Seahawks Overmatched at Arrowhead?
by Bovada Staff : November 14, 2014
This hasn’t been the greatest season for the defending Super Bowl champions. The Seattle Seahawks (6-3 SU, 4-5 ATS) have won three straight to keep their playoff drive alive, but those wins were all against sub-.500 teams, and the Seahawks only covered one of those three games. Now they have to face the Kansas City Chiefs (6-3 SU, 7-2 ATS) this Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium. It’s going to be loud, and it’s going to be difficult. Seattle is a 1-point underdog (–105) as we go to press with a total of 42.5; kickoff is at 1:00 PM ET on FOX.
There’s pretty much nowhere to go but down for the Seahawks. According to the advanced Defense-adjusted Value Over Average (DVOA) at Football Outsiders, Seattle was the most efficient team in the league in both 2012 and 2013. There was reason to believe that the Seahawks could avoid the dreaded Super Bowl Hangover – they had a young roster with enough cap space to retain most of their talent, and they still have some betting value as a “small-market” team playing in the Pacific Northwest.
Indeed, the ‘Hawks looked fantastic when they started the season, picking up wins at home over the Green Bay Packers (+4.5) and the Denver Broncos (+4) before taking the early bye in Week 4. But it hasn’t been much fun since then. Wide receiver Percy Harvin was traded to the New York Jets. The shocking move was motivated by cash and character concerns more than on-field performance. And Seattle’s lineup has been further diluted by injuries; defensive tackle Brandon Mebane (hamstring) and tight end Zach Miller (ankle) are the latest players to go on injured reserve.
On the other side of the coin, the Chiefs were expected to regress somewhat this year after winning 11 games (9-7 ATS) in their maiden voyage under head coach Andy Reid. And that’s exactly what happened – for the first two games of the season. Since then, the Chiefs have done very little wrong, and they’ve won four straight SU and ATS coming out of the bye in Week 6.
Looking at this year’s DVOA stats through Week 10, the Seahawks are still among the league’s best at No. 4 overall (No. 5 offense, No. 7 defense, No. 23 special teams). But the Chiefs aren’t far behind at No. 10 (No. 11 offense, No. 16 defense, No. 8 special teams), and they’ve enjoyed considerably better health than Seattle. Pro Football Reference even has Kansas City (plus-9.5 SRS) ranked well ahead of the Seahawks (plus-4.5) using their Simple Rating System.
Then you have Arrowhead Stadium. It’s expected to snow over Kansas City this weekend, which will be difficult enough for the visitors, but this is also the only crowd in the NFL that can compete with Seattle’s fans when it comes to noise. They’ve been trading the “world record” for decibel level back and forth, and you can expect Chiefs fans to do their utmost on Sunday to disrupt the Seahawks’ offense. This could be where Seattle’s Super Bowl defense sputters to a halt.