Originally written on 60 Max Power O  |  Last updated 11/19/14
We are more familiar with the teams in the AFC; Jets, Dolphins, Bills, Steelers, Broncos, Ravens and Texans, and even some in the NFC East Giants and Eagles, but we have to do some digging to get some information on the team playing in the “Emerald City”.

Before we look at the team, let’s look at the Seahawks’ secret weapon – Century Link Stadium. The Seahawks are 3-2 in the all of a sudden tough NFC West and have the benefit of their 12th MAN in Century Link, as it filled to capacity (67,000) with crazy Seahawks fans who can create mistakes, false starts, wrong routes and enough confusion, it should be worth more than the traditional 3 points spread teams get for playing at home.  This is evident by leading the league with an average of 2.36 false starts per game since the stadium opened in 2005, according to NFL Statistics.  It also creates a decibel level loud enough (112dB) to prevent people standing next to each other to clearly hear what that person is saying.

For the other parts of the team, the defense is the strength, as they currently are #1 in Total Yards/Game (258.6 yds/gm), 3rd against the run (67 yds/gm), 4th against the pass (192 yds/gm), 2nd in points allowed (14.0/gm), 5th in sacks (16), 21st in interceptions (3),  1st in forced fumbles (9). 

You would think with stats like this, you would have a standout, like the Ravens do in Ed Reed and Ray Lewis, but here there are no real superstars on this side of the ball as four different players have led the team in tackles in four of the five games played.  The only person to lead in two of the five games is strong side linebacker KJ Wright, who leads the team in tackles with 35, tied for 39th in the league.  To show the balance there are four other players within 12 tackles of Wright. 

The front seven of the base 4-3 scheme have been getting pressure from various sources as six different people have at least sack, led by right defensive ends Chris Clemons and rookie (1st round pick from West Virginia) Bruce Irvin who have 5.5 and 4.5 sacks respectively.  One reason helping them get to the QB’s is the ability of their very physical play in cornerbacks 6’3” Richard Sherman, 6’4” Brandon Brower and safeties 6’3” Kam Chancellor and the runt of the secondary 5’9” Earl Thomas, who can stop receivers at the line of scrimmage not letting them get into their routes.  This should cause Tom Brady and the Patriots similar issues this weekend, unless WR Wes Welker and RB Danny Woodhead can dart in and under the size in the secondary. 

Offensively, the team relies heavily on the running game (NFL rank 7th at 140 yrd/gm), then the passing attack (31st at 147 yrd/gm). 

The main focus of the rushing attack is led by RB Marshawn Lynch, who is 3rd in the league in rushing (508 yards).  His punishing style and yards after contact make teams focus on him and the need of gang tackling.  Patriots linebackers Brandon Spikes and Jerod Mayo and safety Patrick Chung will have to find ways to slow him down and make sure they can limit the extra yards.  If there was ever a day to show sound tackling technique it would be today, because anything else could lead to 6 points this Lynch’s ability

Surprising rookie QB Russell Wilson (3rd round pick), has been somewhat of Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde as he has shown flashes of promise (63.5 completion percentage), but he also needs to correct his mistakes as he is tied for 6th with 6 interceptions.  He extends play with his feet as he can cause some havoc with his strong arm.  Wilson a former minor league baseball player completed his degree and then transferred to Wisconsin for last year of eligibility.  Last season he saw his NFL stock rise by leading the Badgers to the Rose Bowl and an 11-2 season and set passing records. 

There has been talk if Wilson cannot curb the turnovers that the team may turn the keys to the offense to the off season acquisition Matt Flynn (signed from Green Bay on a 3 yr $19.5 million contract with $10 million guarantee). 

The outcome of this game will come down to how much pressure the Seahawks can get on Brady, like they did with Aaron Rodgers a couple of weeks ago (sacking him 8 times).  If they can do that and limit the running game the Pats have developed, along with offensively getting Lynch in open areas with one on one plays, allowing the Seahawks to control the clock and their 12th MAN, they could pull this one out.

If this game was in Foxboro, I would not give Seattle a chance, but at Century Link and how the Pats have played this year, this could be a nail biting afternoon of football for New England fans.

 
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