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[author image=”https://www.the3pointconversion.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/pic-copy.jpg” ]Raphael Haynes, Atlanta, GA @mrcontroversy21[/author]
The last time we saw these two teams meet, it came down to the last seconds with an interception by New England Patriots’ cornerback Malcolm Butler on Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson in Super Bowl 49. Today, the Seahawks go in to Sunday’s night game with a record of 5-2-1. Dealing with injuries all year, they seem to be getting healthy at the right time. Wilson is finally looking more like himself and the defense will get back a key player in their secondary in Kam Chancellor. The Patriots have kicked in that special gear only they know about, hitting on all strides with a 7-1 record. Tom Brady has been superb and show no signs of slowing down. The defense has been playing great also and they look like their usual Super Bowl contending selves.
Keys To The Game
The Seahawks haven’t looked like themselves in the first seven games of the season. The offense has a tendency of picking it up in the second half of the season which we saw last week. It’s imperative that they start fast and get the offense going. The running game doesn’t have to be stellar but they need to gain positive yards and keep the Patriots’ defense honest. They will be looking to corral Wilson so the wide receivers has to get off their breaks and get open. Kam Chancellor will be returning from injury and will have big responsibility in his first game back. He should be shadowing Rob Gronkowski and if he can slow him down then this will propel the defense to be able to stop the rest.
On the Patriots side, their defense has to be ready to contain Wilson and not let him get free to make plays out the pocket but not let him get time in the pocket as well. With Russell extending plays and the receivers changing their routes, the cornerbacks will be at a disadvantage trying to cover receivers for seven or more seconds. So it’s a must to stop the big plays against the Seahawks. The Seahawks rarely have methodical drives, so if they can limit the big plays then the Patriots will put their offense in great shape to win the game. On offense, control the clock by playing clock control football. To do this effectively, they will have to run the ball efficiently and get Julian Edelman going. This will help set up the home run play which Seattle doesn’t give up often.
The X-Factor for the Seahawks is Jimmy Graham. Although the Patriots’ defense goes up against a good tight end in practice, they haven’t played against one with Wilson as the quarterback. Graham can change the dynamic of the game by stretching the defense. His speed will not only give him advantages, it will create space for the wide receivers and running backs out the backfield to get open.
The X-Factor for the Patriots is Patrick Chung. Chung will be key based on the threat of the big play. Not only does he have to be the last line of defense when Wilson looks for Doug Baldwin, he has to help the linebackers with Graham’s speed. He also has to follow Wilson’s eyes but not get caught cheating when he decides to scramble and leave someone open. If Chung controls the middle of the field and keep the large gains to a minimal, the Patriots will walk out with a win.
Prediction: This is the time when Seattle starts to get in that groove where they play flawless football. The Patriots seem unbeatable and has no weaknesses. If the tight ends for New England doesn’t play well the wide receivers won’t be a factor against the physical cornerbacks of Seattle. Seahawks win 27-23.