Tim Lewis: How good is the Seahawks defense?
There's a lot of talk surrounding the Broncos top-ranked offense leading up to Super Bowl XLVIII, and rightfully so. The Broncos had a record-breaking season, putting up numbers that no one could even dream of (according to Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll).
Yes, the Broncos offense is really good, but so is the Seahawks defense. Just like Denver on the offensive side, Seattle tops most defensive categories across the NFL.
I'm sure this isn't the first time you've heard about the Seahawks defense, but you might not understand just how dominant these guys have been all season. So I ask (and answer), how good is the Seattle defense?
The Seahawks only allowed 4,378 yards this season. That was easily the best mark in the NFL, beating out the next closest team (Carolina) by 442 yards. The league average was 5,576 yards, which is almost a full 1,200 yards more than the number Seattle posted this year.
Yards Per Game
Seattle was the only team to allow fewer than 300 yards per game in the regular season. The Seahawks topped the NFL by only giving up 273.6 yards per contest.
The Seahawks easily had the best pass defense in the league, only allowing 2,752 passing yards all season. That's 353 yards fewer than the next best team (New Orleans). The Eagles had the worst showing in 2013, giving up 4,636 passing yards this year.
Passing Yards Per Game
I think the Seahawks pass defense is even more impressive when you break down the stats per game. Seattle only allowed 172 yards per contest this year, which was 63.6 yards better than the league average (235.6 passing yards per game).
This is where the Seattle defense slipped a little this season (I guess the 'Legion of Boom' can only do so much). The Seahawks finished tied with the Broncos for seventh in the NFL. Seattle allowed 1,626 yards this season, which was 275 yards more than the top mark in the league (1,351 by Arizona).
Rushing Yards Per Game
When you look at this on a per game basis, it helps put the rushing stats in perspective. While the Seahawks didn't have the top figure in the league, they still only allowed 101.6 rushing yards per contest. It could have been much worse -- the Chicago Bears allowed a league-worst 161.4 yards per game.
It still blows my mind every time I look at this stat. The Seahawks only allowed 231 points this season (easily the league-best), which is an average of 14.4 points per game. That's incredible to me, especially when you compare it to the NFL average of 23.4 points per contest.
The Seahawks defense had the most interceptions in the NFL, picking off 28 passes this year. That's five interceptions better than the next closest team (Buffalo). Of Seattle's 28 interceptions, 17 of them came from the original members of the 'Legion of Boom' (Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor, and the since suspended Brandon Browner).
Defense wins championships. You hear people say that all the time, but I think it's safe to say this is the ultimate test. We'll see the best offense in the league versus the top defense in Super Bowl XLVIII. The winner takes home the ultimate prize. Will the defense theory stand true? We'll find out Sunday.