28 April 2014

Nothing but Seahawks

Although the M's have been playing decent ball of late (knock on wood), let's focus on the reigning Super Bowl Champs for a little while. The two biggest things that concern the Seahawks as of late are the unveiling of the 2014 regular season and Earl Thomas' extension. Let's check out the latter first.

Obviously, Earl Thomas is the best safety in football. He's the heart and soul of the best defense since the 1985 Bears (stats back it up) and deserves to be paid as such. Although Thomas is still under contract, t
he biggest concern for the front office was securing this guy for years and years to come. Insert a 4 year $40 million extension to the mix, and we have two happy parties.

Thomas will be making $10 million a year starting in 2015, an unheard of amount of money for a safety. He is the first to be making 7 figures per year at the position, as Pittsburgh's Troy Polamalu was the recently highest paid at $9.8 million per year. While extending Thomas was a no-brainer, his contract will be friendlier on the cap than originally thought, as $24 million of the contract is guaranteed money. Don't worry Seahawk fans, the Hawks are still in a position to resign Sherm, Russ, Baldwin, and Wagner under these conditions. Greatest news this offseason, easily.

As for the recently released schedule, well... that deserves its own segment.

First Impressions:
  • The Seahawks have the 6th toughest schedule in the NFL, according to last year's winning percentages.
    • Every team from the NFC West and the AFC West are in the top 8. Makes sense, seeing how each of these teams have to play eachother. 
  • The first divisional game will be the road in St. Louis on Week 7.
  • The Hawks don't play San Fransisco until week 13, only to turn around and play them again on week 15.
  • The last 6 games of the season include 5 divisional games.
  • Week 4 is the bye week, the earliest possible week.
The biggest concern I had about the schedule was the very early bye week. Especially with the final six weeks of the season essentially seeding the playoffs, the Seahawks are at a huge disadvantage with no time to rest weary bodies. Before I looked into it further, I was freaked out. Then again, this is the Seahawks we are talking about.

First thing I did was look into the recent Super Bowl champions' records and see when they were able to take a week of rest. I also looked at the runner ups as well as the worst teams' schedules to get an idea of when the best time to rest was.
Since 2010 (Average):
Champions Bye Week: 9.25
Super Bowl Runner Up: 7.5
League's Worst Record: 6.25 
If we were to take the stats at face value, the common theme is that the earlier your bye week lands, the worse your record will be. While there may be a slight correlation, I didn't really like my initial findings, as way more variables are obviously there. Instead, I wanted to check out the average record of teams that landed on a week 4 bye since 2007.
Average Record for Teams with Bye Week 4 Since 2007:
2013: 10-5.5-.5
2012: 9.5-6.5
2011: 6.2-9.8
2010: 8-8
2009: 9.5-6.5
2008: 8.3-7.6
2007: 9.25-6.75
Combined, the average record for teams with a Bye Week 4 since 2007  is 8.67-7.23.

While we might be able to bank on an 8-8 record, these stats can be misleading. Of the 29 teams listed above, 13 of them won 10 or more games. The list also includes the 0-16 2008 Detroit Lions, so the numbers again can be misleading.

14 of the 29 teams since 2007 to have the early bye week went to the playoffs. Nearly half have at least made the playoffs. Good news? Probably. Nostradamus? Nah.

Look guys, it's WAY too early to tell what can happen. Even the numbers I looked into said the same thing. Half of the teams with the early bye week went to the playoffs and had great years, the others weren't great. Essentially, the Seahawks will have to overcome tough odds to make the playoffs and repeat their awesome run last year. We still have the Draft, Training Camp, and the Preseason to worry about what's gonna happen next. Many things change, injuries, trades, unexpected cuts.

My best advice? Soak in last years victories. Be pumped up and excited for this upcoming year. Don't expect anything quite yet. It's simply too early to tell.

Twitter fan? How about Facebook user? I think y'all know what to do...

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