seriously, Saturday night’s nationally televised meeting with the San Diego Chargers could tell us a lot about how the 2015 season is going to play out.
Let’s review the key numbers from our summer divisional previews for both of tonight’s TV teams…
2014 RECORDS (turnovers, strength of schedule)
Seattle: 12-4 (+9 turnovers, #9 rated schedule)
San Diego: 9-7 (-5 turnovers, #3 rated schedule)
Seattle was legit last year, even if they took a step backward in terms of overall dominance. They didn’t bully people as often. They had to sweat some games they didn’t used to sweat. That still added up to a 75% win rate against a top 10 schedule. San Diego would have been at least a 10-win team against a league average schedule. It’s unfortunate they missed the playoffs. Obviously, turnover differential will be a concern this year. You can’t be a successful NFL team taking the worst of it in that stat!
Seattle: 5.9 on offense, 4.6 on defense
San Diego: 5.4 on offense, 5.5 on defense
Seattle’s defense was amazing considering how tough their schedule was. And, the offense actually had a very high per-play average despite its grinder reputation. They made more big plays than people realized. It all led to a championship caliber YPP differential that should have won a championship. San Diego was a disappointment on offense. Though, again, adjust for schedule strength and you get a winning team.
2014 THIRD DOWN CONVERSIONS
Seattle: 43% on offense, 37% on defense
San Diego: 45% on offense, 43% on defense
A great sign for Wilson that he’s moving the chains consistently at such a young age. Let’s monitor that stat through the season. If he loses his focus because of off-the-field stuff…it’s going to show up in this category. San Diego’s defense really needs to improve. Winning teams force opponents off the field!
2015 PROJECTED WIN TOTALS IN LAS VEGAS
San Diego 8.5
Can Seattle make it back to 12 wins? Their division may be softer in 2015 (the jury’s still out on that), but they’re still saddled with a first place schedule. San Diego is seen as a team that will be in the thick of the Wildcard race. They will have to shore up their defensive third down rate and the turnover category to make any sort of run at Denver in the AFC West.
PRIOR PRESEASON RESULTS
Seattle (-4.5) lost to Denver 22-20, getting outgained 356-181
Seattle (+3) lost at Kanas City 14-13, getting outgained 238-234
San Diego (-4) beat Dallas 17-7, losing yardage 238-199
San Diego (+4.5) won at Arizona 22-19, losing yardage 292-256
That’s 0-4 in yardage! The Chargers did manage to score straight up victories while not playing impressive football. Seattle is WAY below what they usually do in the Preseason…which is one of the red flags you should be paying attention to. Coach Carroll used to emphasize getting results in August. It’s hard to do that with an offensive line that can’t open holes or protect the quarterback!
Las Vegas Line: Seattle by 1, total of 42
San Diego’s the home team…and home field is usually worth at least 2 points in the Preseason (and sometimes 3 in the dress rehearsals), so oddsmakers are telling you they have the Seahawks at least a few points better in Power Ratings. No surprise there. Saturday’s game should provide evidence on whether or not Seattle is about to fall back closer to the pack.
JIM HURLEY is looking this one over very closely for serious play. But, the Saturday schedule is HUGE and there are great possibilities all over the slate. You can purchase the final word for Saturday right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions about extended baseball or football packages, call us in the office at 1-888-777-4155 Saturday or Sunday before the earliest action on the schedule begins.
One more day of dress rehearsals on Sunday…as we transition from Preseason NFL to regular season college action. Here’s what’s on tap this week in the NOTEBOOK…
Sunday: NFL TV Preview…Houston at New Orleans on FOX
Monday: MLB Series Preview…San Francisco at the Los Angeles Dodgers
Tuesday: College Football Notes (the season begins Thursday!)
Wednesday-Thursday: College Football TV Preview…North Carolina at South Carolina
Friday-Saturday: College Football TV Preview…#3 Alabama vs. #20 Wisconsin
Sunday-Monday: College Football TV Preview…#1 Ohio State at Virginia Tech
Saturday is the biggest day of dress rehearsals this season. Are YOU ready for the spotlight? Treat this just like a regular season NFL weekend and get all the BIG, JUICY WINNERS from JIM HURLEY’S NETWORK!
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