The 49ers have a surprising 6-0 start this season, gaining the lead in the NFC West. And the Seahawks have won five of their first seven games, putting them in second place in the division. In the conversation to win the MVP award? QB Russell Wilson, as he seems to be on the way to leading the Seahawks to another playoff appearance.
The Seahawks do have on flaw, however, that they must change. If Seattle can fix their turnover problem, they may become Super Bowl champions.
Fumbles hurt the Seahawks
Through seven games, the Seahawks have fumbled the ball eight times, tying with the Bengals for the fourth-most in the NFL. Seattle has fumbled at least once in every game, except for the Week 4 contest against the Cardinals.
The defense has tried to make up for the offense’s fumbles by recovering six on their side of the ball. And Wilson has done a good job of keeping the ball from getting into opponents’ hands by throwing just one interception, which came in their game against the Ravens.
The Seahawks must win the turnover battle
The defense is doing the best it can to counteract the offense’s fumble troubles. With a +4 turnover differential, Seattle ties with several teams for fifth place in the NFL. Winning the turnover battle is critical for teams who want to make the postseason because the team with a better turnover differential usually wins the game.
A team’s chance to win the game drops drastically with each turnover, typically falling about 16-22% each time a player gives the ball away.
In 2017, teams went 102-37 in games where they didn’t have any turnovers. This equates to a winning percentage of more than 73%, which would be roughly the equivalent of a 12-win season. Teams with four or more turnovers in a game, on the other hand, went 0-28 in 2017 and 6-90 from 2015-2017.
In 2017, 17 teams finished with a winning record, with 13 of them finishing with a positive turnover differential. Of the 12 playoff teams, nine finished with more turnovers than giveaways. Clearly, if you want to win games, you must take the ball away from the opponent more often than they take it from you.
The Seahawks’ remaining schedule
The Seahawks have already won half as many games as they did last year, with nine of their 16 games remaining. This puts them on pace for a likely playoff appearance. Can we expect Seattle to keep up the winning ways? Probably in the next two weeks.
This weekend they visit the Falcons, who may lack QB Matt Ryan after he injured his ankle in the fourth quarter last weekend. After this, the Seahawks host the Buccaneers. Both of those games are easily winnable for Seattle. After this, they visit the 49ers in Week 10 — their next big game and an important one in the race for the division title.
The 49ers matchup leads to the Seahawks’ bye, and they return by visiting the Eagles, who haven’t lived up to expectations so far this season. With all this, the Seahawks look like they could be 7-3 heading into their Week 11 bye.