Tale of the Tape: Seahawks Finally Have a Clear Advantage


I cannot remember a Seahawks loss that left a more positive impression than this past week against the Rams. Seattle has found their identity on offense, and have been able to replicate it with some amount of consistency the past three weeks. They are going to run the ball a lot, and look for bigs plays off of play action passes. They are going to limit turnovers and negative plays. The players know. The coaches know. The opposition knows. It is not a game of deception. It is a game of submission. Play after play, the Seahawks are going to stare across the line of scrimmage and hammer away. Teams that have grown accustomed to chasing the quarterback and defending the pass 70% of the time are going to experience something unrelentingly different when D.J. Fluker and Chris Carson pave over their bodies and then do it thirty more times.

This offense is not high-tech, or modern, or creative. Neither is a Shelby 1000. Unfortunately for the Oakland Raiders, they are ill-equipped to stop a team that commits to running the football. Truthfully, they are ill-equipped to stop offense of any kind. Seattle gets the added benefit of playing one of their road games in London where there will be plenty of Seahawks fans present and little in the way of home field advantage for Oakland. This is a game the Seahawks should win, and by a considerable margin.

The way this works: Each offense will be pitted against the opposing defense and compared on an array of key statistical attributes based on their respective rank in the NFL. The tables that follow show the rank of each unit for each of these categories. 

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Seahawks Offense vs Raiders Defense


Raiders key advantages on defense

Advantages…advantages…there are precious few for the Raiders on defense. They somehow are holding teams to a low completion percentage, but are among the worst pass defenses in football. There really do not appear any bigger picture or individual matchups that clearly favor the Raiders defense. That is more about the remarkable lack of talent on that side of the ball than it is about the Seahawks.


Seahawks key advantages on offense

The Seahawks offensive line has performed like one of the ten best in football for the year, and one of the top handful since Fluker joined the lineup three weeks ago. They rank second in the NFL in pass blocking efficiency during that stretch, and are #1 in power success, which means they are winning short-yardage situations on the ground. They dominated a defensive line that featured Aaron Donald, Michael Brockers, and Ndamukong Suh last week to the tune of 190 yards rushing and just 2 sacks.

The Raiders best pass rushers Bruce Irvin, Maurice Hurst, and Frostee Rucker. None of them are close to the threat level of players the Seahawks have already faced like Von Miller, Khalil Mack, Demarcus Lawrence, and the trio mentioned earlier. Rucker may not even play due to injury. The whole unit struggles on the ground and through the air.

Tahir Whitehead is a linebacker who is allowing a perfect passer rating this year of 158.3. That includes 5 touchdowns and 17 receptions in 18 targets with no pass breakups. Marquel Lee is another linebacker who is allowing a 139.4 rating. Look for the Seahawks to continue involving their running backs in the passing game. Leon Hall is a corner who is allowing a 118.8 rating. Both safeties are allowing around a 100 passer rating. It’s just a mess.

The Cleveland Browns put up 565 yards of offense and 45 points on this group. Seattle should rush for over 150 yards and get enough from their passing game to score over 30 points. The biggest threat to the Seahawks offense is bad coaching decisions and jet lag.


Raiders Offense vs Seahawks Defense

Raiders key advantages on offense

Oakland does have some bite on offense. Marshawn Lynch is still a beast. Jordy Nelson has been a solid addition. Jared Cook is having a strong year at tight end and Amari Cooper is ultra-talented. Derek Carr is a polarizing figure at quarterback, and can just as easily destroy his own team’s chances as the other team’s defenses. He has already thrown 8 interceptions.

The Raiders offense should be able to take advantage of an inexperienced secondary that struggled against the Rams last week, and a nearly invisible Seahawks pass rush.


Seahawks key advantages on defense


Seattle has found a way to consistently create turnovers so far this season. Even in the first game without Earl Thomas, while facing a powerhouse Rams offense, they still walked away with two interceptions. If they can get another two takeaways in this game, Seattle should run away with it.

Special Teams


Michael Dickson has fallen back a bit. Neither team has particularly impactful special teams. Sebastian Janikowski will hopefully be motived to stick it to his former squad.



