May 20, 2013; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks running back Robert Turbin (22) participates in organized team activities at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Great Expectations and the 2013 Seahawks


Given that Keith has been doing an excellent series on reasonable expectations for individual players on the Seahawks, I figured I might tackle the whole team. The Seattle Seahawks go into the 2013 season with an enormous amount of promise and an excellent roster. There are some concerns with depth at tight end, offensive tackle and linebacker but by and large this is a very strong group from top to bottom. They’ve got an incredible young quarterback, a productive running game and a dynamite defense. Additionally, they have some of the most significant baggage that come a long with a great roster: great expectations.

Trust me, I’m not making a pessimistic declaration here that this team is going to crumble under the weight of said expectations. I think those kind of narratives are usually overplayed and misleading. What I’m saying is that regardless of the talent level of the Seahawks it will be hard for them to live up to their billing, much harder than it would be to fall short.

Exactly how many wins are you expecting from your Seahawks this year? 10? 11? 12? 13? Everyone has their own opinion but for the sake of argument let’s say the predominant thought is the Seahawks are good for 2012’s total of 11 wins. After all, Vegas has this team winning 10.5 games and those guys more or less know what they are doing.

Going from a starting point of 11 wins there is far more room to go down than to go up. There is a finite range of outcomes for the Seahawks in 2013 and if you played the season out in millions of alternate universes (I suppose you could use computer simulations as opposed to quantum physics, but that’s your own personal choice) they almost certainly come in below that eleven win mark more often than above it.  It’s simply much harder to get 11+ wins than to fall below that mark.

If we use 11 as our baseline the following chart gives a sense of how hard it is to put up 11 or more wins. The chart below shows what I consider to be the reasonable range of outcomes for the Seahawks: from 6-16 wins, or in other words, +/- 5 wins from the midpoint of 11. I used data since 2002 when the league expanded to the current 32 teams to show what percentage of seasons during this time period have resulted in each amount of wins within the aforementioned range.

Win Total

Number of Teams with that Win Total

Percentage

16

1

0.28%

15

2

0.56%

14

6

1.70%

13

18

5.11%

12

23

6.53%

11

25

7.10%

10

42

11.93%

9

38

10.80%

8

38

10.80%

7

35

9.94%

6

32

9.09%

This gives a sense of how few teams put up the really high win totals. Not that it is impossible by any stretch of the imagination, but only the truly upper echelon teams are winning 12 or 13+ games. This is all very intuitive, only the great teams win the most games and it’s hard to put together a really great team. Furthermore, the Seahawks may have actually put together such a great team in 2013.

This is more for reference for fans. It’s a warning that when the bar is set higher it becomes progressively more difficult to clear. We tend to predict based on our lucid visions of our team’s success without taking into account all the things that could go wrong. Off the top of my head there are injuries, the improving division, the early season pass rushing concerns and five 10 am starts to contend with.

The chart above doesn’t reflect the Seahawks exact probabilities of each win total as this team is clearly better than your average team. However, regression to the mean applies to everyone and its invisible hand is more likely to suck Seattle towards nine or ten wins than propel them to that rare twelve or thirteen win season. That’s my warning, and now for my prediction I’ll say… 11 wins.  This a good team.

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  • skeletony

    The problem with your argument here is that you are taking teams of wildly varying talent levels and throwing them all into the mix. What I mean is that the NE Patriots and current Denver Broncos teams for example, have a MUCH higher chance to get 11+ wins than most other teams. The Hawks are in that same category now and so we too should have a much higher chance of getting 11+ wins. Vegas also has the Hawks as the probable Super Bowl winners (which set the rest of the NFL fans’ hair on fire apparently) which realistically means more than 11 wins in all probability.

    • http://Allcougdup.com/ All Coug’d Up

      At the same time… The Hawks are a Russell injury away from a mediocre season. But I agree if they stay healthy 11 wins is the least they should win.