Note: I haven’t been commenting much on the Seattle Seahawks so far this season. With the year ending injuries to key defensive stars Cliff Avril, Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor, plus the problems with the offensive line and the running game, I have been, more or less, in “wait and see” mode as regards this […]Read the Rest →
Following their best overall game of the season, a 33-10 thumping of the Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome last Sunday, the Seattle Seahawks return home for a Week 11 NFC clash against the Minnesota Vikings and their Hall of Fame bound running back Adrian Peterson at CenturyLink Field. On paper this looks like a game Seattle should win easily. Consider the following:
- The Seahawks at 9-1 lead the NFC West Division and have the best record in the entire NFC. The Vikings, meanwhile, have won just two games while losing 7 and reside in last place in the NFC North.
- Seattle is the NFL’s number 1 rushing team averaging better than 153 yards per game. Marshawn Lynch is the league’s number 2 rusher with 871 yards and quarterback Russell Wilson has scampered for nearly 400 yards. Compare this to Minnesota’s rushing defense, which ranks 17th in the league (of 32 teams), and you can expect another 100 yard game from Lynch and whatever from Wilson is needed should there be pass protection breakdowns.
- On total defense (based on total yards allowed) The Vikings have the third worst defense in the league surrendering nearly 400 yards per game while the Seahawks have the third best giving up just 289. That Hawks defense will be going against a Vikings offense ranked 28th in the league. (Seattle is ranked 11th in total offense)
- The Seahawks have been without two and sometimes three of their offensive line starters for most of the season. For the poor Vikings it looks as if ALL of these starters (left tackle Russell Okung, right tackle Brenno Giacomini and center Max Unger) will be back on the field. In addition it is very likely that Hawks fans will get their first glimpses of the dynamic and versatile receiver/kick returner Percy Harvin who looks to be fully recovered from the hip surgery he had in August. Also defensive lineman Red Bryant should be back after missing a game with a concussion. None of this bodes well for the Vikings.
- This game will be at “The Clink” where Seattle has the best home field advantage in this or any universe. Whoever the architect is that designed CenturyLink should get a free 12th man jersey for the amazing crowd acoustics he had built in to the stadium. The rabid Hawks fans have contributed to 12 consecutive home wins and Russell Wilson is undefeated for his entire career there.
Of course the Vikings will have their All World running back Adrian Peterson, who last year rushed for over 2,000 yards and torched the Hawks for 182 at this very stadium, though Seattle still won that game 30-20. (This year Peterson is not running at last year’s pace but is still among the league’s top rushers.) Minnesota also has some excellent defensive players, most notably veteran All Pro defensive end Jared Allen, as well as the league’s top punt return team. But regardless of these assets, it would seem that the Vikings are overmatched for this game and are destined to receive a worse beating than last year. The bookies agree, favoring Seattle by nearly two touchdowns. As I said at the outset, on paper this is a game the Hawks should win easily thus allowing them to go into their bye week with an NFC best 10-1 record.
All of this brings to mind something an old coach I once had used to tell me:
“Son,” he used to say, “the game ain’t played on paper!”
As anyone who saw Seattle’s recent game against the then winless Tampa Bay Buccaneers knows, my old coach has a point.
Seattle will win this one easily, perhaps even matching the 2 TD point spread, PROVIDED they come ready to play on Sunday. I can assure you the Vikings are preparing to bring their best effort. A win over Seattle, at “The Clink” would make their season.
If the Seahawks stick to their “each week we need to go 1-0 while staying in the moment” mentality, that won’t happen. I think that this team turned a corner last week in Atlanta, and can now smell that home field advantage all the way to the Super Bowl. I don’t think they will squander this opportunity.
I expect Seattle to run right through the Vikings and on into the bye week.
Copyright © 2013
By Mark Arnold
All Rights Reserved