Seahawks go for 4-0
Game in and game out the Seattle Seahawks‘ biggest obstacle will be themselves. I don’t know what it is about this team, whether it’s over-confidence or Pete Carroll’s preaching about not being able to lose a game in the 1st quarter, but they always start slow.
No matter the cause, Sunday the habitual slow start will be compounded by a 10:00 AM Pacific start time.
Somehow, Seattle must find a way to weather the early storm while keeping Houston close going into the second half of the game.
To accomplish this, the Seahawks must find a way to slow down the Texans’ passing attack. Andre Johnson and DeAndre Hopkins are ranked 17th and 20th respectively in receiving yards. The Houston wide-out duo is averaging nearly 10 first downs per game; however, that could all change Sunday when they face the league’s best secondary, the Legion of Boom.
Andre Johnson returned to practice on Thursday after missing time in last week’s game when a cornerback’s knee landed on his shin.
Even if Andre is at 100 percent Richard Sherman is more than capable of matching up against the large, physical receiver.
To be honest, I am more concerned about rookie first round pick DeAndre Hopkins in this matchup. Hopkins is a smaller, shiftier receiver than Johnson. Seattle must find a way to chip him at the line and throw his timing off if they want to keep him from being a factor in moving the ball down the field.
In the red-zone, Matt Schaub tends to lean on his tights end. Owen Daniels and Garrett Graham have accounted for 5 of Matt’s 6 touchdowns this season. Seahawks linebackers struggle a bit in coverage, so defensive coordinator Dan Quinn might want to give some safety help in those situation.
Whatever it takes to keep those two from adding to that total.
Arian Foster is going to get his carries — it’s a given. What the Seahawks must do is find a way to keep Ben Tate from breaking through the line and gaining yards in bunches.
While the Seahawks’ defense is ranked 1st in the league in total defense, Houston is ranked 2nd. The discrepancy between the yards the Texans are giving up and the point total is unusual. The Seahawks must create turnovers, and when they do, they have to take advantage of good field position. Two weeks in a row Matt Schaub has thrown interceptions that were returned for touchdowns. Seattle’s ball-hawking secondary should be able to take advantage of the mistakes that Schaub is bound to make.
But what will the offense be able todo once they get the ball?
They must run the ball early and often. Not only will it keep the potentially potent Texans offense off the field and eat up clock, but it will slow down the Texans’ pass rush, specifically JJ Watt who is always near the top of the league in sacks.
Look for Marshawn Lynch to finally surpass the 100-yard mark this season and have somewhere in the ball park of 25 carries, while rookie Christine Michael could see action as a change-of-pace/home-run-hitting back.
Another way Seattle will be able to slow the rush down is by using screen plays. Darrell Bevell uses his running backs and wide receivers, especially Golden Tate, in this role often no matter who they are playing.
On a side note, it is one of the things I am most excited about seeing from Percy Harvin, but alas, that will have to wait a while.
Right about now, the Seahawks could sure use Russell Okung. Instead, they must give their tackles help by using a tight end, or chipping outside rushers with a running back.
I look for a close game where the Seahawks are trailing until late in the 4th quarter. That is when Russell Wilson leads the team down the field and scores the game winning touchdown with less than six minutes left on the clock.
Seattle win 24-21