By Mike DeVito
I am really looking forward to watching New England face off against Seattle and not just because of their Super Bowl history, but because these are two of the best coached teams in the NFL. Prime Time Sunday Night Football doesn’t get any better than this.
Patriots Keys to the Game:
- Stop the Seahawk’s Pass Rush.
Seattle is 3rd in the NFL right now with a total of 27 sacks on the season. Cliff Avril leads the way with 9 sacks with Frank Clark right behind him with 6.5. Michael Bennett is out so that will help the Pats, but the offensive line will still have a challenge on their hands.
One thing that plays into this is the strength of Seattle’s secondary which is10th in the NFL right now and they have Kam Chancellor coming back off an injury. With Chancellor and Bobby Wanger both having the ability to cover tight ends, Brady’s key guys might not be as open as they usually are. This allows the front seven more time to put pressure on the quarterback.
New England is at home so one thing Brady can use to his advantage is the hard count. Seattle thrives at home because it is so loud most offenses have to go on a silent count which makes it easier to get off the ball. Brady has a great hard count, (I hate to admit it but Brady has gotten me to jump off sides.) The more he changes it up and the more slows down the defensive line, the easier it will be for the offensive line to protect.
- Stop Wilson, Graham, Baldwin
These three guys are the Seahawk’s offense. Jimmy Graham has come on strong recently and has proven to be the major weapon the Seahawks got when they traded their center Max Unger to New Orleans for him in 2015. Russell Wilson is having a good year with already over 2,000 yards passing and the ability to make plays with his feet. Doug Baldwin is a great receiver and a tough competitor. Without Marshawn Lynch or Thomas Rawls, Seattle isn’t running the ball as well as they have in the past (30th in the NFL) so stopping those three guys is key.
Both head coaches have talked about the importance of being productive in this area. New England is a team that is great at not making mistakes and not turning the ball over. Seattle is one of the best in the league at forcing turnovers and giving an extra effort to rip the ball out of the runner’s hand. Winning the turnover battle is one of the most important statistics when it comes to winning football. New England needs to keep doing what they always do and play smart football.
Let’s Go Pats Nation! I’m calling a close game but New England coming out the other side victorious and improving to 8-1.
Mike DeVito (@MikeDeVito70) is a 9-year NFL veteran, playing with the New York Jets and Kansas City Chiefs. He is an alum of the University of Maine, color analyst for Black Bears football on TV and is a co-host on The Drive, weekdays 4pm-6pm on 92.9fm The Ticket and streaming live at DriveShowMaine.com. Follow us on Twitter, @DriveShowmaine and “Like Us” on Facebook, Drive Show Maine.