Patriots-Seahawks preview Q&A with 12th Man Rising expert Lee Vowell

Rob Ninkovich #50 of the New England Patriots sacks Russell Wilson #3 of the Seattle Seahawks during the second quarter of a game against the Seattle Seahawks at Gillette Stadium on November 13, 2016 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Rob Ninkovich #50 of the New England Patriots sacks Russell Wilson #3 of the Seattle Seahawks during the second quarter of a game against the Seattle Seahawks at Gillette Stadium on November 13, 2016 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images) /

Patriots-Seahawks should be a battle, and we previewed the game with 12th Man Rising expert Lee Vowell.

The Patriots are poised to follow a triumphant Week 1 showing with another heated battle with their eternal cross-country rivals, the Seattle Seahawks.

Though many participants in previous rivalry matchups, like Richard Sherman and Malcolm Butler (not to mention, uh, the QB and TE), have departed, the fervor to beat a contending team is still there after the Pats dismantled the Miami Dolphins at home in Week 1.

This will be a true challenge, and in order to prepare for it, we exchanged questions with 12th Man Rising Seahawks expert Lee Vowell to get Seattle’s perspective on the battle. You can read our Pats preview over on their site!

Head coach Bill Belichick shakes hands with Russell Wilson #3 of the Seattle Seahawks after a game at Gillette Stadium on November 13, 2016 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images) /

1. The continuity that comes with having Russell Wilson seems like it’ll serve the Hawks well in this weird season. Is he the current MVP favorite? Should he be?

Answer: You have an excellent point about continuity. NFL teams with veteran quarterbacks should do better, especially at the beginning of the season. But the Seahawks are beyond this. A lot of their free agent signings, like Bruce Irvin and Benson Mayowa, were guys who had played for them in the past. This means Seattle was intentionally getting players whose learning curve to the Pete Carroll way would be lessened. As far as Russell Wilson goes, he isn’t the current MVP favorite because I think Patrick Mahomes will be the favorite until someone overtakes him late in the year, if they do. And oddly, Wilson has never received one MVP vote in his career. But he should be in the running this season. The issue is that the Seahawks’ offense will limit his numbers (Seattle likes to run a lot) and Wilson is very unlikely to ever throw for 5,000 yards or 45 touchdowns because of this. Voters sometimes see only numbers instead of the importance of the player.

2. What have you seen from Jamal Adams so far? Which defender other than Adams is most likely to take over the game?

Answer: Jamal Adams was very good in training camp and brings an energy that has been lacking from the Seahawks defense for a few years. Seattle has had some talent on defense but they miss guys like Kam Chancellor and Richard Sherman who were on-the-field leaders as well as emotional leaders. Seattle has always fed off of emotion nearly as much as talent. Adams has a lot of Chancellor in him and that’s what’s needed. In Week 1, he was incredible, logging 12 tackles (two for a loss) and a sack, which immediately changed the complexion of Seattle’s defense.

Other than Jamal Adams (and even Bobby Wagner, who is a future Hall of Famer), the guy who needs to take over the game is defensive tackle Jarran Reed. He had 10.5 sacks in 2018 and is capable of great things. He just needs to play every down like it’s his last.

3. Are you prepared for a Seahawks season without the 12th man? What about the air quality? Should this game even be played?

Answer: I will take the second part first. The air quality in Seattle is bad, but it isn’t as bad as places south, like Portland and California. Seattle is a bit different because of the weather patterns. By Sunday, while not perfect, the forecast says that a lot of the smoke could be gone so the game should be OK to play.

The other question is more tricky and the real answer is, “I don’t know.” Playing a game with home fans isn’t something the NFL has endured so it’ll be odd. Seattle has a reputation of being a really good home team, but then last year they only went 4-4 at CenturyLink Field and still made the playoffs. For whatever reason, most likely due to roster turnover, Seattle isn’t as good of a home team now as they were in the early 2010s. How it affects the 2020 team to not have 12s in the stands is yet to be determined.

4. What are you expecting out of DK Metcalf in Year 2? Will he match up with Stephon Gilmore?

Answer: I think DK Metcalf will be a very good receiver in the NFL. He still needs to focus on every pass. For instance, he dropped one against the Falcons in Week 1, and if he had caught it and then turned and ran, he might have been able to use his size to score. But he is so big, so fast and has fairly reliable hands that should allow him to go over 1,000 yards this season. Though very good, he’s not Seattle’s best receiver. Yet.

If Metcalf goes up against Gilmore, the reigning Defensive Player of the Year has the advantage. However, I think it will be a good matchup for Metcalf because he will learn a lot from Gilmore’s coverage, and that is only going to help him long-term. He’s already a smart and dedicated player, but this will help the former Ole Miss star even more. But I think Tyler Lockett, Seattle’s true No. 1 receiver right now, will get more looks anyway.

5. If you’re the Seahawks, what are you most nervous about going up against the Patriots?

Answer: The coaching greatness of Bill Belichick. When a team plays the Patriots, the game is less about individual matchups and more about scheme. And the problem is that Belichick can adapt his scheme week to week so a team isn’t really sure what to expect. That’s why the Patriots have had the edge over almost all of their opponents for the past 20 years. Pete Carroll wins because he puts his players in the right place for the scheme to work. Belichick is able to morph schemes and constantly has the capable personnel to do so.

On the field, the greatest concern should be Seattle winning a low-scoring game. If I’m Josh McDaniels, I’d come out running the ball with Cam Newton and their deep running back corps to keep Russell Wilson off the field. Seattle isn’t great at stopping the run either. New England could easily win this game 17-14.