Tag Archives: Pro Bowl

Rams/Seahawks Preview

26 Dec
rams preview 2015 #2

Photo Credit: Seahawks.com

Matchup: St. Louis Rams at Seattle Seahawks

Site: CenturyLink Field (Seattle, Washington)

Kickoff: 1:25pm

The Seahawks wrap up the home portion of their 2015 season on Sunday against a familiar December opponent. Seattle concludes their home slate against the division rival St. Louis Rams for the fifth time in the last six years. The Seahawks are 9-5 and have a playoff berth already wrapped up. The Rams are at the tail end of yet another mediocre season under head coach Jeff Fisher with a record of 6-8. Seattle leads the all-time series 21-14 but the Rams bested the Seahawks in week one, coming back to defeat the Kam Chancellor-less squad in overtime 34-31. 15 weeks later the Seahawks are a completely different team and the Rams have added a dynamic force on their offensive unit. Here is what I will be watching out for on Sunday.

Look for the Seahawks offense to try to mirror what it accomplished last week against Cleveland. Christine Michael will likely be the lead back and will see anywhere from 15 to 20 carries. The talk of the town has been the phenomenal play of quarterback Russell Wilson and wide receiver Doug Baldwin. If Wilson can continue to avoid turning the ball over I believe our offense will put the team in good position to win. On defense my number one focus will be to watch how well our starters match the speed of the Rams offense. On the ground the combo of Todd Gurley and Tavon Austin has combined for 1,413 yards and 13 touchdowns. St. Louis likes to use Austin in the backfield and on end arounds so the Seahawks must be quick on the outside. The presence of Kenny Britt at receiver also equips St. Louis with an explosive downfield threat. Richard Sherman will likely cover Britt on Sunday. If the Seahawks can hold the Rams to under 300 yards of total offense it will be a successful day.

As I previously mentioned, the Rams have a weapon on the offensive side of the ball that was not available when these two teams faced off back in September. He is the guy I will keep my focus on more than any other Rams offensive player. Since his debut in week 3, running back Todd Gurley is on pace for 1,200 yards, has been named to the Pro Bowl, and is the front runner to win offensive rookie of the year. He is the closest thing to Marshawn Lynch that has come into the league in recent years and he has the talent to make even the toughest run defenses look silly. I believe Gurley will see at least 20 carries and if the Rams find success in the running game they will continue to feed him the ball. Getting solid production out of Gurley in this game will take a ton of pressure off of quarterback Case Keenum.

The mystery of the St. Louis Rams comes from their defense. Over the past few seasons the Rams have been hyped to be potential contenders for the NFC West crown. I believe a lot of this hype comes from the talent they possess on the defensive side of the ball. Yet somehow the pool of talent cannot seem to band together to help the team win football games. They remind me of the pre-Jim Harbaugh San Francisco 49ers; they have the talent but it is not being utilized correctly. The Rams defense will be represented in the Pro Bowl by defensive tackle/interior pass rusher Aaron Donald who leads the team with 11 sacks and also has the fourth most tackles on the defense with 64. The middle of the defense is anchored by veteran James Laurinaitis but the secondary is what I will have my eye on. Safety Mark Barron leads the team in tackles and cornerback Janoris Jenkins has recorded 14 passes defensed. The Rams other starting cornerback also has 14 passes defensed but has also done more on the stat sheet. My X-Factor Player to Watch for the St. Louis Rams is cornerback Trumaine Johnson. In just his fourth season, Johnson has emerged as one of the Rams best players. This season he has already shattered his personal best for interceptions in a single season with 6. He has intercepted a pass in each of his last three games and one of his interceptions occurred against the Seahawks in week one. Johnson will likely shadow the red-hot Doug Baldwin and with the trust Russell Wilson has had going to Baldwin over the past 5 weeks, particularly on third down, Johnson will absolutely see opportunities to make an impact in this game.

