Why I think Seattle could win 13 or more games in 2013

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  • DVOA isn't new, and it's not new to the discussions here. Given Seattle's rise as the #1 DVOA team last year, that thrilled some while it annoyed others, so this analysis might not be for everyone, but I figured I'd delve a little bit further into the numbers, and attempt to explain just how bright Seattle's outlook is going into next season.

    2012 estimated wins

    Seattle was 11-5 last year, but their "estimated wins" number was 13.0. Consider this scary fact as well- estimated wins factors strength of schedule, and football outsiders says our team played the 4th hardest schedule last year, and only one of those teams who had it tougher had a winning record. Those three teams who had it tougher? Arizona, St. Louis and San Francisco. Thankfully the Seahawks do not have to face themselves.

    Anyway, even with a very tough schedule, FO's system thinks we were really a 13-3 team that tough lucked it's way to an 11-5 record. The average Seahawk opponent last year had a DVOA of 5.1%. So an "average" opponent for Seattle last year looked something like Carolina (5.5%), Cincy (6.1%), or Houston (6.6%). For those wondering why Carolina is there, they finished the season white hot (their defense grew by leaps and bounds) and they look to be a sleeper threat in 2013. That's what an "average" opponent looked like last year.

    While Seattle still has to battle in the NFC West in 2013, their out of division schedule seems far kinder. Sure, there is change from year to year, and especially teams like Carolina and New Orleans will be better in 2013 than they were in 2012, but for the most part it's a much softer looking schedule, with the NFC North (one of the NFL's toughest divisions) being swapped for the NFC South and the AFC East being swapped for the AFC South (which is a terrible division, fighting with the AFC West as the new old NFC West doormat division). Schedule difference alone might add a win to Seattle's 2012 total.

    Close losses

    Seattle was 5-6 in games decided by one score last season, and 7-0 in all others. This was an improvement from 2011, a team that went 2-5 in one score games and 5-4 in all others. Seattle is a great team, and great teams don't post losing records in close games. A classic example is Atlanta, a team that was 7-3 in one score games and 7-1 in all others. The 49ers were 5-2 in one score games. The underachieving Packers were at 4-4. The Redskins, 7-5. The Vikings, 5-1. The Broncos, 4-3. The Patriots 4-4. The Bengals 5-5. The Texans, 6-0. The Colts, yup, 10-2. The Ravens, 8-4.

    Seattle was the only playoff team last year to post a losing record in one score games. That's pretty startling given their statistical magnificence. And given some of the company they share near the bottom- Denver, Green Bay, New England, Cincy, I'd say having a tough luck season was practically a badge of honor last season. Those teams are usually better in close games than that, but last year was a strange one. Lots of lucky teams (in the AFC especially) that were quickly exposed in the postseason. Anyone who thinks the Texans and Colts have a great 2013 outlook should probably look at those one score game numbers again.

    A correction is due. Not necessarily in 2013, but over the next decade for certain. The Packers, Broncos, Patriots, and Bengals could probably expect a boost too. Great teams with elite quarterbacks tend to do better in close games than most, too. Six close losses again for the Seahawks in 2013 would surprise me.

    Weighted DVOA

    DVOA is a stat that measures how efficient NFL teams are at beating other NFL teams, and weighted DVOA takes those same findings and weighs late season performance more heavily, as teams often don't hit full stride until around mid-season. Seattle finished white hot to end the season, and entering the Rams game, they had a very real chance to set the all-time FO record for weighted DVOA. The Rams top ranked pass rush (by sacks) put that dream on ice, but Seattle still finished #1 in the NFL with a comfy margin to spare.

    Weighted DVOA is a pretty solid indicator for future success. The 2002 Seahawks and 2011 Seahawks being examples from our own history. Football outsiders thinks our team was the best in the NFL last year, and the arrow is still pointing up. Way up.

    Offseason positioning

    Seattle does not have any major contributors slated to leave in free agency. Jason Jones, Alan Branch, and Steven Hauschka top our free agent list. All three of them could be easily retained, and if they are lost, it won't be because of money. It will be because Seattle has upgrades in mind.

    Seattle has 10 draft picks (and might add more) in what many (including myself) believe is one of the deepest drafts ever.

    Seattle is a young team growing up

    No NFL player has a brighter outlook in 2013 than Russell Wilson. After the dropfest in SF, Wilson would never post a passer rating under 88.0 again. In 8 of his last 11 starts, his passer rating exceeded 100. His total numbers since SF (including playoffs): 187/280, 2460 yards, 21 TD, 4 INT, 66.8% completion rate, 8.8 YPA, 113.4 passer rating. As a runner, he rushed 74 times 497 yards (6.71 average) and 5 TDs in that same span. From Detroit on, Wilson put up MVP type numbers. As a rookie. And though it doesn't count, he also thrashed the AFC pretty badly in the pro-bowl game as well.

