Seahawks now considered underdogs to make playoffs?

The Seahawks entered the 2014 season as Vegas’ (and yours truly’s) favorite to repeat as Super Bowl champions.

Seven weeks and three losses later, however, Seattle could be on the outside looking in.

According to Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight.com, the Seahawks, based on the latest NFL Elo ratings, are now considered underdogs to qualify for the postseason.

Says Silver:

Our Elo ratings carry over performance from previous seasons, which helps Seattle some. This usually yields more reliable estimates of team strength, especially early in the season (six games is a small sample size). You could argue against accounting for prior years’ performance when a team is old or when its roster had turned over substantially. But Seattle’s hasn’t. It has brought its core back from last year, when it was the third-youngest team in football. Quarterback Russell Wilson is just 25, an age when most QBs are still improving.

Nonetheless, the Elo ratings have the Seahawks as underdogs to make the playoffs. In the simulations we ran after Sunday night’s games, Seattle made the playoffs just 46 percent of the time.

The Elo rating, originally created by an astrophysicist, is an analytical-based model that uses various formulas and calculations to determine probability. In this case, Elo predicts the Seahawks will finish with a 9-7 record, which gives the team just a 23-percent chance of making the playoffs.

“Seattle will also need to finish with an 11-5 record or better to be assured of making the playoffs,” Silver wrote.

And even that might not be enough.

” … While an 11-5 record was almost always good enough for Seattle to make the postseason, it only earned the Seahawks a division title 60 percent of the time,” Silver wrote.

The Seahawks finished 13-3 in 2013, earning home field advantage throughout the playoffs en route to the Super Bowl. To hit that mark again, they’d have to run the table the rest of the way this season, a nearly impossible feat considering their daunting schedule.

While the Seahawks, mired in a super rare two-game losing streak, are down at the moment, they can never truly be counted out. It’d come as a surprise to absolutely no one if they end up competing deep into January.

In other words, to quote Aaron Rodgers, R-E-L-A-X, 12’s. There’s lots of football left to be played.

(Photo credit: Getty Images)

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Zack Kelberman
An award-winning sportswriter, reporter and blogger, Zack currently serves as the Miami Dolphins live correspondent and Team Stream curator for Bleacher Report. He's also a freelance NFL writer and the founder/editor-in-chief of Helmet2Helmet. His work has appeared on media outlets such as ESPN, Sports Illustrated, FOX Sports, MSN.com, FanSided.com, and About.com. Zack can be reached on Twitter (@ZackKelberman) or via email (zpkelb@gmail.com).