Random Thoughts: College navy jerseys and pants for the Seahawks. The Rams will wear white jerseys and will likely wear navy pants… Chris Myers and Ronde Barber will lead the broadcast on FOX… The referee for this week’s game is John Hussey… The gameday theme is fan appreciation which means the Seahawks will be giving away a wide array of prizes to the fans in attendance. In all the years I’ve been a season ticket holder I’ve only won something on fan appreciation day once; a 12 car flag in 2008… The Steve Largent Award will also be presented during pregame festivities. Russell Wilson won it last year and it is possible he could win it again… It’s disappointing this final regular season home game will be a goodbye to everyone I sit around until August of next year. I’ve been so used to having home playoff games to look forward to the past couple of years that this year feels slightly abnormal… If the Seahawks win they will have reached the 10-win mark. If that’s the case the Seahawks will have won at least 10 games in four consecutive seasons. What an amazing feat that would be.

Seahawks Playoff Outlook: The Arizona Cardinals clinched the NFC West last week, meaning at best the Seahawks can be the #5 seed. With a win over the Rams the Seahawks will maintain their position as the #5 seed. The Seahawks can clinch the #5 seed with a win and a Minnesota Vikings loss. The Seahawks will fall to the #6 seed if they lose and the Vikings win. Here are this week’s other games with NFC playoff implications. Teams to note are bolded.

Washington (7-7) at Philadelphia (6-8) (Game to be played Saturday night)

Green Bay (10-4) at Arizona (12-2)

New York Giants (6-8) at Minnesota (9-5)

Prediction: The Rams have not won in Seattle since my 15th birthday. That draught will continue on Sunday. The game will be tied at halftime due to a strong first half by Todd Gurley but Russell Wilson will come out of the intermission on fire, throwing for touchdowns on our first two second half possessions. The Seahawks will get to 10-5 and will send the 12’s home happy one last time this season.

Seahawks 27, Rams 16

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Review: Seahawks 20, Rams 13

31 Dec

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Well it wasn’t the prettiest game but the Seahawks got the job done. Seattle defeated the St. Louis Rams 20-13 in the regular season and home finale on Sunday. The Seahawks finish the regular season 11-5 and finish 8-0 at home for the first time since 2005. The Rams fall to 7-8-1 and finish in third place in the NFC West this season. The game was very close throughout and to be honest I left the stadium more frustrated and worried than happy that we won. I am looking at the pros and cons of this game and trying to shed some light on what needs to change against Washington next week. Here is what I took out of Sunday’s victory.

Sweezy’s Struggles: The Rams out-sacked the Seahawks 6-0 on Sunday and a lot of the Rams success getting to quarterback Russell Wilson came up the middle. At least four of their sacks came after dominating Seahawks right guard J.R. Sweezy. One of the guys who sits in front of me got my attention that St. Louis was using Chris Long in designed interior pass rushes, predominantly against Sweezy. Sweezy struggled throughout the majority of the game and Russell Wilson was under constant pressure. If Sweezy is slated to start next week against the Redskins, I am very scared that London Fletcher will be able to exploit the sub-par play of J.R. Sweezy. The Seahawks offensive line has not looked this perplexed all season and for the majority of this game they looked like the Seahawks offensive lines of 2008 and 2009 where they could not get the running game going and supply enough time for the quarterback to throw. I hope that John Moffitt will be available next week to start at the right guard spot. If Sweezy gets the start again next week, the Seahawks may have a difficult time moving the ball and scoring points.

Wilson Ties Manning: With Russell Wilson’s touchdown pass to Michael Robinson in the third quarter, he tied Peyton Manning for the most touchdown passes by a rookie with 25. As incredible of an accomplishment as this is, it is too bad because Wilson had a chance to break Manning’s record. On the Seahawks final scoring drive of the game with less than three minutes left, the Seahawks had the ball on the St. Louis 1-yard line. Wilson ran a play-action fake and scrambled to the left into the endzone for the touchdown. Before crossing into the endzone he pumped because he saw Golden Tate and Doug Baldwin both covered so he decided to run it in. You could tell Russell wanted the record but settled for the rush touchdown when no passing options were available. I for one would have liked to see a touchdown pass. I can guarantee Wilson thought the same way but at the end of the day Wilson ran it in, gave the Seahawks a 7 point lead and held on to win the game, which is much better than any individual accolade.

