The lack of offensive production in last week’s divisional round playoff game against the New Orleans Saints should cause some concern if you’re a fan of the Seattle Seahawks.
In fact, the offense has struggled in the past five games, dating back to the regular season. Over the past five games, the Seahawks offense is averaging 18.6 points and 265.8 yards – compared to 26.6 points and 364.3 yards during the Seahawks 11-1 start to the season.
This Sunday in the NFC Championship Game, the Seahawks offense will be going up against a 49ers defense that is ranked No. 5 in yards allowed and No. 3 in points allowed.
The Seahawks know they can beat the 49ers, especially at home in the friendly confines of CenturyLink Field. They did it in Week 2 this season and in Week 16 last season, with both wins coming in dominating fashion. They know if they want to repeat that success, they’ll have to be more productive on offense than they’ve been over the past five games.
The Seahawks’ offensive success all starts with their workhouse running back Marshawn Lynch. The Seahawks’ offense goes as Lynch goes. Lynch rushed for 140 yards last week on 28 carries against the Saints and must have a repeat performance this weekend against the 49ers to take some of the pressure off of quarterback Russell Wilson. The 49ers know that Lynch is the focal point of the Seahawks’ offense. They will be stacked in the box with Pro Bowl linebackers NaVorro Bowman and Patrick Willis. The Seahawks must find a way to combat that with their passing game, which has struggled lately.
Wilson had a career-low 103 passing yards last week against the Saints. He only passed for 108 yards in the Week 16 loss to the Cardinals and has had only one 200-yard passing performance in the past five games (206 yards against the Giants).
Maintaining drives and converting third downs is also an underrated statistic and it’s something the Seahawks’ offense has struggled with. The Seahawks converted 5 of 14 third downs against the Saints, 36 percent. Not great, but an improvement over their efforts to close the regular season – 27 percent in four games (14 of 51). The 49ers allowed the Packers and Panthers to convert 42.9 percent (9 of 21), so the Seahawks must find ways to produce more drive-sustaining plays.
We all expect the Seattle defense and the “Legion of Boom” to come ready to play on Sunday. If the Seahawks plan on making the trip to MetLife Stadium for the Super Bowl, their offense must match the intensity of their defense and come up big.