Seahawks Pass Offense vs. Patriots Pass Defense
Russell Wilson was a better quarterback than people gave him credit for coming into the draft, and he’s a better quarterback than people give him credit for so far this regular season. His preseason performances did cloud people’s judgement and I think Matt Flynn is a better quarterback than Wilson right now, but Flynn isn’t healthy and Wilson is playing well enough to warrant being the starter. Last week against the Carolina Panthers, Wilson completed over 75% of his passes and has shown that he fits this offense and is one of the most accurate quarterbacks in the league thus far.
The problem for Wilson is that the pass protection hasn’t been as good as it should be, and his receivers haven’t been playing up to their potential. Both Sidney Rice and Golden Tate have failed to get adequate yards after the catch, and I feel like the players at the skill positions have caused a few of Wilson’s six picks this year (Lynch bobbled a pass that was picked last week).
Rice and Tate are still pretty talented receivers all told, and the issue for the Pats will be getting production out of the other cornerback slots aside from Devin McCourty, who has had a great year. It’s disappointing to see Kyle Arrington continue to struggle, and I have absolutely no idea why Ras-I Dowling isn’t starting. He’s been better than Arrington this season when he actually has been afforded playing time.
Anyway, Wilson gets most of his yardage when throwing it in the middle of the field and is extremely precise in that area. He showed that last week against the Panthers, and he has a chance to do this today. Brandon Spikes and Patrick Chung struggle covering the center of the field, and Tavon Wilson had some communication issues last week and took some bad angles. Even so, Bobby Carpenter will be playing more often this week due to the absence of Dont’a Hightower, and Wilson has been solid in coverage all year (best Pats safety in coverage by far).
Seahawks Run Offense vs. Patriots Run Defense
Marshawn Lynch currently leads all players with 25 forced missed tackles, which goes to show just how electrifying he is. Star veteran center Max Unger will be playing today, so Vince Wilfork and Kyle Love will need to be at their best at the point of attack on the interior. The Patriots run defense is well-equipped to contain Lynch, and they are one of the few teams in this league who can contain the ‘Hawks running game.
The offensive line has really improved for Seattle as far as run blocking goes, and that has helped Lynch’s numbers match his terrific rushing ability. The pass protection from the Seahawks line leaves a lot to be desired at the tackle positions, and I can see Chandler Jones having a big day as a pass rusher and a solid day as a run defender. If this game goes into an ugly, smashmouth mode due to the weather, the ‘Hawks can very well go beast mode.
The weather, the travel, and the rowdy fans making cross-country travel to Seattle a nightmare for many east coast teams. The Seahawks have one of the top defenses in the league, and I just can’t stop raving about the talent that all of their starters have. It’s going to be a tough battle for the Patriots, and I don’t like how people are saying that the ‘Hawks are an easy matchup. They aren’t, at all. However, the Patriots are the better team and have a run defense that can contain Lynch and a quarterback who is the league’s best at diagnosing coverages. It’s going to be close and a little bit ugly.
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