Seattle Seahawks on the verge of joining NFL elite teams

English: Pete Carroll at the USC 2005 National...

Pete Carroll (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Imagine an NFL team with an effective offense and an unbreakable defense. Seems like the recipe for a championship team, right?

Let’s put some numbers to the above concept.

On offense, let’s look at teams that average 5.6 or more yards per play. On defense, let’s look at teams that allow less than 4.6 yards per play by their opponents. How many teams fit into those parameters… both on offense and defense?

For the 2013 NFL season, only one team fits the bill… the Seattle Seahawks. Pete Carroll’s offense (through Week #13) are averaging 5.89 yards per play on offense. On defense, the ball-hawking Seattle “D” is allowing only 4.53 yards per play. The Seahawks rank eighth on offense with their 5.89/yards per play, while the defense is second in the league by allowing only 4.53/yards per play. Seattle is the only team in the league to rank in the top 10 in both of these categories.

Looking back at the history of the league, only 10 teams have ended the season with a yards per play on offense of 5.6 or above and a yards per play on defense under 4.6. The Seahawks could become the 11th team in history if their numbers stay where they are currently at for the season. Interestingly, the last two teams to fit into these stat numbers were from the last two NFL seasons. The Denver Broncos last year averaged 5.84 yards per play on offense and 4.58 yards on defense; in 2011, the Steelers gained 5.87 yards per play and allowed 4.51 on defense.

Following are the 10 teams that were 5.6 yards or above on offense and less than 4.6 yards on defense in a season since 1966 (the beginning of the Super Bowl era).

2012 Denver: 5.84 yards per play on offense, 4.58 yards per play on defense
2011 Pittsburgh: 5.87 yards per play on offense, 4.51 yards per play on defense
2007 Indianapolis: 5.63 yards per play on offense, 4.57 yards per play on defense
1991 Washington: 5.76 yards per play on offense, 4.54 yards per play on defense
1987 San Francisco: 5.68 yards per play on offense, 4.39 yards per play on defense
1980 San Diego: 5.65 yards per play on offense, 4.44 yards per play on defense
1979 Pittsburgh: 5.79 yards per play on offense, 4.13 yards per play on defense
1972 Miami: 5.64 yards per play on offense, 4.28 yards per play on defense
1968 Oakland: 5.88 yards per play on offense, 4.33 yards per play on defense
1966 Kansas City: 6.04 yards per play on offense, 4.55 yards per play on defense

Of the 10 teams listed above, four made the Super Bowl that season (1991 Washington, 1979 Pittsburgh, 1972 Miami and 1966 Kansas City) with three of those teams, Washington, Pittsburgh and Miami, winning the title that year. The other six teams each made the playoffs that year. All of the 10 teams won 11 or more games that season.

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp

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