When you go to breakdown the Redskins-Seahawks matchup this week you will find that both teams seem very evenly matched. However, a closer look will show that the Seahawks are either very lucky or very efficient on both sides of the ball.
The Redskins are ranked 15th in the NFL in offensive yards and 8th in defense. The Seahawks are ranked 9th in offense and 15th in defense. Even right? But the Seahawks are ranked a whopping 6th in defensive pts allowed. The Seahawks have allowed a whole field goal less per game than their stats suggest they should. In general in football (and it holds true in the NFC exactly this year) you can expect to score 7 pts for every 105 yards you produce. And, of course, the opposite is true on defense. And yet, the Seahawks are allowing only 18 pts a game despite allowing 321 yards/game. Not only that, but they are scoring nearly 25 pts per game despite only producing 348 yard/gm. That’s 2 pts/gm over their expected total.
There are two explanations for this: 1) The Seahawks have a special skill on offense and defense so that ther produce better when the chips are down and thus score more TDs and allow fewer. 2) The stats will catch up to them eventually.
Honestly, I’m not a close observer of the Seattle Seahawks. I see them a couple of times a year, and I know most of their players, but I haven’t watched them with the kind of detail to judge whether their just good at this stuff. But last year’s stats for the Seahawks are right in line with statisitical expectations. (It should be pointed out that two years ago, they did, in fact, score out of kilter with yardage expectations but Shaun Alexander’s massive year probably has something to do with that) It is unlikely that this year they discovered some special magic.
So if the Seahawks don’t have a special “bend, don’t break” defense, what’s up with the 3pts? Stats my friend. Over a short sample size, 3 pts are barely a blip on the radar screen as far as a deviation. Over the long run, you can expect the Seahawks D will regress to the mean and they will have games where they give up more points than expected by their yards. How long? I don’t know. That’s the funny thing about stats, they can predict long runs way better than short ones.
But I do know this: The Seattle Seahawks are five points per game worse than they look on paper. And those five points, if they rear their ugly head on Saturday, may mean the difference between winning and losing for the Redskins. Hail stats! Hail Redskins!