Defense Needs To Improve Drastically: The Seahawks put virtually no pressure on Sam Bradford until the final drive of the game. The Rams also did a good job converting third downs and Steven Jackson was able to bust out for some significantly good sized runs. The silver lining of the day is that we only gave up 13 points and we were able to stop two St. Louis drives inside the 5-yard line and the Rams had to settle for Greg Zuerlein field goals. Next week the Seahawks cannot afford to have a defensive performance like they did today because the Redskins will rip us apart in the running game. I was hoping to see Bruce Irvin get more involved but he was a non-factor. The stars of the game on defense belong to Bobby Wagner for recording 10 tackles and Richard Sherman who picked off his 8th pass of the season. Sherman becomes the first player in NFL history to have 8 interceptions, three forced fumbles, one sack, and 20 passes defensed in a single season. If the Seahawks do not make it to Super Bowl XLVII, I fully expect Sherman to make the NFC pro bowl roster because those numbers are definitely worthy of a trip to Hawaii.

Rams Show Potential For The Future: Although the Rams finish with a losing record once again, they have quietly shown flashes of what NFL fans should expect out of them in the coming years. In 2013 Jeff Fisher will be in his second year in St. Louis and will have had more time to put together the roster he wants to build. The Rams have two first round picks in the upcoming NFL Draft and the young nucleus they have on both sides of the ball will continue to get better. In particular I look at the way their offensive line played in a hostile environment today and I think they will make Sam Bradford a pro bowl caliber quarterback very soon. Steven Jackson’s contract status is up in the air and it would not be surprising to see Jackson and the Rams part ways after the season. With Daryl Richardson and Isaiah Pead in the backfield the Rams may be looking at a couple of rising stars. On defense, Chris Long, James Laurinaitis, Cortland Finnegan, and the emerging Janoris Jenkins look like a solid core of defensive players. If they can add another big-time player on the defensive side of the ball over the offseason, St. Louis could challenge for a playoff spot. The Rams proved this year that they can compete against all the teams in the NFC West and were only a couple of losses away from being contenders for the playoffs this year. I still think Seattle and San Francisco are the royalty of the division but the St. Louis Rams could be serious contenders for at least a wild-card berth as soon as next season.

Random Thoughts: I believe the Seahawks were screwed out of 14 points this week. I did not see holding on Anthony McCoy on Zach Miller’s touchdown pass in the second quarter and I thought the 44-yard pass to Doug Baldwin in the fourth quarter should have stood because I did not see holding on the play by Breno Giacomini. The officiating as a whole was not very good this week. Shame on you Jeff Triplette… The Seahawks wore blue jerseys and blue pants this week… Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid rose the 12th Man flag this week… Russell Wilson was presented with the 2012 Steve Largent Award. My guess is that he will be a repeat winner no question about it… I was extremely disappointed about the level of excitement in the stands this week. I noted at halftime on Facebook that it felt like the intensity level was less than half of what it was last week against San Francisco. There were possible scenarios out of our control that could have given us a higher seed and a division championship if we had won. That alone should have been enough motivation for the fans to go all out but overall the noise was abnormally now. Very disappointing… I underdressed for the first time this season. I should have worn another coat under my jersey, worn gloves, and brought hand warmers. Either those things or maybe I should have drank more to get a warm beer belly going… The pregame giveaway was ponchos. What a ridiculous giveaway especially on a day where the skies were clear. I bought Mark, one of the guys who sits in front of me, a beer before the game as a token of appreciation for dealing with the behavior of my guest last week. He was extremely grateful… Good news. Mark and his friend Mike renewed their seats for the 2013 season so I will be sitting behind them for a fourth straight year which will be fun… All the season ticket holders around me made a promise that we would be back in three weeks for the NFC Championship game against the Minnesota Vikings. Let’s all pray we will play for a trip to the Super Bowl at home against Minnesota!

