Seattle Seahawks: The NFL's Jekyll and Hyde Franchise

Rob StatonCorrespondent IOctober 15, 2009

SEATTLE , WA - OCTOBER 11: A fan of the Seattle Seahawks holds a of sign during the game againstthe Jacksonville Jaguars at Qwest Field on October 11, 2009 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

There are two sides to the Seattle Seahawks.

We've seen both in the last two weeks.

The 34-17 defeat at Indianapolis and the 41-0 victory over Jacksonville pretty much summed up how two-faced the team has become.

At home, they're a match for anyone. On the road, it's a different story.

Undoubtedly, the Seahawks own one of the better home-field advantages in the NFL. Since the team moved into Qwest Field in 2002, they're a combined 41-18 at home in the regular season.

During the same period, they're 24-33 on the road.

On paper, that's not so terrible.

But since 2007, they're 5-13 away from home. Of those five wins, four have come against NFC West rivals St. Louis and San Francisco. The only other victory was a 28-24 win against a Philadelphia Eagles outfit starting A.J. Feeley at quarterback.

The Seahawks have had two road games in 2009. In week two, Frank Gore stomped all over the team's defense whilst Patrick Willis and co. simply outfought a struggling offense that famously lost Matt Hasselbeck to broken ribs.

A fortnight later, it was Peyton Manning's turn to burn the Seahawks. He was practically untouched in a 353-yard, two-touchdown master class. A Seneca Wallace-led offense had no chance of keeping up.

Seattle's defensive line was virtually anonymous in both games, leaving the secondary exposed and failing to have much of an impact against either pass or run.

Compare that to the team's defensive performance at home: two shutouts in three games, an average of only 209 passing yards conceded, and an average of only 66 rushing yards given up.

That's not half bad considering they've faced Matt Forte, Maurice Jones-Drew, and Steven Jackson.

The Seattle Seahawks are clearly a different beast at Qwest Field.

The intimidating atmosphere created by the "12th man" offers a clear advantage that the team has been able to exploit. The noise level matches (beats?) most other stadia in the country, including indoor domes.

It's no surprise that more false start penalties occur in Seattle than anywhere else. It also gives the Seahawks' defensive line a split-second advantage at the snap—potentially crucial when you're trying to get into the backfield.

Take away that advantage, and the same defensive personnel have struggled. Without the crowd noise, without the familiar surroundings, they just don't have the same impact.

They coughed up 256 rushing yards at Candlestick Park, including touchdown runs of 79 and 80 yards to Frank Gore. The Colts cruised to 431 total yards at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Quite a contrast.

You get the impression fans from other teams recognize this inconsistency.

A long road trip to Seattle is probably viewed with some trepidation. Hosting the Seahawks, however—well, it's a home banker, right?

Looking at the schedule ahead, this could become a familiar trend.

Seattle's remaining home schedule includes the Cardinals this weekend, followed by Detroit, San Francisco, Tampa Bay, and Tennessee. They currently own a combined record of 6-18.

All those games have to be considered winnable.

On the road, they travel to Dallas, Arizona, Minnesota, St. Louis, Houston, and Green Bay.

Clearly, if the Seahawks want to get rid of their "Jekyll and Hyde" tag, they'll have to get better on the road. Even with a distinct improvement, a win in any of the games above will have to be earned.

Winning seven games at home won't be enough on its own to return to the postseason.

The focus this week will be maintaining that good form at Qwest Field with another tough test against arguably the best passing offense in the league.

After entertaining the Cardinals, they'll have a fortnight to prepare for their next road trip and a first visit to Cowboys Stadium.

Becoming a tough team to beat on the road won't be easy for Jim Mora and co., but its imperative for any success they hope to achieve this year.