Pats Preview: No Politics Just Football
We’re spoiled here in New England. You have cities like Atlanta and Cincinnati who are represented in most of the four major sports leagues, but haven’t been home to a champion in decades. Meanwhile, we’ve seen the Celtics, Bruins, Red Sox and Patriots win ten rings since the turn of the century. There have been bad seasons too, and late playoff losses, but winning is something that we are used to. Even
though it was less than two seasons ago, it feels like there hasn’t been a Boston area victory parade in a long time. Losing sticks with you a lot longer than winning, and that is the situation the Seahawks face in their first match up against the Patriots since losing in Super Bowl XLIX.
So many key faces have changed with these two teams since that memorable game. The Patriots have lost Shane Vereen, Vince Wilfork, Chandler Jones, and Jamie Collins. The last three all past defensive pro-bowlers. The Seahawks no longer have their most effective offensive piece in running back Marshawn Lynch. With that said, this will be a quarterback rematch between Tom Brady and Russel Wilson. Richard Sherman and his Legion of Boom get the task of covering Gronk, Edelman, and Amendola. The Super Bowl was the breakout game in Malcom Butler’s career, where he intercepted the ball on the goal line. You have to imagine that the Seahawks players who were around for that devastating loss will be looking for revenge this week.
The Seattle defensive unit is still outstanding. Just like two years ago, they are fast, physical, and loud. In terms of yards allowed, the Seahawks have been good, but not great. They give up on average 332.6 yards per game, which ranks 9 th in the NFL. They hold their opponents to under 100 rushing yards per game, and under 250 yards through the air. The Pats are ahead of all of those marks, so the two units each will have a very tough week ahead of them. Seattle has allowed the 3 rd least points in the league, trailing only New England and Minnesota.
The Seahawks offense might be another story. They have some very good players still. Dual-threat Russel Wilson has been decent. He has receiving threats Doug Baldwin and Jimmy Graham, giving him multiple above average targets. Last week, Graham made two one handed touchdown grabs. The real story and problem of the Seahawks has been their run offense. Earlier in the season, starter Thomas Rawls suffered a leg injury and has not played in quite a few weeks. Their substitutes, led by Christine Michael have not had the best luck, and a lot of the blame goes towards a weak offensive line. They have done a good job protecting on passing plays, but even when Wilson runs, they have not allowed much success. At the halfway point of the Seahawks season, Wilson’s 54 rushing yards are less than 10% of what he was able to accomplish last season.
The Patriots are still seen as the best team in the league. Coming off of a bye week, this Patriots team is well rested. As of Wednesday, the Patriots do not have any new injuries to report, and the extra rest should give them an advantage. On the other side of things, the Seahawks have defensive end Michael Bennett and running back Travis Rawls have already been ruled out for Sunday night’s game. This is certainly a matchup that cannot be missed. When the Patriots offense is on the field, there should be a very competitive matchup between one of the league’s best offenses, and one of the most efficient defensive units. However, the matchup is not going to be as close when Seattle has the ball, as the Patriots above average defense should follow the NFL trend of limiting the Seahawks ability to run the ball. I would not be surprised to see the Seahawks lead at some point during the game, but until they can show significant fault with Brady leading the team, it is near impossible to go against the Pats.
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