Seahawks Insider

Morning links: 5 keys for Hawks vs. Pats

Post by Eric Williams on Oct. 14, 2012 at 7:50 am with 27 Comments »
October 14, 2012 7:58 am
Seattle Seahawks' Brandon Mebane, left, closes in on Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, right, in the first half of an NFL football game, Monday, Sept. 24, 2012, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Good morning. We finally have some football weather this weekend, with 100 percent chance of rain and some wind gusts. So dress appropriately if you’re headed out to the game today.

Here’s my five keys for the game with Seattle taking on the New England Patriots at CenturyLink Field this afternoon.

Score TDs in the red zone – The Seahawks are the worst team in the league in red zone production, scoring a touchdown only 28.6 percent of the time inside the 20-yard line. Scoring in the red zone was a point of emphasis during practice this week. And with the Seahawks playing the top-rated offense in the league in New England, they need to get into the end zone instead of settling for three points to keep up with the Patriots.

Win the turnover battle – New England is tied for the league-lead with a +10 turnover differential, including 14 takeaways on defense this season. The Seahawks have lost the turnover battle the last two games, and are -1 in turnover differential. In order for Seattle to win today, they will have to steal a couple possessions away from New England.

Control the line of scrimmage – Most games are won in the trenches, and today should not be any different. Seattle’s offensive line needs to get a push in the running game against stout defensive tackle Vince Wilfork and the rest of New England’s defensive lien so Marshawn Lynch can get the ground game going. And defensively, Brandon Mebane and the rest of Seattle’s defensive line must get after Tom Brady, and stuff a Patriots’ running game averaging 165 yards a contest.

Get after Brady – In NFC West division rival Arizona’s win at New England earlier this season, the Cardinals sacked Brady four times and hit him another six times. Seattle needs to get after Brady in a similar manner to have success today, much like the defense accomplished three weeks ago against Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers.

Bring the noise – The 12th Man needs to be loud and proud in order to affect New England’s no-huddle offense and make it hard on Brady to communicate with the rest of the offense. Show the rest of the nation that the crowd noise at CenturyLink Field is not some overblown side story.

Here’s my advance for today’s game. I talked with Seattle defensive tackle Brandon Mebane, who’s is playing well right now, and has been influenced by another Seattle legend having his jersey retired at halftime today – Hall of Famer Cortez Kennedy. Here’s what Mebane had to say about the national prognosticators picking New England to win today. Mebane:They’re going to come out and do what they do, so all we can do is get ready for it. If you really look at it, they’re supposed to pick New England because he (Brady) has three Super Bowl rings. If a person really doesn’t understand football, and they just look at their organization, and they see the rings and the Super Bowls, they’re going to pick that team.
“Just being on the West Coast for so long, you’re never going to get no love on the West Coast. It is what it is. You just have to go out there and play, and prove them wrong.”

Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times writes that the Patriots will provide a measuring stick for Seattle’s talented defense today.

Clare Farnsworth of Seahawks.com writes that this is a win that both teams needs, with Seattle and New England at 3-2 and trying to stay in the playoff hunt.

Chareen Williams of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram writes that usually stoic Seattle safety Earl Thomas has reason to smile these days – the recent birth of his 3-week-old daughter, Kaleigh Rose Thomas. “It’s exciting to see how much she grows every day, and the faces she makes and stuff like that,” Thomas said in a phone interview. “I love her to death.”

Mike Reiss of ESPN Boston talks to Seattle players about how they prepared for New England’s no-huddle offense this week: “Any time you have a tempo like that, you have to prepare for it and you have to game plan for it,” second-year cornerback Richard Sherman said. “The only thing you can do is get your offense to simulate it to the best of their abilities and hope you’re prepared enough on Sunday to play. Coaches did everything they could. They tried to fatigue us.”

Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald writes that shifty New England receiver Wes Welker should have an advantage against Seattle’s tall, lanky defenders.

Ron Borges of the Boston Herald writes that the effect of the 12th Man is overrated. Borges: “The hand-wringing in some circles seemed to postulate that if the Patriots aren’t sprinting to the line of scrimmage like Usain Bolt they are somehow limited in what they can accomplish. Truth be told, they’ve been more productive huddling up than not this season, which really means they’ve been offensively overwhelming most of the time, no matter where they call their plays.”

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Morning links
Leave a comment Comments → 27
  1. Dukeshire says:

    Mebane might be right, but there’s only one way to change the way those east of the Rockies view us out here: kick their ass. And Seattle’s going to have to have that mentality for 60 minutes today.

    And I totally agree with Eric, that the LOS is where this game will be won or lost. On defense, is NE catches them in nickel and tries to run Ridley or Woodhead at them, they have to find a way to stop that. Conversely, on offense, they have to give Wilson clean pockets, and open lanes for Lynch, especially on 3rd. They have to be able to sustain drives today.

    All pretty basic stuff, but when you’re playing teams that are playing at a vey high level, like NE, it comes back to the fundimantals.

  2. Carlsonkid says:

    I love how smug the New England press is . Go ahead and inderestimate the hornets nest they’re walking into …

    Got extra throat lozenges for today , off to the game . Big win today if we can take it . GO HAWKS !

