October 14, 2012

Patriots face big challenge with Seahawks' 12th man

Seattle's home crowd might be the loudest in the league

New England Patriots (3-2) @ Seattle Seahawks (3-2) 
The Seahawks are a surprising 3-2, even though one of their victories came after a controversial call against the Green Bay Packers on Monday Night Football. The Seahawks home-field advantage might be the best advantage in the league because of the overwhelming volume they reach.  This could be a problem for the Patriots because in comparison Gillette Stadium is like a library during home games. To have the best chance at winning the Patriots have to come out strong in the first quarter to silence the crowd. The Seahawks are 2-0 this season at home and in the past two seasons they have been 11-7 at home (including this season). 

Besides the decibel level of the crowd, the Seahawks have the number one defense in the NFL in total yards given up.  Against the Packers, the Seahawks had eight sacks in the first half.  Tom Brady is not as quick as Aaron Rodgers and with a banged up Logan Mankins, the Patriots will have to focus their effort on running the ball.  Stevan Ridley should get plenty of chances to throw some body punches to the stout defense.  If the running game doesn't produce, then the chance of winning will be stacked against Brady and the Pats. At the same time, do not be surprised if the Patriots shock the Seahawks by starting in the no huddle and pass, pass, pass. Aaron Hernandez made the trip with the team which could mean he will play.  This strategy could also tire the big men on the Seahawks D. Also, keep an eye on Chris Clemons and Bruce Irvin when the Patriots try to pass.  Clemons has 5.5 sacks and Irvin has 4.5.  Irvin has been one of the best speed rushers in the league this year.

On offense, the Seahawks boast an explosive running game starring Marshawn Lynch (508 yards) and quarterback Russell Wilson, who will challenge the linebackers to stay with him.  Wilson does not have a ton of talent to throw to at receiver.  The top three are Golden Tate, Sidney Rice and Braylon Edwards.  All three have shown flashes of being special but this season they have not been called on to carry the offense. Rice (6'4") and Edwards (6'3") are big and physical which the corners for the Patriots are not.  Tate is the size of Deion Branch and has the ability to run after the catch.  The Patriots will be challenged but overall have the talent and superior coaching staff to win this away game. Patriots 31, Seahawks 20

Week Six Picks
Last week: 9-4  Season: 43-33
Steelers over Titans
Bengals over Browns
Falcons over Raiders
Dolphins over Rams
Colts over Jets
Eagles over Lions
Buccaneers over Chiefs
Ravens over Cowboys
Cardinals over Bills
49ers over Giants
Vikings over Redskins
Packers over Texans
Broncos over Chargers
BYES: Bears, Saints, Panthers, Jaguars

Ninkovich and the defense need to keep it going