The Seattle Seahawks were 3-5 on the road in 2012, but that is not a good indicator of how they will do against the Washington Redskins in the playoffs.
Conventional wisdom suggests that the home team can and should be favored, particularly when it is a playoff team. This is certainly a logical treatment of key matchups in sports.
Washington was 5-3 at home this season. Combine that with a 3-5 Seattle road record, and you could see where people would favor the ‘Skins and the explosive Robert Griffin III.
However, you have to know why you are favoring the home team. In other words, understand the statistics.
Those who have not watched the Seahawks throughout the season will point to the 3-5 record and make a quick and general judgment based on raw numbers. This is not uncommon, particularly when people are not able to evaluate more than their favorite squad.
However, that singular number does not describe this Seahawks team, particularly when you look at the second half of the season. There are a number of factors to consider when you look at these road losses.
Seattle’s five losses were by a combined 24 points.
The greatest deficit was seven points, which was at the hands of the division-winning San Francisco 49ers. The other losses were by four, six, four and three points. Not exactly blowout losses.
Keep in mind that Seattle did sneak by the 49ers when they visited the Clink with a 29-point win.
You don’t have to be a delusional fan to argue that every loss was a winnable game, as Seattle was either upended at the last minute or had opportunities to win on game-winning drives.
Granted, the critics will ask why the Seahawks did not actually win these allegedly “winnable” games.
A fair question. Great teams do figure out a way to win. Let’s just say that those road losses might have different outcomes if they were played again.
There is also the general development of this team to consider. While Russell Wilson had some solid moments in the first few games, it was clear that he had some learning to do.
Throughout the season, the confidence of this team has experienced definitive growth, particularly on the offensive side of the ball. You can evaluate a season as a total performance, but the postseason is about the momentum of the moment.
Seattle was 3-5 away from CenturyLink Field this season, but it was 2-0 in its final road games. The Seahawks destroyed the below-average Bills, and they pulled out a clutch win against the Chicago Bears in a very hostile environment.
I am not in the habit of quoting mid-80s pop songs, but we can ask the Seahawks, “What have you done for me lately?”
How about a five-game winning streak to finish the season? Not to mention winning seven of the final eight games. That’s a pretty solid second half in my book. Oh, and the Seahawks scored 170 points in their last four games for an average of almost 43 points per game.
Seattle averaged a little over 17 points a game in its first five contests, so there has been major improvement.
Obviously, anything can happen in a playoff game. Both the Seahawks and the Redskins are talented squads, and it will come down to which team is able to execute and avoid big mistakes.
The Redskins can trump Seattle’s five-game winning streak with a seven-win string of their own.
Clearly both teams are pretty hot right now.
Just don’t count the ‘Hawks out because they were 3-5 on the road. They are better than that.