Seattle’ keys to success
After a week of much-needed rest the NFL‘s top team will face their biggest test of the season when they host the 9-2 New Orleans Saints.
The Seahawks always seem to struggle in the game following their bye week.
Head coach Pete Carroll has pushed the team through many of the issues that have plagued past Seahawks teams but he has yet to master the art of securing a victory after the vacation.
Pete Carroll is 1-2 after the bye week with his only victory coming during his first season as the Seahawks head coach. That victory came when the team traveled to Chicago and beat the Bears 23-20. Later that season the Seahawks beat the Saints in the playoffs.
Interestingly enough this will be the first time the Seahawks have played at CenturyLink Field after a bye week under Carroll.
The last time the Seahawks hosted an opponent after the bye week was October 10, 2004.
A game where they lost in overtime to the Rams.
Get back in the zone!
The first order of business needed to take place earlier in the week as the team returned to the practice field.
Hopefully the players and coaching staff were able to transition from vacation mode to work mode seamlessly so they are ready to face a tough opponent.
The Seahawks have every reason to be focused for this game. The winner of this Monday Night Football matchup will have the upper hand in the race for the NFC’s top seed entering the playoffs.
This young Seahawks team learned how difficult it is to go on the road in January when they played back to back road playoff games last season.
One would assume they want to make sure the road to the Super Bowl goes through Seattle.
The Seahawks defense has done a very good job of picking an opposing player to stop. Monday that player must be tight end Jimmy Graham.
Graham only needs 54 more yards to reach the 1,000-yard mark on the season. Seattle’s closest receiver, Golden Tate, needs 400 yards to hit 1,000.
The only player in the NFL with more receiving touchdowns than Jimmy’s 11 is Calvin Johnson who has 12 receiving touchdowns but has played one more game than Graham.
This week Richard Sherman spent time covering tight ends in practice.
I think Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn fully intends to limit Jimmy Graham’s impact on the game.
The Saints used a lot of miss direction and screen passes against the aggressive 49ers defense a couple weeks ago. I expect to see them try same thing Monday Night against the Seahawks. The Seahawks defense will need to play sound football to avoid being caught out of position and giving up big plays.
Saints’ defensive coordinator Rob Ryan has turned their defense into the NFL’s 5th best defense in points and yards per game.
The Seahawks must find a way to move the ball and it all starts with special teams. If the special teams units can give the offense a short field to work with Seattle should be able to put up some points even on a stingy defense.
If Percy Harvin cannot play it will make the task a bit tougher but it isn’t the insurmountable obstacle that the nation media may make it appear.
At the end of the day it all comes down to winning the turnover battle.
The records of these teams don’t lie. Both teams are well coached and the players know how to execute a game plan. By the time the final whistle blows I expect the team who wins the game to be the team who won the turnover battle.
I look for a defensive battle where both teams will be lucky if they reach 300 yards of total offense. The Seahawks’ ball-hawkin’ defense and smothering special teams will be the difference makers as the Seahawks win 20-17.