- Scott Kacsmar, Football Outsiders
In Week 4, the Seattle Seahawks, one of the NFL's four Pacific time zone teams, fell behind 20-3 in Houston in a game that started at noon, Central time. For the Seahawks' body clocks, that's 10 a.m. local time.
Does this sound familiar? Seattle's 2012 season ended in Atlanta in an early playoff game after it fell behind 20-0 at halftime. The previous week, Washington led 14-0 before a Seattle comeback. Lightning did not strike twice, as the late rally in Atlanta was not enough.
In Houston, Seattle prevailed in overtime, but it was the second time this season that the team needed a fourth-quarter comeback to pull out the close win in an early game in another time zone.
On Sunday, the Seahawks play a 1 p.m. game in Indianapolis. Since 2007, Pacific teams have played back-to-back games in the Central/East 17 times. Only four times did the Pacific team win both road games. Seattle is also scheduled for 1 p.m. ET in Atlanta (Week 10) and against the Giants (Week 15). The latter is what Seattle hopes will be just the first trip this season to MetLife Stadium, site of Super Bowl XLVIII.
But will all of this travel and the early start times impact the team known for the best home-field advantage in the NFL? Is there proof that this is a problem, or have the western teams just been bad in recent times?
Scott Kacsmar of Football Outsiders examines the time zone travel effect for the Seattle Seahawks, and whether they can overcome it to continue their dominance this season.