The Seattle Seahawks have been one of the best home teams in the NFL. If they want to parlay their best start since 2007 into a playoff appearance, however, they'll likely need to play more consistently on the road.
They can start Sunday when they visit a Miami Dolphins team looking to avoid its fourth straight loss.
Seattle has won two in a row coming out of its bye and is 6-4 for the first time since its last 10-win season in 2007, but its 1-4 road mark leaves much to be desired. The road losses have come by a combined 21 points.
"Disappointed in the way we've played on the road that we didn't find a way to get a couple more of those wins," coach Pete Carroll said. "We've been in every one of them. We understand all of that.
"I think we're getting harder to beat."
The Seahawks' last two away games are against Chicago next week and Buffalo on Dec. 16.
Carroll gave his players the entire bye week off after a team meeting last Monday, but he and his staff are still trying to eliminate some deficiencies, one of them on defense.
Seattle ranks third in the league with 296.8 yards allowed per game, but opponents are converting 40.6 percent of their third downs. The Seahawks showed improvement in their last two games, holding Minnesota and New York to a combined five of 21 on third downs.
"For as good as we can play on defense at times to be at 40 percent, that's not good enough for us," Carroll said. "We need to knock that thing down."
The Dolphins (4-6) have numerous problems, having lost three in a row after looking like a possible playoff team through the first seven games. An ineffective running game and turnovers have been the biggest factors in the slide.
After Reggie Bush's hot start - he ran for 241 yards the first two weeks - the Dolphins haven't rushed for 100 in a game since September. Bush has averaged 3.0 yards per carry in his last six contests.
The Miami offense has accounted for one touchdown over the last 10 quarters.
"The running game hasn't been effective lately," guard Richie Incognito said. "That puts a lot of pressure on the rest of the offense. We know we have to get the running game going and execute better. It comes down to guys winning one-on-one blocks."
Ryan Tannehill has been at the center of the Dolphins' failure to take care of the ball. Miami has turned it over seven times in the last two games, five on Tannehill interceptions.
"It's really frustrating," said Tannehill, whose 70.8 passer rating ranks 30th in the league. "Especially with some of the success we had earlier in the year being able to move the ball."
A Miami run defense that suddenly appears vulnerable could be taken advantage of by Seattle's Marshawn Lynch. The Dolphins allowed 83.9 rushing yards per game through their first eight, but 148.5 in the last two.
Lynch is second in the NFL with 1,005 rushing yards and has reached the 100 mark in four consecutive games, including back-to-back season highs of 124 yards in the past two contests.
Seattle should be healthier after the bye, as 13 players were listed on the team's final injury report before their last game. Only guard James Carpenter was unable to practice Monday as he continues to undergo tests for a concussion suffered three weeks ago.
The Dolphins won the teams' last meeting in 2008 in Miami, 21-19.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
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