Up Next: With San Francisco’s win over Arizona, the Seahawks are locked in to the 5th seed in the NFC. They head to the nation’s capital next week to take on the NFC East champion Washington Redskins on Sunday afternoon.

I hope to have my preview of the Seahawks wild-card playoff game against Washington up by late Saturday morning. Also, don’t be surprised to see me hop on the blog later on in the week to share my thoughts about practice leading up to next week’s game. Go Hawks!

Rams/Seahawks Preview

29 Dec

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Matchup: St. Louis Rams at Seattle Seahawks

Site: CenturyLink Field (Seattle, Washington)

Kickoff: 1:25pm

The Seahawks are on a roll. There is no denying that. After winning their last 4 games by a combined score of 173-47, the Seahawks look to continue their impressive streak before heading into the NFL playoffs. To wrap up the regular season the Seahawks host the St. Louis Rams. The Seahawks are 10-5 and are trying to get to 11 wins for the first time since they won 13 games in 2005. The Rams are 7-7-1 and a win this week would solidify their first winning season since 2003. This is the last regular season game of the season and there are a lot of different playoff scenarios in play on Sunday that will determine where the Seahawks will play in January. For now however, our focus is on St. Louis and this is what I’ll be looking forward to this Sunday.

After putting up at least 42 points in each of our last three games, I have no worry that our offense will be firing on all cylinders especially at home this week. Our main focus should be to keep our guys healthy for the postseason. Russell Wilson is two touchdown passes away from breaking the NFL record for most touchdown passes by a rookie, set by Peyton Manning in 1998. If Wilson breaks the record and the Seahawks are up by a substantial margin by the end of the third quarter, we will see Matt Flynn get some playing time in order to keep Wilson fresh for January. The same goes for Marshawn Lynch. I think we will see a good amount of Robert Turbin at running back this week. Keeping the offense healthy is the most important along the offensive line. Four of our five offensive linemen have started every game this season and having one or more of them get hurt one week before the playoffs would be a major blow. My player to watch this week is Doug Baldwin. He caught two touchdowns last week against San Francisco and he is seeing more playing time. With Sidney Rice nursing a knee injury and the playoffs right around the corner, we might see more of our depth at receiver which includes Baldwin.

At home the defense is always dominant. Against a solid but average St. Louis offensive line it is very real to think we can put a large amount of pressure on Rams quarterback Sam Bradford. Richard Sherman will be available this week after winning his appeal for performance enhancing drugs and his presence gives the Seahawks defense a confidence boost and his swagger and positive attitude seems to have a reverberating effect on the rest of the defense. My guy to watch on defense this week is Bruce Irvin. On an episode of Michael Robinson’s “Real Robinson Report” from rookie mini-camp in May, Irvin was asked how many sacks he would have in 2012. “I won’t give a specific number because I don’t want to jinx myself but I will say it will be at least double digits” was Irvin’s answer to the question. With one game left in the regular season Irvin sits at 8 sacks, two away from his preseason prediction and goal. Irvin will be especially hungry this week in order to reach double digit sacks. I would expect to see a lot of him this week and a lot more of him on first and second down. Irvin has three games this season with two sacks or more; his last coming in week 10 at home against the New York Jets so it is a definite possibility he will get to 10 sacks on the season this week.

