Heading into Sunday’s match up at Century Link Field, many expect the Patriots explosive offense to be the story. They have really found a rhythm the last couple of weeks, and it’s a fast one! The Patriots are currently the number one offense in the league. They are running a lightning fast no huddle that has allowed them to score 83 pts in the last two weeks. They also have a running back tandem in Stevan Ridley and Brandon Bolden that has rushed for 400 yds in two games.
The media would have you believe that Tom Brady and his fast paced offense are unstoppable, but the Seahawks defense and infamous 12th man are not to be overlooked. The Seahawks are currently ranked number one in total defense, second in rushing defense, and third in points allowed. The Seahawks have not allowed a touchdown since the last quarter of their victory over Green Bay in week 3! The Seahawks defense has speed too. They have a youthful defense with rookies like Bobby Wagner and Bruce Irvin fueling a pass rush that has 16 sacks through five games. Their secondary features some of the tallest cornerbacks in the league that can run with the best wide receivers. Last but not least, the Seahawks have the 12th man to their advantage. The crowd noise at Century Link can really disrupt a no huddle offense and this is Tom Brady’s first experience at Century Link. He was injured when the Patriots last played in Seattle in 2008.
This should be a great game and it will be interesting to see how both the Seahawks defense and Patriots offense handle the test. Here are some key match ups to watch out for.
Wes Welker vs Marcus Trufant: Welker once again leads the NFL in receptions and he is exceptional at finding ways to get open when Brady is under pressure. Trufant has played well this season but he is getting older and hasn’t been tested like he will be this week. I think he will need some assistance to keep Welker under wraps.
Seahawks pass rush vs Brady: The Patriots have two offensive linemen in Logan Mankins and Sebastian Vollmer playing through injuries. The recent adjustments to the no huddle offense and high powered rushing attack have helped the Patriots keep Brady safe in spite of these offensive line issues. If the Seahawks can use their speed to beat these injured linemen and sack Brady early, it will be hard for the Patriots to establish the pace they have been so successful with.
Wilson vs Patriots defense: Bill Belichick likes to focus on one area of an offense, making them one-dimensional. You can bet he has honed in on Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch this week. The Patriots should be able to slow him down too, they are ranked 5th against the rush. This leaves a lot of responsibility on Russell Wilson’s shoulders. No matter how well the defense plays, the Patriots will most likely put up some points. Wilson and the Seahawks offense will need to score more than just field goals to win this game. The Patriots have a secondary known for giving up yardage but they can create turnovers if Wilson makes poor decisions. This is the week for the rookie to step it up.