    He did this with a WR group that was more solid than elite. Seattle will likely improve their talent level at WR and TE this offseason. It is a stellar draft for both of those areas.

    Russell Wilson is a very refined QB and it would be a surprise if he regressed in 2013. He is not a gimmick player and won't be easy to game plan. Even teams that sacked him often late in the season (Rams, Redskins) still got diced up by him and lost in the end. If I happen to be in Vegas later this year, I'll definitely look into Wilson for MVP betting. The Vegas odds are likely to be lower than the actual odds are.

    The rest of the team is young and improving as well. It is likely that the 2013 team will be even stronger than the 2012 team was, especially when considering the rocky start the 2012 team got off to.

    It all adds up to an extremely bright forecast for the future of the Seahawks. While anything can happen in the playoffs, I do think that Seattle will be a scary good team in 2013. The odds of 16-0 season are remote even for the greatest of teams, but I think Seattle's odds of doing just that will be the best of any team since the 2007 Patriots. I can't guarantee 13+ wins, because weird things happen in small samples and inferior teams win football games every NFL weekend, but if there really is justice in the world, Seattle will be a 13 or 14 win team in 2013.
    Last edited by kearly on Tue Feb 26, 2013 3:30 pm, edited 5 times in total.
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  • I think it's possible if we fix up that D-line and the Offense continues to grow with Wilson. We're going to get other teams best shot trying to make a statement, and we need to be ready for that from the first minute. It's possible though. Can't wait.
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  • If we can stay healthy its a pretty strong possibility. We were pretty lucky health wise last season, hopefully that can continue.
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  • Outside of Wilson, I don't think we'd be hurt much by injury. Our backups could probably win the AFC South.
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  • The only thing that puts a downer on this projection is our '13 away schedule is tougher then our '12 away schedule.

    We were fortunate to play almost all our quality opponents in the Clink, except for Chicago and SF.

    We're going to have to turn the corner this year on those neutering 10 am Eastern time slots.

    I'm hoping that Allen buys/rents an indoor east coast facility to establish an East coast HQ, so we can get over there early and get used to the time difference and have a much shorter travelling time to opponent's fields. Still chafes me that the Seahawks got stuck with the 10 am slot at Atlanta, there's just no reason to have a 10 am ET game in the playoffs with a west coast visitor.

    I hope one day the NFL eliminates 10 am ET games whenever a west coast team visits both regular season and playoffs, since thats the East Coast's best hope for keeping the west divisions laughing stocks.
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    Lady Talon
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  • Regarding Vegas:

    Where would I go in Vegas to see about betting on something such as Wilson for MVP? Are there even places to bet on that so early in the year? I'll be there in 2 weeks time and would definitely throw some money down on that. I also plan on placing a bet on the Seahawks for the Super Bowl, so I was wondering if there was any website that showed which sportsbooks gave best odds?

    Thanks in advance. I've never been to Vegas before!
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  • Great post, Kip my only concern, and it is small, is that I have noticed a trend in PC teams that they start slow and then build thoughout the year.

    Next year he needs to get the playbook going sooner and not go through this eveloution thing that has occured the last three years.

    If next year the team does not {start slow and play methotical with a not to lose mentality}, then I think a 13-3 or better record is there.

    But should they play some of the Miami/Detroit/Arizona/Rams games from last year in the begining we may just be 11 and 5 and yes you can ask me to put a sock in my mouth.

    I am not a Debbie Downer. I want 13-3 as much as the next guy.

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  • I see 10-6 because of that road schedule.
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  • Intersting OP to a fault. When ya catagorize a "team" vs all others the fact that Wilson was a rookie starting has to be a wild card that scews the averages,

    The only way one can reasonably assemble such a comparrison against other teams would at least have to be in the last half of the season. At least give the kid a chance to get his feet wet before comparing him to all other NFL QBs.
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  • SalishHawkFan wrote:I see 10-6 because of that road schedule.


    I think they'll figure that road thing out next year.

    The offense has already overcome it, so it's time for the Defense to follow suit. We need a Wilson-like leader to emerge in that group. Wagz should step up big time for the Lbers now that he's got season under his belt. As far as the individal units go, we already have very strong leadership in the secondary. The DL might just rise to the occasion with the influence all all of that leadership surrounding them, but that one guy to rally the entire D should fall to Wagner. Big Red shows a lot of passion, but beyond that hey really doesn't have that commanding presense other than physical size. I think our MLB is a smart dude, who has the ability to get everyone focused and working together. I'm counting on him to step into the leadership role big time.

