Gridiron Gab Week Twelve Preview: Kansas City at Seattle

After a loss in New Orleans last week, the Seattle Seahawks return to Qwest Field Sunday to renew a former longtime rivalry from the team’s days spent in the AFC West as they take on the Kansas City Chiefs.

It’s been seven seasons since the Chiefs (6-4) have won their division, but help from a 5-0 start to the team’s home schedule has Kansas City staring squarely at the chance of hanging a division championship banner once again.

Seattle (5-5), too, hasn’t had much success in recent years, but, with its third coach in as many seasons, finds itself in contention for the NFC West championship for the first time since 2007.

Due to the Thanksgiving holiday being spent in New Jersey this year for SeahawksGab Editor Devon Heinen, the preview of the Chiefs – Seahawks matchup will take on a new look as he takes you, the reader, on a trip inside his reporter’s notepad.  Next week, the preview stories customary at SeahawksGab will return.

It Must Be the (Home) Cooking
The Chiefs are one of only four teams in the National Football League this season that are undefeated at home, the others being Indianapolis, Atlanta and Baltimore; however, playing on the road hasn’t been as enjoyable.

Kansas City is 1-4 away from Arrowhead Stadium, with the lone win coming in Week Two in Cleveland, and is averaging 75 less rushing yards per game.  Its offense isn’t the only unit playing differently, though, away from home.  For the season as a whole, the Chiefs allow opponents to convert on third down 36.6 percent of the time.  That rate balloons to 44.8 percent of the time when looking at the team’s four road losses against Indianapolis, Houston, Oakland and Denver.  The amount of yards per game given up also increases, from 348.4 for the season as a whole to 383.75 in the four losses.

Receiving Attention
Coming into the season, Dwayne Bowe had been known just as much for his big-play ability as he was for his knuckleheaded ones on and off the field; however, the fourth-year product out of Louisiana State appears to have turned the corner en route to making history.

In Kansas City’s Week Eleven home victory against Arizona, Bowe recorded two touchdown receptions.  It was the sixth consecutive game that the 6-foot-2, 221-pound receiver hauled in a touchdown – a Kansas City Chiefs team record.

He’s also needs just one more score to tie the team’s 48-year-old record for most touchdown receptions in a single season.  Currently, Chris Burford has that mark with 12.

Double the Trouble
Moving the ball down the field hasn’t been an issue for the Chiefs this season thanks to their stable of running backs.

The team brought in Thomas Jones over the offseason after having three 1,000-plus-yard rushing seasons in New York with the Jets.  Despite being 32, the running back is on pace for another big season.  Averaging 4.1 yards per carry thus far in a Kansas City uniform, Jones has accumulated 644 yards and five touchdowns, a pace that projects him to finish the season with 1,030 yards on the ground and eight scores.

All that said, Jones isn’t even the team’s best running back.  Backup Jamaal Charles has 848 yards on just 131 carries this season, good for 6.1 yards per rush.  That’s coupled with the 356 receiving yards and three total offensive touchdowns he has this season.

In last Sunday’s home win against Arizona, Charles led the Chiefs in rushing with 88 yards on 12 carries and was second on the team in receiving with 38 yards stemming from hauling in four of five passes thrown his way.  What’s interesting about his performance was that the third-year back from Texas had just three carries against the Cardinals in the first half.

Seattle Seahawks News from the VMAC
Seattle wide receiver Mike Williams injured his foot last Sunday in the team’s road loss to New Orleans.  The injury is unordinary, according to head coach Pete Carroll, but the training staff is handling it.  The team’s leading receiver with 654 yards was deemed day-to-day by Carroll at the head coach’s Monday press conference from the team’s Renton, Wash. training facilities. Starting cornerback Marcus Trufant was also placed with the day-to-day tag Monday.  He left the game against the Saints with a concussion. Carroll said he was impressed with the play of rookie left tackle Russell Okung Sunday in New Orleans.  It was the starter’s fourth game of the season and his first since Seattle’s Week Seven win against Arizona.  Last Sunday against the Saints, quarterback Matt Hasselbeck wasn’t sacked and running back Marshawn Lynch had his highest yards per carry average (5.1) since joining the team.  Carroll said it’s “very obvious” that Okung’s a factor in the offense. Carroll expressed concern Monday about his defensive line, especially with its ability to limit opposing teams’ respective ground games.  In New Orleans, Chris Ivory, an undrafted free agent out of Tiffin College (after transferring from Washington State University), rushed for 99 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries – good for an average 4.3 carries.  His longest run of the day was a 24-yard scamper.

Sunday’s matchup between the Chiefs and the Seahawks is set to kick off at 4:05 p.m. Eastern.

Can’t get enough NFLGridironGab?  Follow SeahawksGab Editor Devon Heinen on Twitter at http://twitter.com/DevonHeinen.


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