Why things look good for Seahawks coming out of bye

Nov 18, 2019, 10:55 AM
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll...
The Seahawks are 6-3 under head coach Pete Carroll after bye weeks since 2010. (Getty)

While the Seahawks didn’t get much help in the NFC seeding race on Sunday, the team has some reason for optimism coming out of the off week.

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Seattle had its bye week in Week 11, and it came at a pretty good time, too. Here are a few reasons why.

Getting healthy and acclimated

The Seahawks are a week removed from the team’s biggest win of the season, a 27-24 road overtime win against the San Francisco 49ers. San Francisco entered the game as the NFL’s last remaining undefeated team but are now just a game up on the Seahawks in the NFC West.

Seattle was pretty healthy going into Week 10, with just offensive lineman Phil Haynes and safety Lano Hill missing the game due to injury. The team had five healthy scratches including first-round defensive lineman L.J. Collier, running back C.J. Prosise and veteran wide receiver Jaron Brown, who was inactive in favor of recently acquired receiver Josh Gordon, who made his Seattle debut against the 49ers and had two key third-down receptions.

Speaking of Gordon, the off week gives him an opportunity to get more comfortable in Seattle’s offense. Don’t be surprised if Gordon has a larger role in Seattle’s offense on Sunday in Philadelphia, as he had just two targets and played only 28 snaps in San Francisco. That’s especially true if star wide receiver Tyler Lockett misses the game or isn’t 100 percent against the Eagles.

Both Lockett and tight end Luke Willson left last Monday’s contest with injuries.

Willson has a hamstring injury which head coach Pete Carroll described as “legit” last week, and it’s expected he will miss a few weeks. Tight end Ed Dickson is expected to be activated off the team’s injured reserve list and make his debut against the Eagles, which is good news since Jacob Hollister is the team’s only healthy tight end at the moment if you don’t count George Fant, a backup left tackle who is often deployed as a sixth offensive lineman/extra tight end.

With Lockett, the Seahawks may have dodged a bullet as he left the Week 10 game and was on the sidelines during overtime icing his leg. Lockett suffered a leg contusion and stayed in a Bay Area hospital until Wednesday. There were concerns both with him flying home due to swelling as well as whether he would need surgery for compartment syndrome. Luckily for Lockett, he didn’t need surgery and there’s a good chance he plays against Philadelphia.

Seahawks’ post-bye success

Since Pete Carroll arrived in Seattle in 2010, his teams have been among the best in the NFL record-wise in games after bye weeks.

Seattle has a 6-3 record after byes under Carroll, winning those games each of the last three seasons as well as in five of the last six.

The Seattle offense typically shows up well after byes, scoring at least 23 points in all but one of those contests since Carroll took over. The Seahawks have averaged 24.22 points per game, and that includes a 6-3 loss to the Cleveland Browns in 2011.

The defense has allowed an average of 17.6 points per game in games played after bye weeks. That number is inflated a bit due to Seattle’s 39-32 loss to the Arizona Cardinals in 2015. Take out that game and the average points allowed drops to 14.9.

The next opponent

The Seahawks were originally going to play in Philadelphia in a primetime matchup with the Eagles, but the game has been flexed in favor of the Green Bay Packers-San Francisco 49ers game. Rather than kicking off at 5:20 p.m., Seattle will kick off at 10 a.m.

The Seahawks have been incredible under Carroll during primetime games with a 28-5 record, but while it appears Seattle lost a bit of an advantage with the scheduling change, there’s some reason for optimism when looking at the Eagles matchup.

Like the Eagles’ .500 record would insinuate, the team is middle of the pack in both offense and defense. The Eagles’ offense is 14th in the league with 23.4 points per game, and their defense ranks ninth in yards allowed per game and are 18th in points allowed per game. For comparison’s sake, Seattle is seventh in the NFL in scoring offense with 27.5 points per game and are 23rd with 25.4 points per game and 25th in yards per game.

Philadelphia’s offense is coming off a rough game in Week 11 as they were dominated by the New England Patriots, scoring just 10 points in a 17-10 loss and dropping to a 5-5 record. Quarterback Carson Wentz completed just 50 percent of his passes and the Eagles allowed 17 unanswered points after jumping out to a 10-0 lead.

Per the Eagles’ official website, one reason their offense stalled after taking the lead was the loss of star right tackle Lane Johnson, who left the game with a head injury and didn’t return. The team was also without starting running back Jordan Howard and top wide receiver Alshon Jeffrey. Other notable injuries include receiver DeSean Jackson, who is out for the rest of the year and running back Darren Sproles, who will also miss the remainder of the 2019 season. Philadelphia – especially on offense – is beat up.

While the Eagles’ offense struggled, the defense rose to the occasion. Patriots quarterback Tom Brady had one of his worst games this season, completing roughly 55 percent of his passes with no touchdowns.

So while the Seahawks were at home getting rested on Sunday, the Eagles suffered a frustrating home loss that you could argue they could have and should have won.

With the loss to New England, Philadelphia has now dropped three of its last five, and the Eagles are currently one game behind the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC East standings. They’ve also shown a tendency to win and lose games in twos this year, which could bode well for the Seahawks.

After the Eagles’ Week 1 victory over the Washington Redskins, they have won or lost two games in a row the rest of the way and have a chance to continue that “streak.”

What do we mean by that?

The Eagles lost in both Week 2 and Week 3, won in Week 4 and 5, lost in Week 6 and 7, won in Week 8 and 9, had a bye week in Week 10, and are coming off a loss in Week 11 to the Patriots.

Do they keep that consistency with a Week 12 loss to Seattle?

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Why things look good for Seahawks coming out of bye