Seattle makeover shows gains

Marshawn Lynch is the backbone of an improving Seattle Seahawks offense. Jason O. Watson/US Presswire

Teams that win playoff games don't often continue a rebuild, but that's what has happened in the Pacific Northwest. After all, the playoff run for Seattle last season came after a 7-9 regular season. The Seahawks blew up their offense, bringing in six new starters on that side of the ball and choosing not to re-sign quarterback Matt Hasselbeck. It's a continuing theme for the Pete Carroll era -- no team has turned over its roster like the Seahawks over the past two years. And while the new squad rarely looked like a playoff team in the season's first month, everything seemed to come together in Week 5 against the New York Giants.

Was the Seahawks' 36-25 win in the Big Apple a fluke or a sign of improvement for the defending NFC West champs? And if the Giants can't stop the Tarvaris Jacksons and Charlie Whitehursts of the world, do they have a chance to win the NFC East?

The win was certainly an anomaly for Seattle. At Football Outsiders, we measure teams using a statistic we call DVOA (defense-adjusted value over average), which measures not just yards gained, but also a team's ability to avoid turnovers, convert third downs and score in the red zone. It also accounts for down, distance, score, opponent and other factors.

An average team will be at exactly 0.0 percent, with higher numbers favoring offenses and lower, negative numbers signaling good defense. As the following chart shows, Seattle has played great run defense this year, but they've done little else well: