It seems most local football fans won’t be putting off their January travel plans to accommodate the Seattle Seahawks.
This week’s Seattle Sidelines poll asked readers to evaluate the Seahawks’ playoff chances. The Seahawks are coming off back-to-back games against top competition in which they were able to keep the result in the balance all the way to the end, but ended up on the losing side. As a result Seattle heads into Thursday night’s home game against the Green Bay Packers at 4-5 and needing to successfully navigate a difficult remaining schedule to have any chance of making the postseason.
Do the Seahawks have what it takes to pull themselves into the playoffs? Here’s how you voted:
POLL: What do you think of the Seahawks’ chances of making the playoffs following Sunday’s close loss to the Rams? Full context, including all the math, here: https://t.co/1Mu99JF9Zd
— Nick Patterson (@NickHPatterson) November 12, 2018
Add the two together and more than 70 percent of the responders said they give Seattle no more than a sliver of a chance of getting into the playoffs. A total of 47 percent of the vote gave the Seahawks a slim chance, while another 25 percent said Seattle has no chance. There’s a 15-percent block that’s keeping the faith and believes the Seahawks will get in, while 13 percent at least give Seattle a 50-50 shot.
One interesting phenomenon from this poll is that the voters on the blog poll were more definitive about their answers than the voters on Twitter, as there were higher percentages for no chance (30 percent to 21 percent) and getting in (21 percent to 9 percent) on the blog than on Twitter. I have no idea what that means, but I thought it was noteworthy.
The statisticians are equally lukewarm about Seattle’s chances of reaching the postseason. Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight.com has the Seahawks with a 29-percent chance of making the playoffs. Seattle needs to win six of its final seven games to reach 10 victories, and the Seahawks still have difficult games remaining against Green Bay, Carolina, Minnesota and Kansas City. All that no doubt plays a role in the low projections.
Seattle has made the playoffs before after finding itself in this exact situation. In 2015 the Seahawks were 4-5 after their first nine games and rallied to win six of their final seven to earn a wild-card berth. FiveThirtyEight gave Seattle a 37-percent chance of making the postseason at that point in 2015, so the Seahawks have defied the odds before.
While the odds may be slim, there are a couple factors in Seattle’s favor. First, the Seahawks have five of their final seven games at home. No, CenturyLink Field hasn’t been the fortress it once was, with Seattle being 2-6 in its past eight home games. But I suspect the Seahawks would still rather play at home than on the road. Second, Seattle has definitively found its run game again, as the Seahawks now lead the NFL in rushing yards per game at 152.2.
But Seattle is going to have act fast, beginning with Thursday night’s visit by the Packers. This is a de facto playoff game itself as both teams are teetering on the edge of the playoff race (Green Bay is 4-4-1). While a loss doesn’t officially eliminate either team, it will be a gargantuan task for whichever team loses Thursday.
Seattle is 7-1 on Thursday night under Pete Carroll, has the advantage of playing the short week without having to travel, and is facing a Green Bay team that had four starters not make the trip because of injuries. If the Seahawks get past this one, then just maybe belief will start creeping back into the fan base again.