Key stats for the Seahawks as the regular season winds down

Nov 30, 2016, 9:57 AM | Updated: 10:00 am

Seattle's remaining opponents are 18-36-1, but that group includes Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. (...

Seattle's remaining opponents are 18-36-1, but that group includes Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. (AP)


The NFL season is moving fast. Only five weeks remain and playoff races are taking shape.

The Seahawk sit comfortably atop the NFC West with a three-game lead over Arizona and a three-and-a-half-game lead over Los Angeles. The rest of the division has been surprisingly bad. The Cardinals, Rams and 49ers have a combined record of 4-18 in non-division games. What had been considered one of the best divisions in football has turned into one of the worst.

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For the Seahawks, the challenge is to secure a No. 1 or No. 2 seed in order to get a playoff bye week, which will be much needed for quarterback Russell Wilson and several other starters playing with injuries.

As we head into the final five weeks, let’s look at some key stats for the Seahawks:

Remaining schedule sets up favorably. Believe it or not, the Seahawks have the easiest closing schedule in football, a .336 opponent winning percentage from teams with a combined record of 18-36-1. The 49ers’ 1-10 record clearly pushes that figure down. Still, don’t look at the Seahawks’ remaining schedule as being totally easy. They face Cam Newton, Aaron Rodgers and Carson Palmer down the stretch along with games against the Rams and the 49ers. The Seahawks are trying to catch Dallas for the No. 1 seed. The Cowboys are 10-1, a strong two-and-a-half games ahead of Seattle for the top seed. The Cowboys’ closing schedule is tough. Their remaining opponents have a .582 winning percentage, the sixth-best in the league. They face four teams with winning records: Minnesota, the Giants, Tampa Bay and Detroit.

Against winning teams. The Seahawks are 4-1 against teams with .500 records or better. Dallas has the same record. So far, the Cowboys have been better on offense against the winning teams, scoring 27.8 points a game, but their defense has given up 23.2 and has allowed more yards than Seattle’s (2,069 to 1,900). The Seahawks have been solid, giving up 19.4 points while scoring 21. The Cowboys have four games remaining against teams .500 or better. The Seahawks have none. If the Seahawks can get their scoring to 24 points a game over the final five weeks, they should be fine.

Getting the running game going. The Seahawks need to get their rushing average up to 110 yards per game. Now that Wilson is regaining his mobility after two serious leg injuries, the Seahawks once again need to rebuild their running offense. Thomas Rawls was back as the starter against Tampa Bay but he wasn’t 100 percent because of an injury suffered during the week. With C.J. Prosise out for a month and Christine Michael gone, Wilson – believe it or not – is the team’s leading rusher with 159 yards on 47 carries. Rawls is behind him at 120 and a 2.7 yard average. It’s very possible the Seahawks, known as a running team, won’t have a runner with more than 400 yards this season. The first issue is settling down the offensive line. Pete Carroll learned how valuable Justin Britt is at center when he missed the Tampa Bay game. Rookie Joey Hunt did OK but the Seahawks were vulnerable to defensive-line stunts and had expected communication problems. Britt is expected to be back this week.

Another defensive scoring title in reach. The Seahawks can finish with the fewest points allowed for the fifth straight year. Their defense has gone through a lot. It took weeks to recover from being on the field so long in the Arizona game. Just when the defense was getting healthy, Earl Thomas, DeShawn Shead and Brock Coyle suffered injuries in the Philadelphia game that kept them out last week. Despite all the trauma, the Seahawks’ defense still leads the league in points allowed at 17 per game. They need to maintain that to get the No. 2 seed.

Seattle could have two 1,000-yard pass catchers. Doug Baldwin has 61 catches for 767 yards and is on pace for his second straight 1,000-yard season. That was expected. Jimmy Graham has 51 catches for 706 yards and could also top the 1,000-yard mark. That wasn’t expected considering he was coming off a ruptured patellar tendon. Defenses have focused on keeping extra defenders around them when they are in the red zone, which is why they have combined for nine touchdowns. The Seahawks have only 11 touchdown passes from Wilson, a number that needs to increase.

Want more John Clayton? Listen on-demand to his weekday and Saturday shows as well as his “Cold Hard Facts” and “Clayton’s Morning Drive” segments on 710 ESPN Seattle. Also, check out his all-new “Schooled” podcast and look for his columns twice a week on

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Key stats for the Seahawks as the regular season winds down