It is hard to predict special teams plays but last week Red Bryant and Richard Sherman made a blocked field goal and touchdown return look easy. I would not be surprised at all to see something big happen in the special teams game this week. If this is to happen, look at pro bowler Leon Washington. Washington has only one kick returned for a touchdown this season but the Rams have had a history of special teams blunders in Seattle, most recently a blocked punt returned for a touchdown last season; blocked by Doug Baldwin, returned by Michael Robinson. Washington could be a dark horse factor this week and field position will be very important for both teams in this game.

Although the St. Louis Rams are 7-7-1 they have one big consistent strength this season. That is their play against NFC West opponents. The Rams have a 4-0-1 record against NFC West rivals this year and although they haven’t been dominant, the consistent factor in these games has been the play of their defense. The X-factor for St. Louis this week is cornerback Janoris Jenkins. The rookie from North Alabama has had a strong second half of the season. In his last 5 games Jenkins has recorded 25 tackles and three interceptions including one interception last week against Tampa Bay. One other St. Louis defender to keep an eye on is Chris Long. Long is always a consistent worry to opposing teams because of his ability to put pressure on the quarterback, however with Russell Okung playing his best football combined with Russell Wilson’s elusiveness, I do not see Long playing a big role in the St. Louis defense this week.

I am excited to see Greg Zuerlein kick for the Rams this week. The rookie kicker nicknamed “Legatron” is having a strong season and I for one am pumped to see him attempt a long field goal. I do not doubt he can nail a far field goal in Seattle and if he lines up for a 50+ yard field goal I think he will make it.

Congratulations to the Seahawks players participating in this week’s game who will be representing the NFC at the pro bowl next month. The representatives are Marshawn Lynch, Earl Thomas, Max Unger, Russell Okung and Leon Washington. Let’s all hope these guys will get the opportunity to skip the pro bowl because they will be preparing for the Super Bowl in New Orleans!

Random Thoughts: The gameday theme this week is fan appreciation. This game is always fun because the Seahawks give out a ton of random stuff. I have only won one thing on fan appreciation day since becoming a season ticket holder; a 12th Man car flag in 2008… The Seahawks are also dubbing this game a “blue-out.” They are asking all fans to wear blue to this week’s game (in case you don’t already). If you are going to the game this week, wear blue!… Sunday’s halftime show is the annual wiener dog races. I love this halftime show because at least one dog always seems to break loose and run all around the field which is incredibly amusing… Chris Myers and Tim Ryan have the call for FOX this week, their first Seahawks broadcast since the Arizona game 3 weeks ago… Not confirmed yet but it looks like Jeff Triplette will be the referee this week… I am taking by friend Dylan to this week’s game. He was supposed to go to the Patriots game with me but had to reschedule because of school obligations. Sorry D, but I don’t think this week’s game will be as exciting as the New England game… This is most likely the final home game of the season this week. Unless the pieces fall in our favor and Arizona beats San Francisco, this will be the last time I see everyone around me until August which is always sad… I will definitely be scoreboard watching on Sunday. My first priority is the Arizona/San Francisco game and I do not expect the Cardinals to hold the lead for any amount of time in that game. My second priority is the Green Bay/Minnesota game as a Vikings win and a Cardinals win would give us the division title and a first-round bye in the playoffs… Even though everyone around me at the San Francisco game did not take offense to the actions of my guest last week, I still feel I owe them a huge apology for what happened. Maybe I’ll even offer to buy a round of beers also. I’m still embarrassed but I can guarantee myself or my guest will not have a run in with security or alcohol enforcement this week.

Prediction: The Seahawks will end the season with their 3rd best regular season record in team history. The scoring will not be as dominant as past weeks but it will still be very impressive and will leave the 12th Man extremely confident heading to the playoffs. The Seahawks will win but the 49ers will win so we will settle for the 5th seed in the NFC playoffs. By 9pm Sunday night, the Seahawks will be prepping for a trip to Washington D.C. to play the Redskins in an NFC wild-card playoff.

Seahawks 38, Rams 14

Check back for my review of the regular season finale with the Rams on Monday afternoon. I will also share a brief mini-preview of the Seahawks NFC wild-card playoff game. Enjoy the game folks. Go Hawks!