    Anyhow, I saw a team that steadily improved in road games as the season progressed..particularly during the last half of the season. I expect to see that trend continue. There is no reason why it shouldn't.
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  • I'm with you 100% Kip, no holding back. I believe that this team will take that next step to greatness. I know people are skeptical because we've always struggled on the road but I believe that next season will be different.

    I believe that the Falcons loss will ultimately have positive ramifications for this squad. It will be the game that makes them sick whenever they think about it. They know that they should have been in the Super Bowl this past season, and probably should have won it. It will spur them on to even greater things. Sometimes getting so close to something you've worked so hard to achieve, only to fall agonizingly short (especially in sports), can ultimately be a turning point towards greatness.

    And we still haven't even seen our 2013 draft class yet. Don't underestimate the job that JS/PC will likely do in late April and the upgrades it'll bring throughout the squad. Even if they only draft 2 or 3 real IMPACT guys in their rookie season, there will almost assuredly be more depth on this squad than we've ever seen before, which is saying something. There's also free agency, and while Pete has said the team won't break the bank on anyone this off-season, the team will probably walk away from FA with some great value deals. Isn't it amazing to be able to have such blind faith in a Seahawks front office and not be considered bats*** crazy?! Ok, maybe I am bats*** crazy but still! PC/JS are excellent at their jobs...

    Look, I've been a sports addict since I was literally 5 years old. I've played baseball, football, soccer, basketball all throughout high school. Outside of family, sports make my world go round. Yet I've never been much of a gambler when it comes to sports, consider it some touchy-feely BS about keeping some things in life sacred. Maybe some high school cafeteria $20 bets over a Seahawks/Giants game or Blue Jays/Yankees games but that's it. I've never dropped serious coin behind any of my teams because I never wanted to get started down that road. Yeah, that all goes out the window this season. I have the utmost confidence in Russell Wilson, John Schneider, and Pete Carroll and the rest of this squad to climb the NFL mountain top this season. I fully believe, 100% in my heart, that me and JonRud are gonna be sitting in the Meadowlands cheering on the Hawks TWICE this season. Once, to see them stomp out the Giants in the regular season and the second time, of course, will be the Super Bowl. And Russell Wilson will not be denied, in my mind.

    I'm definitely betting some serious coin on the Hawks to win it all this season. Interesting idea about a Wilson for MVP bet though, Kip. My only concern is that while Russell might DESERVE it based on the strength of his play and his numbers, he won't get the media love to actually win it and will probably get screwed over in favor of Aaron Rodgers or someone more beloved. Now, 2014/2015? Done deal. I think he wins it based on the merit of his strong play, and the fact that he got robbed the season prior despite ultimately winning the Super Bowl and the Super Bowl MVP. Do they do bets this early on Super Bowl MVP? My money's on Wilson to win it this season.

    Great post Kip, I'm with you all the way, 13-3 or 14-2 no doubt! Road warriors and of course, dominant at home. The NFC Playoffs go through Seattle and no one truly stands a chance. It's 2005 all over again except THIS TIME, no referee can snuff out the greatness that is Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks!
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  • Obviously, the common denominator in the perennial 13+ win teams is a legitimate franchise QB...and we finally have one. Wilson is so versatile, smart, driven, cool under pressure (with a killer instinct to boot), that he's capable of willing the team to 13 wins on his own. And that's not even factoring in a great defense and running game. I think one of the only dangers to posting that kind of win total is the strength of the division. Going 4-2 in the division would be really good, and you've already accounted for two losses in that scenario.

    NYCoug wrote:I'm definitely betting some serious coin on the Hawks to win it all this season. Interesting idea about a Wilson for MVP bet though, Kip. My only concern is that while Russell might DESERVE it based on the strength of his play and his numbers, he won't get the media love to actually win it and will probably get screwed over in favor of Aaron Rodgers or someone more beloved.


    An interesting phenomena after the season, though, was seeing how much of a national media darling that Wilson had become. And the media is always looking for a new storyline...so if Wilson posted a worthy season, he'd definitely be in the mix to legitimately win it. Yardage numbers (not TDs) is what might hold him back, though.
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  • How do we lose 3 games?? I don't see it, barring 3 no shows. I see a lot of blowouts of average-poor teams, and decisive wins over good teams.
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  • If RW showed any "rookieness" to his game last year it was the fact he was sacked 33 times. He's too good to let that happen again. The fumbles and drops from his receivers and flukey interceptions should also be areas where Wilson and the offense will improve in 2013. His receiving corps and OL should improve with added players and experience.
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  • If we do not improve our pass rush, I can't see us winning 13 games. We will be in the same position as last year, coming from behind to win at the end like Chicago, and losses like Detroit and Atlanta in the post season.

