Sunday Night Football features an awesome matchup between two undefeated teams: the Seattle Seahawks and the New England Patriots. The storylines are fascinating: Newton vs. Wilson, Belichick vs. Carroll, Metcalf vs. Gilmore, Edelman vs. Adams. Since 2012, the Seahawks hold a 2-1 advantage. We all know about that one loss. So who comes out on top Sunday night? Here are my 6 keys to the Seahawks getting a prime-time win and going 2-0.
The Patriots no longer have Tom Brady, but Cam Newton has come in and completely changed the look of the New England offense. Last week, Cam rushed for two touchdowns, 75 yards and threw for 155. Cam Newton WAS the Patriots offense. He’s a quarterback who’s built like a tight end. The biggest key this week is stopping Cam Newton from running. If we force him to throw, the game tilts heavily in the Seahawks favor.
The Seahawks are favored to win this game and they should be. They have more talent nearly all across the board. But the one thing that can even the odds is the turnover battle. The Seahawks need to protect the ball (Chris Carson, we’re talking about you!) and Wilson have to be careful in the passing game. He went off last week against the Falcons, but the Patriots secondary is more dangerous, led by all-pro Stephon Gilmore. If we win the turnover battle, we probably win the game.
Everyone loves the big, explosive plays, but it’s executing the little things that win a game. Penalties, dropped passes, missed assignments can completely wreck a drive and potentially end a game. The Seahawks need to play a clean, well-executed game. Coach Belichick is the master of taking advantage of another team’s mistakes. That cannot happen this week.
The Patriots do not have an explosive deep threat on paper, but any play can become a big one if the defense makes a mistake and lets someone get behind the secondary. The defense needs to stay disciplined and keep everything in front of them and keep the Patriots offense out of the end zone. The same applies to special teams. The punting and kicking teams need to contain the returners and avoid any major blunders like a blocked punt or a fumbled snap.
Russell Wilson was like a master chef last week, cookin’ all kinds of offensive stats against the Falcons, going 31-35, over 300 yards and 4 touchdowns, earning him the NFC Offensive Player of the Week. I would love to see him have a repeat performance, but it’s unlikely given the skilled secondary of the Patriots. Head coach, Pete Carroll, announced that the Seahawks will run the ball more in this game. And they should. But Russell Wilson still needs to control the flow of the offense and be given the opportunity to throw the ball or keep it. The Patriots’ worst nightmare is to have to worry about Russell Wilson running up and down the field while respecting his ability to throw the ball down the field. Let Russ Cook!
Let’s face it. Pound for pound the Seahawks are a more talented team. If they can all stay on the field and do the 5 keys I listed above, the Seahawks should win this game, 28-24. GO HAWKS!!!