  3. Yup, yup. Control the line of scrimmage on D. The Cardinals already demonstrated how to do that to the Pats. 12th Man bring the noise, and get after Brady.

    One more key – We have to use our speed on D to make those crossing routes and middle of the field game tough on the Pats receivers. The speed of our young LBs will be key! KJ and Bobby Wagner need to be sharp today, and our Safeties need to bring it fast and hard. Take away Welker and Hernandez crossing the middle and the Pats will not be the Pats.

    Another interesting thing to see is how the Seahawks will handle substitutions on D. The Pats may not give the Seahawks time to swap Big Red and Irvin on run/pass downs. Seahawks may need to find one set on D and stick with it. Can Irvin get on the field enough to make plays, or does our pass rush get neutralized by the Pats offensive balance?

  4. I don’t know. They have Brady so they could actually lose the battle on the LOS (both sides of the ball) and still win. It’s not going to be easy, but it can be done by this group.

    The crazy thing with this team is that, aside from the QB position (which will get better with experience), I believe that we have more talent than any team we have played this year. Again, aside from QB, I wouldn’t trade all of our position players for all of their position players. That’s how good of a job that Mr. Happy and the Duke Boy have done these past few years!

  5. FleaFlicker says:

    I’m never rooting for anybody to be hurt, but it’s part of the game and I ain’t shedding any tears over Patriots being down a few guys:

    1. TE Hernandez (questionable)
    2. WR Edelman (out)
    3. LB Hightower (out)

    Of note also, is that Hightower’s backup is also out with a foot issue. The strong side is going to be the place to run today. I hope!

    http://espn.go.com/blog/boston/new-england-patriots/post/_/id/4732079/hightower-edelman-ruled-out

    Uggh. ESPN Sunday NFL Countdown just picked SF to win the division. Time to take Dukeshire’s words to heart and make the rest of the country respect our authoritah.

  6. Dukeshire says:

    Lol! Love the Cartman reference.

  7. Brady has no clue what he’s getting into… We’re not Jets fans. #12thMan

  8. FleaFlicker says:

    I’m laughing out loud at that link, BobbyK

  9. Dukeshire says:

    Lol. “Step out of the car, sir.”

  10. sherminator says:

    half the country would pick the University of Nike Ducks over the Seahawks if they had Tom Brady at QB. But it doesn’t matter, half the country isn’t playing the game – our guys are, and I think they’ll show that we have a real team, and that the 12th man is real, too.

  11. FleaFlicker says:

    “Step out of the pocket, Mr. Brady”

  12. Southendzone says:

    That injury news is great to hear. Now if Welker would just eat a bad bowl of oatmeal this morning, we will be set.

  13. After he asks that guy to step out of the car, I love how he whacks him in the shin! Classic. I hope we’re able to whack Brady a few times that result in some INTs.

    Still have a smile on my face with Hasselbeck beating the SteAlers on Thursdaynight. I hope the smile continues with our game today!

  14. Dukeshire says:

    OMG, I love that too, Bobby. Lol! Okay, back to football, now…

  15. DisplacedSeahawkFan says:

    Man, I think I’m more nervous, and have more butterflies, about this game than the actual players do. Oh man, the anticipation!

  16. GeorgiaHawk says:

    I hope Okung and the serial drive killer play smart today.

  17. I know this is the era of “no-hitting” NFL football (flags will soon be put on offensive players in lieu of tackling, I expect), But today’s game is one where Kam Chancellor and KJ Wright should both be prepared to accept a 15-yard penalty and fine in order to put some hard licks on Pats early in the game. The Patriots won’t apologize for hitting us hard, and we can’t apologize for hitting them. They need to make Wes Welker and Aaron Hernandez very nervous about coming across the middle against our D. They must be hit early and hard. Ready Kam?

  18. ThickRich says:

    Can’t wait to go crazy at C-Link today. Lets go Hawks!

  19. Dukeshire says:

    Stevo – I actually agree with that. Set a tone early: you come over the middle, you pay a price. Ask Jason Witten, makes for a long day, and suddenly, receiver’s arms get a bit shorter.

  20. FleaFlicker says:

    Terry Bradshaw, on NFL Fox Sunday, just picked Seattle for the W. Amazing. Almost makes up for his years in a Stealers uniform.

  21. GooseRocks says:

    Redzone offense TDs, redzone defense FGs!

  22. I’d like Seattle to give Welker the Steve Smith treatment (from the NFC Championship game in 2005) where they bump the slot receiver at the line with an OLB and let Trufant play over top.

  23. Dukeshire says:

    I wouldn’t mind if they ran cover 1 in nickel, with Thomas rotating down to cover Welker. He’s one of the few Seahawks who can match his quickness. You hate to take him from playing his deep / middle, but I can see value in it today.

  24. DreadHawks says:

    All things aside RW MUST have a break out game in order to win!

  25. HeinieHunter says:

    Seattle is on the big stage today. Not the featured game but everyone will be watching the score of this game. Seahawks win or slide back into oblivion regardless of how close the score is. Pat’s win and its “I told you so” from coast to coast. We won’t be taken seriously again this year. We need respect!

  26. We’re facing two of the best teams in the NFL in the span of five days. This is pretty huge! We must go 1-1, but it’d be nice to go 2-0, and it would really suck to go oh-two-bbq.

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