    It's time to make a splash in signing a elite DT/DE or move up in the draft for top tier-talent.

    We will be very good, but you have to play games in the playoffs at home to get to the SB. Being a 11 or 12 win wildcard team won't get it done IMO.

    We need to be sure to have better defensive line talent rather than the team 'hoping' the talent we have does great things.
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  • rainger wrote:Great post, Kip my only concern, and it is small, is that I have noticed a trend in PC teams that they start slow and then build thoughout the year.


    I think that slow start had everything to do with having new QBs both those years. I don't think we'll see a slow start in 2013.
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  • SalishHawkFan wrote:I see 10-6 because of that road schedule.


    So you see them going 2-6 on the road then? I won't say 8-0 at home is a lock, but I think it's a lot more likely than going 2-6 on the road. Especially when your toughest road opponent out of the division is Atlanta and Houston, neither of whom scare me much.
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  • kobebryant wrote:How do we lose 3 games?? I don't see it, barring 3 no shows. I see a lot of blowouts of average-poor teams, and decisive wins over good teams.


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  • kearly wrote:
    rainger wrote:Great post, Kip my only concern, and it is small, is that I have noticed a trend in PC teams that they start slow and then build thoughout the year.


    I think that slow start had everything to do with having new QBs both those years. I don't think we'll see a slow start in 2013.


    Exactly. Some people are starting to forget what Russell Wilson's will to win looks like. It's understandable, some time has passed. I think we're going to see things we've never seen before next season. A team that doesn't struggle on the road, blow late leads, keep every game close, play down to it's opposition, etc. I think we're going to see legitimate greatness, on an NFL scale not just a Seahawks fan scale, next season.

    Having a legit franchise QB entering his 2nd year in a system that excelled to end the season? That's a big part of it.
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  • "We will be very good, but you have to play games in the playoffs at home to get to the SB"

    This is actually a flawed assumption given recent history. 4 of the last 6 SB winners have been either wildcards, or played at least one game on the road (Giants x 2, Ravens, Packers). Momentum at the end of the season has been better than homefield advantage lately.

    I agree with you Kearly on the approximate 13 wins. Looking at the schedule as teams sit now, I can see 10-12 wins easily. As a team, we played better on the road the last half of the season, so that confidence and experience should carry over.

    There's also the progression. Just last year, Wilson's progression was astronomical. With his drive and work ethic, it's reasonable to assume we're going to get the Russell Wilson at the end of last year at the beginning of next year. Add to that our WR's and TE's experience playing with Russell, along with our OL now used to his scrambling tendencies, and I see a faster start to next year.

    There's also team progression. As I think Rainger said, we've typically started slow and gotten better the last 2 years. Both years we had new QBs, and 2 years ago we had a new system. Looking at team progression, our run game was much better at the start of this year than last. Our team overall was also better at the start of this year than last. With our younger guys getting experience, they should get better. With our recent draft history, we can assume we'll have better talent at our areas of need (albeit lack of experience, but it's a wash with upside). So we can assume we'll play better to start the year.

    The only monkey wrench for a 13-14 win season is our division. SF is a very solid team, and has a crap ton of draft picks to play with this year to get better. STL is a dangerous team than we have to expect to be better under Fisher. Arizona is the only question mark, but their defense will keep them in games. I expect to lose at SF, and at STL will be a dogfight we likely win. That really only leaves 1-2 games in the entire rest of the schedule we can lose.

    The other problem is that our team won't be disrespected anymore. These guys need to find that chip on their shoulder. We also can't throw away any away games like last year; SF is probably projected to win 12-13 games as well. It will come to overall record and divisional record for the division title this year.
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  • I can see them winning 13 games next year because they won 11 this year and are getting better. If RW played like he did in the last half of the season the entire season... they might be 15-1 (random loss to St Louis).
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  • With this team there is a fine line between 13-3 and 9-7. The reason I think this team will be closer to 13-3 is none other than one Russell Wilson. A guy who only cares about being better and winning. One that never changes his mindset and takes the balls of pressure and rips them off of whatever they are attached to.
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  • 13-3 OR BETTER??

    I'm not ready to rule it out.....

    Buhhhhhht....

    I don't see it happening. Not in our division.

    Without doing any research, it seems to me that teams that flirt with 13 or more wins have a couple patsies in their division and another one or two on their schedule.

    I don't see any of our games vs NFC West as a guarantee and the NFCSouth should be improved across the board (maybe not ATL).

    We are talented as Hell and it could happen, but 13 wins is an assload and given our schedule as I see it know that accomplishment might be one of the best seasons in the past ten years??
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