Preseason Projections Part III: Rushing Defense

50 yard line on an american football field

As I’ve detailed in the past, rushing defense is perhaps the most telling indicator of a Seahawks victory.

Until getting gashed for 130 yards by the Chargers running game, there were signs of a step forward.

The Hawks currently rank 4th in the NFL in rush defense (77.7 YPG) and 6th in YPC (3.3). They finished last year ranked 12th in rushing defense (102.8 YPG) and 10th in YPC (3.9), so if these preseason numbers held at all, it would be a big improvement.

Before we make any assumptions that the preseason numbers matter, let’s see how preseason rushing defense compared to regular season last year for the Top 5.

Top 5 2007 Preseason Rushing Yards/Game Against
Cincinnati Bengals 71.2
Tennessee Titans 75.8
Detroit Lions 77.2
Chicago Bears 78.0
Dallas Cowboys 81.2

Top 5 2007 Regular Season Rushing Yards/Game Against
Minnesota Vikings 74.1
Baltimore Ravens 79.2
Pittsburgh Steelers 89.9
Washington Redskins 91.2
Tennessee Titans 92.4
(Dallas was 6th)
(Detroit was 23rd)
(Chicago was 24th)

Seems to be a mixed bag there. Chicago has significant injury issues on defense that explains their dropoff. I don’t follow the Lions closely enough to say what that was about. Three of the Top 5 in the pre-season were in the Top 6 in the regular season. That’s a much higher correlation than I expected. Let’s see about YPC.

Top 5 2007 Preseason YPC Against
Tennessee Titans 2.8
Detroit Lions 2.9
Cincinnati Bengals 3.1
Indianapolis Colts 3.2
Washington Redskins 3.2

Top 5 2007 Regular Season YPC Against
Baltimore Ravens 2.8
Minnesota Vikings 3.1
Washington Redskins 3.7
Carolina Panthers 3.8
Indianapolis Colts 3.8
New York Giants 3.8
Philadelphia Eagles 3.8
San Francisco 49ers 3.8
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 3.8

Not much predictive evidence here. I look at the Hawks in the preseason thus far and note that Minnesota ran something like one running play in the first quarter and the Bears are not exactly running stalwarts. The Raiders are a top tier running team with Darren McFadden added to the mix. How they do tonight will help me guage where things are compared to where they will be.

I probably won’t look as passing defense unless there is huge cry from the crowd. I am going to working on my season preview over the weekend.