At the halfway point of the season, the Seattle Seahawks' offense is averaging 17.38 points per game, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
Yet there is a confidence inside the practice facility and among many fans that the Seahawks will turn their season around starting with Sunday's game against the Arizona Cardinals. Why? The team posted a 20-4 record in the second half of the season the previous three years, and the offense has historically played better in the final eight games.
Mike Sando of ESPN.com crunched the numbers last month. From 2012 to 2014, The Seahawks' offense averaged 22.8 points per game in the first half of the season, compared 28.2 points in the second half. Numbers went up in other categories, including yards per game, total touchdowns and QBR.
It's reasonable to assume that certain aspects of the offense will improve. For example, on the offensive line, right tackle Garry Gilliam and center Drew Nowak are starting for the first time. Justin Britt hadn't previously played left guard. Added reps can only help the guys up front.
But still, there are real areas of concern. And just because the Seahawks have been a second-half team doesn't mean the issues should be swept under the rug. Below is a look at some numbers, what we've seen so far and what to expect going forward.
Points per game: As mentioned above, the Seahawks' offense ranks 29th (17.38 PPG). In each of the previous two years, they ranked ninth after eight weeks. In other words, the Seahawks did not have a stretch this bad in either of the two Super Bowl seasons. The biggest issue has been red zone efficiency. The Seahawks are converting red zone trips into touchdowns just 29.4 percent of the time, dead last in the NFL. If that number doesn't improve, it would be the second-worst mark of any team in five years, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Only the 2012 Kansas City Chiefs (2-14) were worse.
According to Football Outsiders, the Seahawks are scoring touchdowns on 14 percent of their drives, the second-worst mark in the league. Sometimes, football is simple. The Seahawks need to do a better job of utilizing their weapons and scoring touchdowns. Figuring this out had to have been high on the coaches' priority list during the bye.
Efficiency: There are a couple of ways to measure this, but the best is probably Football Outsiders' DVOA metric. The Seahawks currently rank 15th in offensive efficiency -- 18th in passing and ninth in rushing. The offense ranked 10th in efficiency at the halfway point last year and 14th in 2013. The Seahawks finished the season seventh and fifth in offensive DVOA in the previous two seasons, respectively.
In terms of efficiency, there is reason for optimism. The offense isn't that far off from its mark at the halfway point the previous two seasons. Whether this group makes a similar jump as it has in the past will go a long way in determining how the season plays out.
Negative plays: There are two items lumped into one category here: sacks and turnovers. Wilson is being sacked on 10.4 percent of his dropbacks, according to ESPN Stats & Information. That's the highest mark in the league. In the first half of last year, it was 6.1 percent (17th). In 2013, it was actually the exact same number as this season, 10.4 percent. That year, the number dropped to 7.1 percent in the second half of the season. But in 2014, the Seahawks' sack rate actually increased in the final eight games.
Both the offensive line and the quarterback are responsible for sacks. Wilson's passing numbers (68.8 percent completions, 8.03 YPA) are really good. But because of the negative plays, he's averaging just 6.52 yards per dropback, which ranks 19th. There will always be a balance between extending plays and getting rid of the ball, but too often, sacks were drive-killers in the first half of the season.
Even though Wilson is one interception away from matching last year's total, the Seahawks have been good about taking care of the football. Per Football Outsiders, they have turned it over on 10.5 percent of their possessions, which ranks ninth. The bigger issue has been extending drives and finishing. The Seahawks are punting on 46.5 percent of their drives. Only the Rams, Lions, Texans, Jaguars and 49ers have punted more often.