Review: Dolphins 24, Seahawks 21

26 Nov

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Sunday’s loss to the Miami Dolphins was once again another frustrating, nail-biting heartbreaker. After an unfortunate penalty which negated an interception, the inability to put together a game winning drive and the inability to stop the Dolphins when it mattered the most, the Seahawks fell to Miami 24-21. In this review post, you will probably get the feeling that I am just venting about our constant struggles on the road but I think that is acceptable. Here are my thoughts and frustrations about Sunday’s game.

We Couldn’t Catch a Break I: The Seahawks were called for 10 penalties totaling 59 yards on Sunday. Most of these penalties were mental mistakes such as false starts and delay of game. There was also a couple holding calls and one personal foul penalty (which I will discuss in part II). Of course penalties are always a big problem but this week it felt like the penalty yardage added on to our plays were the difference in whether we converted for a first down or not. A lot of our penalties were called in the first half and we seemed to do a good job making adjustments for the second half, but unfortunately it was not enough in the end. With another huge road test next week, these simple mistakes need to be corrected in a big hurry.

We Couldn’t Catch a Break II: The toughest penalty the Seahawks had in this game came with 8:13 left in the fourth quarter. After forcing Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill out of the pocket, while scrambling to his right he threw a pass across his body which was intercepted by linebacker Bobby Wagner in the endzone for a turnover. However, on the play, safety Earl Thomas came rushing in towards Tannehill and after Tannehill released the ball Thomas could not stop his speed and momentum, jumping and crashing into Tannehill. Thomas was flagged for roughing the passer/blow to the head and the Dolphins got the ball first and goal at the three-yard line. Daniel Thomas punched it in for a Miami touchdown on the next play. Without those points, Seattle would have held on for the win. Here are my feelings about the penalty on Thomas. According to the rules no defensive player can make contact with the quarterback’s head with any body part. Unfortunately, Thomas was running at full speed and could not avoid crashing into Tannehill. What is Thomas supposed to do in a situation like this? Running that fast, it is nearly impossible to not run in to the quarterback. One could say Thomas could have just rammed into the quarterback with his shoulder but the play happened so bang-bang that you have virtually no time to think about how to try to stop him. Technically Thomas did commit a punishable foul, but I think the rule concerning running into the quarterback should be examined before the 2013 season.

Just Like In Detroit, Defense Couldn’t Step Up When It Mattered Most: After failing to put together a game-winning drive of their own, the Seahawks punted back to the Dolphins with 1:32 remaining in the fourth quarter. The Dolphins drive started at their own 10-yard line. In a minute and a half, Miami drove 65 yards to their own 25-yard line and then kicked the game winning field goal. The Seahawks defense continues to let me and the rest of the 12th Man down in crucial situations on the road. How can a unit so talented give up so many yards in such a short period of time at the end of the game? The Seahawks gave up 435 total yards of offense to the Dolphins, which is usually enough to lose a game just like what happened today. Unfortunately for the Seahawks, things do not get any easier with Chicago coming up next week.

Silver Linings: For all of the frustration and suffering that occurred on Sunday, here are some positive things I took out of the Dolphins game. After getting off to a shaky start, Russell Wilson settled down and completed 16 consecutive passes at one point in the game. If he had completed 17, he would have tied Warren Moon for the Seahawks record for consecutive passes completed in a game. Wilson ended the day 21/27 for 224 yards and 2 touchdowns. Wilson continues to improve but still is showing growing pains on the road. Next week Wilson and the Seahawks offense cannot afford to get off to a slow start… Jon Ryan had a great game punting this week. Ryan had 7 punts for a total of 280 yards (a 40 yard average). Six of these punts landed inside the 20-yard line. Ryan continues to show why he deserves to be the NFC punter in the pro bowl this season… Leon Washington tied Cleveland’s Josh Cribbs for the most kickoff return touchdowns in NFL history. He returned a kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown which gave the Seahawks a 21-14 fourth quarter lead. One more kickoff return touchdown and Washington has the record.

