The Seattle Seahawks window of opportunity is closing. They start the 2008 season banged up, and with a few players on the sideline after being suspended, and will take on a tough foe Sunday at Ralph Wilson Stadium as they play the AFC East’s Buffalo Bills. Mike Holmgren is entering his final year as coach, and the team is looking more than vulnerable to possibly losing the NFC West. They are the favorites going in, but it’s not a shoe-in to say the least.
They enter this contest with hoping that QB Matt Hasselbeck’s stiff back will stay loose enough for him to run the West Coast offense as good as he has in the past. He will have a banged up WR core, that likely will have to start Nate Burleson and Courtney Taylor. Thin is an understatement when it comes to the Hawks WR core. Look for them to do what they do best, use the short pass to set up a few deep shots, but with the WR core hurting, it will be tough.
Maurice Morris is the starter at RB, but Julius Jones will see carries for the Hawks. The Bills run D should be bolstered as they added defensive tackle Marcus Stroud, a three-time Pro Bowl selection, and linebacker Kawika Mitchell. The Hawks will have a tough time running on this unit all afternoon.
Buffalo has to use their offensive weapons, Trent Edwards, Marshawn Lynch and Lee Evans. Look for first-year offensive coordinator Turk Schonert to stick to the basics – give the ball to Lynch a lot, and help make Edwards successful with a lot of max protection and pass plays to his big playmakers. He has to be careful, as the Hawks defensive core of Patrick Kerney, Marcus Trufant and Lofa Tatupu can make life tough on anyone.
The Bills will miss LT Jason Peters, but will use a lot of Lynch to win the time of possession, have Edwards make safe, smart reads, and their defense will get to Hasselbeck, who is fragile right now and Holmgren knows it. The Bills start the year with a statement win against a division champion.