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  1. I don’t mind saying that I’m not as sure of a Seahawk’s victory in London as much of the rest of the world is. Two things that concern me the most are habitual for the team in the PC era regardless of the players. One is that they don’t seem to travel well, and this game is REAL travel. The other is, and if you saw the most recent podcast I’m going to agree with Evan for once, a PC led team seems to play to the level of the opponent. Good or bad, we can’t expect a dominant score because it happens so rarely. Close game scores can be exciting or gut wrenching, but they seem a Seahawk staple. The Raiders should self destruct and be an easy win if the meme is to be believed, but I suspect, much to our frustration, the Hawks will do their part to keep it ………….could interesting be the right word?……

    I know this post isn’t about the podcast but since Brian is traveling to London I would imagine this post was a quickie and maybe the podcast won’t get posted. So I’d like to comment on a theme that troubles me that was somewhat evident. Being that I’m in the middle of the country I don’t get as much Seahawk focused reporting as those of you that are in market. Yeah, I could probably do a bunch of online connecting to come close, but that’s not my thing. As a result I fill my need for football info from the national reporting sources, with NFL Network being the most in week provider. I’ve got to say, they are skewed against the Seahawks right now. They spent a lot of time talking about the losing team between Giants and Panthers and almost no time about the Hawks going toe to toe with the vaunted (and network darling) Rams. I suspect it’s large TV market bias more than anything, but still……………. Beyond that, the run yardage of Carson/Davis gets mere mention while lesser performers get mini features, and the O-line play (a former piñata) get’s little to no notice. This despite high rankings from PFF, which usually influences story lines. Now some of us don’t have blind faith in PFF scoring, for good reason. Personally I think they are good at collecting data/numbers, but their extrapolated conclusions don’t always make sense. None the less, if their process is consistent from team to team they offer a relative performance measure. Which brings me to a bit of a rant against our fearless leader and the rest of the podcast band. Context point: I’m not making the case that T2 is as good as ETIII, no way. That being said, T2 got a high PFF rating that shocked Brian. I thought the kid had a decent game, made a few really good plays (not giving the intercept as high a value because it was a hail mary throw). And if the PFF scoring is even across the league he scored highly versus all the other safeties who actually played. Again, let’s stop comparing him against the fantasy perfection that fan boys hold ET as. One of the things held against him are all the passes that were completed across the middle. Fan memories must be foggy here, that’s been a “problem” with PC scheming for a long time, even with ET in there at his best. Sharp offensive planners, like McVey, know how to whip that advantage.

    Dickson got some criticism, probably deserved to a degree, but maybe a bit overwrought as well. I suspect he’s getting pro level pressure that he’s not adjusted to yet. A blocked punt and a line drive punt were both the result of poor blocking by his team mates. He needs a tad bit more time to set himself for those wondrous kicks we became so excited for. Other teams will see the video and attempt the same attacks. Will our staff scheme/coach to swing the advantage back to Dickson? The drop kicks were a good strategy move to solve return yardage gains, so there was some coaching heads up calling.

    Last is the fandom wide whining about Penny. Yeah, a first rounder riding the pine seems a waste……………for now. I’m really enjoying how well Carson is running, and he doesn’t seem to get the respect of the league yet, or maybe it’s just the insipid talking heads. But………he does have a history of getting injured out of a season. I won’t go full negative and say “when” but rather “if” he gets injured, we might come to have a better appreciation for Penny and his skills. He’s not adapted to the pro level, yet, and without reps it may take more time, but he’s not without skills that we may be glad are available before season’s end. Exercise: do you really want Prosise to be your fallback position? (though I wish they wouldn’t risk Doug’s knees as it appears, and Prosise might be a reasonable sub there)

    1. Always appreciate Brian’s and Evan’s posts and Uncle Bob’s replies. I have to agree on the talking heads being against the Hawks right now. Even Peter King had little mention of the SEA/LAR game, and he’s been very high on Wilson in the past. I yelled for tedRICK a couple times on Sunday, but found little to no mention of any parts of that exciting game in the Monday columns.

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