I wouldn’t read much into the numbers the Patriots are putting up this year. 3rd in the NFL in rushing? I’d say their three blowout wins have a lot to do with that. 8th in the NFL in rushing defense? Again, see the three blowouts. With New England, what you’ve seen for the past decade is what you’re going to get. Lots of passing and not such a great defense. If you don’t let them get a big lead on you, you can run on this team. And if you can figure out a way to match them touchdown for touchdown, I wouldn’t count on them milking the clock.
I’m not going to say this is going to be the most important game of the season for the Seahawks; as long as there are playoffs on the line, the LAST game will be the most important. I can’t even say this is the most high-profile game; gotta figure nothing is going to top that Packers Monday night fiasco, with the upcoming Thursday night game against the 49ers running a distant second. But, the Patriots might be the single biggest test the Seahawks will face all season.
Notice I didn’t say this would be the most difficult team we play, although it very well might be. I still think very highly of the 49ers and I still think they’re BETTER than the Patriots. But, there’s a big difference between the two situations. We play the 49ers twice a year. We play the Patriots once every four years. As good as they may be, we pretty much know what San Francisco is going to do. One week’s worth of prep every four years isn’t NEARLY enough time to know the ins and outs of a team. Essentially, the prep you had (knowing full well this coaching staff wasn’t in place four years ago) is worthless because the Patriots are a VERY different team than they were.
New England poses a very particular challenge because not only are they the best offense we’re going to see all season, but they have a very unique offense. Their strength (aside from quarterback, which every great offense has) isn’t the wideouts along the sidelines. It’s the slot guys and the tight ends. Welker, Julian Edelman, Gronkowski, and it looks like Hernandez will be back as well. This is going to make our lives a living hell, because the very best parts of our defense are our ability to stop the run (which I still believe won’t be a problem, in spite of their numbers thus far this season) and our big, physical corners playing on the outside. I’m not saying our linebackers or our nickel corners are crappy, but comparatively they’re a big step down.
It’s going to be tough. Surely, they won’t be moving the ball up and down the field at will. But, I think we’ll be hard pressed to dominate them like we’ve dominated so many teams this season. I’m convinced we’re not holding their offense under 20 points. The questions remain:
- Can we hold them to 24 instead of 31?
- And can we somehow figure out a way to score 28?
If we’re going to win this game on Sunday, we’re going to win it 28-24. I just don’t see any other way around it. We could lose by literally any other score, but if we’re going to win, we’re GOING to have to score four touchdowns.
Last week was a nice start, but we were still held to 16 points. If New England holds us to field goals, then forget it. Game over. They’ll either blow us out or they’ll figure out a way to drive at the end for the winning score. There are two keys for the Seahawks offense this weekend, and neither one of them involves the running game. Our defense will force some punts, that won’t be a problem, but we HAVE to take advantage on offense. We have to come out throwing the ball and we have to limit turnovers at almost all costs.
New England is going to load the box just like every other fucking team we play. If you want teams to quit that shit, you’ve got to come out slinging the ball around the field. This game plan this week shouldn’t focus on the defensive. We shouldn’t be overloading our game plan with running plays to keep their offense off the field; that’s loser talk! I want to see us taking it TO them. I want to see our offense do the unexpected: stretch the field vertically. I want to see us making big plays and scoring lots of touchdowns early.
Get a lead on these Patriots, then let your defense do what it does best: wreak havoc and force turnovers.
New England knows what to expect and they do what’s expected. So, flip it on ’em. Do the opposite of what they expect and watch them freak the fuck out!
And for the love of God, don’t get soft on defense. I don’t want to see us playing zone all day long, because they’ll fucking eat us alive. Their offense doesn’t depend on the deep 40-yard bombs, but they thrive in the 10-25 yard intermediate routes. And they’ll kill you on the slants and in-routes. So, keep doing what you’re doing. Lots of bump & run. Knock Welker and Edelman on their asses. Get up in Gronk’s grill. And for Christ’s sake, make Deion Branch wish he’d hung ’em up and retired for good!
Gun to my head, I think the Seahawks lose this game. HOW they lose could make all the difference going forward, though. If they lose a 16-13 slugfest, then that’s as big of a moral victory as you can get. If they get blown out 38-3, then we’re talking serious problems.