A Real Test…
Not that I’m trying to take away from the Seattle Seahawks perfect 3-0 record, but they haven’t exactly faced the stiffest competition in getting that far. While playing the Panthers on the road is far from a gimmie, it’s not like the Seahawks aren’t the vastly better of the two squads; even the Niners in week 2 wasn’t a real challenge, and don’t even get me started on the Jaguars.
On the road, inside Houston‘s dome, the Seahawks will face their first real test of the 2013 season. Short some of their best offensive lineman, and facing one of the more formidable pass rushes in the league, this is surely the Seahawks most difficult opponent to date.
That’s not to say the Texans themselves aren’t banged up. As of right now Andre Johnson is only probable for tomorrow’s game as he continues to recover from a concussion, and all reports indicate that Duane Brown, who is arguably the best tackle in the league, is a little banged up himself.
The Battle in the Trenches
The first match-up isn’t so much player vs. player, as it is line vs. line. In this case, it’s the Seahawks offensive line against the Texans‘ defensive line. Any time you’re up against a line that features J.J. Watt and Antonio Smith, it’s going to be a long day.
Combine that with the injuries currently ravaging the Seahawks offensive line, and things could get ugly.
The injury that will most impact this battle in the trenches, is the arm injury that likely has Max Unger watching this game from the sideline. It’s the centers responsibility to delegate coverage responsibilities on the offensive line pre-snap, and this is especially difficult against 3-4 defenses as you will often find that it’s not the man directly in front of you that you have to pick up.
This will be made all the more difficult by the rookie Michael Bowie starting at RT and the crowd noise in Houston. Can only hope Lemuel Jeanpierre has done his homework.
Deandre Hopkins vs. Richard Sherman*
The qualifying * is based purely on whether Johnson starts or not. Should Andre Johnson start, it will probably be Brandon Browner who is tasked with covering Hopkins.
Whatever the case, the standout receiver and first-round pick out of Clemson will be a considerable challenge for whoever winds up covering him. In his first three games with the Texans he’s proven to be an apt second receiver alongside Johnson, and as of right now only has 15 yards less than him on the season.
He has great hands and the ability to create separation.
Sherman has been lights out all season, and Browner has held his own in limited action. I have the utmost confidence in whoever draws this assignment, but it’s one to keep an eye on nonetheless.
Owen Daniels vs. Kam Chancellor
This match-up of size on size is sure to have a significant outcome on tomorrow’s game. Owen Daniels has always been one of Schaub‘s safety blanket check down options, but if Johnson isn’t good to go his role is sure to increase. He’s a great receiving tight end with deceptive speed and good hands.
Lining up opposite Daniels will be Kam Chancellor. “Bam Bam” who is best known for his size and ability to help in run defense, will face an increased role in shutting down the passing attack this week.
If he can hold Daniels to somewhere around 50 yards on the day, I’ll consider it a victory for Kam.