Random Thoughts: The Dolphins had scored a total of 10 points in their previous two games. They scored 17 points in a 9-minute span in the fourth quarter on Sunday. Simply embarrassing… I don’t think I have seen a smaller crowd for an NFL game this season. There were TONS of empty orange seats at Sun Life Stadium on Sunday. No question I am putting bandwagon status on Miami Dolphins fans… Chris Myers and Tim Ryan I am begging you guys. Please go back to broadcasters training. It is turning into a fun game to see how many times you can screw up the play-by-play and commentary any given week… According to the Seahawks Twitter account, the team landed in Seattle Sunday night and immediately started preliminary preparations on next weekend’s game against Chicago. I like the idea. We may need all of the prep time we can get… The Seahawks wore blue jerseys and grey pants this week; the same combination we wore when we beat Carolina on the road in week 5. Too bad the combination didn’t work this time around… I am sick and tired of these close losses on the road. Honestly I would much rather see us get blown out on the road than see us lose these close games. I think watching us get blown out would be easier to handle… After our loss and the San Francisco 49ers win in New Orleans, I am starting to come to the very real realization that we may not catch San Francisco for the division. At this point our first concern and priority should be locking up a wild-card berth.

Seahawks Playoff Outlook: The Seahawks are 6-5 and based on tiebreakers are currently holding onto the 6th seed in the NFC playoffs. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Minnesota Vikings also have 6-5 records. Also in the playoff picture with 5-6 records are the Washington Redskins, Dallas Cowboys, and New Orleans Saints. Next Week’s matchups with potential playoff implications:

Seattle (6-3) at Chicago (8-3)

Tampa Bay (6-5) at Denver (8-3)

Minnesota (6-5) at Green Bay (7-4)

Like I noted in “Random Thoughts,” the Seahawks have already begun preparations for next Sunday’s game against the Chicago Bears. Be on the lookout for my preview of the Bears game on Saturday afternoon. Tough Loss guys but we’ll bounce back. Down but not out! Go Hawks!

Seahawks/Dolphins Preview

24 Nov

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Matchup: Seattle Seahawks vs. Miami Dolphins

Site: Sun Life Stadium (Miami Gardens, Florida)

Kickoff: 10:00am

The Seahawks return after their bye week this week as they head to South Beach to face the Miami Dolphins. This is the first of six games to conclude the regular season for the Seahawks and the first of three road games. The Seahawks head into this game with a 6-4 record, clinging onto an NFC wild-card spot while they are trying to make up ground in the NFC West. The Miami Dolphins come into this game with a 4-6 record and they have lost their last three games. With a win, the Dolphins could get back into AFC wild-card contention. The Dolphins have a 9-4 all-time advantage against the Seahawks. In their last meeting in 2008, the Dolphins held on to beat Seattle 21-19 in Miami. The Dolphins and their newly schemed wildcat offense went on to win the AFC East that year while the Seahawks finished the season 4-12. There will be plenty to be looking for out of the Seahawks coming off the bye. Here is what I am looking for.

The number one thing I will be looking for out of the Seahawks this week is continually building offensive momentum on the road. The Dolphins are ranked 9th in the NFL in rushing yards allowed, meaning Marshawn Lynch may have trouble getting going this week. On the other hand, Miami is ranked 27th in pass yards allowed. The last time the Seahawks played on the road was in Detroit four weeks ago. In that game Russell Wilson showed significant improvement passing. After two home games and an extra week of preparation, I am hoping Wilson can play another decent game this week. I do expect to see some rust being shaken off early but I do not expect it to last for an extended period of play. A good game from Wilson this week includes minimal turnovers. Wilson has made several mistakes on the road this year in terms of errant passes. If he is relaxed and does not force throws like he has in the past, I do not see a problem with the way our offense plays.

On defense, the biggest problem facing the Seahawks on the road is stopping the opposition on third down. In Detroit, the Lions were successful on third down conversions about 75 percent of the time. In order to stop Ryan Tannehill and the Dolphins from moving the chains, pressure will be the main key for the Seahawks defense. Being an inexperienced rookie quarterback, Tannehill has made several mistakes over the past couple of weeks. He has thrown five interceptions in his last two games and only one touchdown. This week the Seahawks will have Jason Jones back along the inside and K.J. Wright will also be back after sitting out the Jets game with an injury. I think Chris Clemons will be the defensive player of the game for the Seahawks this week with a pair of sacks. I think four or five sacks by the defense will get the job done and Tannehill and the Dolphins will make a couple of crucial mistakes because of the pressure.

The Seahawks secondary is a group I definitely will be looking at this week. Brandon Browner will line up against Brian Hartline this week and Richard Sherman will line up with Davone Bess but keep a look out for how Seattle uses cornerback Walter Thurmond. The injury-prone Thurmond will be playing his first game this season after recovering from a broken leg which he suffered in a game against Cleveland last season. Thurmond may be used in nickel packages and may see some time in the slot. Thurmond will get a fair amount of playing time and I will be looking at his speed. Before his broken leg Thurmond was one of the fastest players on defense. If he is covering Bess or even going after Reggie Bush should the opportunity present itself, it will be fascinating to see how well Thurmond can keep up.

In all honestly to the common fan, the Miami Dolphins may be one of the most boring teams in the National Football League. The Dolphins were featured on the HBO series “Hard Knocks” during training camp and the preseason and did not give the audience the flare that the series has given in past years. The Dolphins and first year head coach Joe Philbin have done a good job in putting together a good mix of young and old talent and have proven that they can win games; they are not the pushover a lot of fans predicted them to be at the start of the season. The biggest weapon on offense for the Dolphins is running back Reggie Bush. Bush has the capability to make explosive plays if he can get out in the open. The Seahawks need to do a good job of making contact with Bush in order to slow him down. On defense, Cameron Wake continues to be one of the premier pass rushers in the league. He has 9.5 sacks so far on the season and will most likely make the pro bowl once again this season. One guy to keep an eye on this week is outside linebacker Kevin Burnett. Burnett is tied for second on the team in tackles with 44 and with Karlos Dansby dominating in the middle, positive plays to the left may come at a premium for the Seahawks this week.

Random Thoughts: The Dolphins have a home-field advantage that is continually swept under the rug; the weather. Game-time weather conditions are usually hot and humid. This week the high is supposed to be in the mid 70’s so weather hopefully is not a big issue… The Seahawks will most likely wear blue jerseys this week as the Dolphins will wear white. I hope the Seahawks debut the white pants this week… All of our remaining road games are 10am starts. Ouch… It’s too bad I didn’t make this game our road trip this year. I would not mind sipping on an ice cold beer while lying on the beach… Chris Myers and Tim Ryan have the call once again on FOX this week. Oh joy!… Ryan Tannehill’s wife Lauren is smoking hot. Just saying… My friend James is coming over for the game this week. Super excited since he hasn’t been over for a game yet this season… McDonald’s breakfast may be a must this week before the game… It feels good to be back on the blog after this nice break!

Prediction: I feel that a lot of my friends are expecting the Seahawks to win rather easily. I think this game could be a bit sloppy. It is always hard to win on the road and the Seahawks have proven this, only winning one game on the road so far this season. We are catching the Dolphins at just the right time, as they are starting to slip away from playoff contention. I think the Seahawks will win but it will be a lot closer than most people think.

Seahawks 26, Dolphins 23

Stay tuned for my review of the Dolphins game on Monday afternoon. Thanks everybody. It is good to be back writing. Go Seahawks!