By Jack Sitt
The New England Patriots and their newly established run game take on a physical and athletic Seattle Seahawks defense this Sunday. The Seahawks have been one of the best defensive units early on this season, but they have yet to play an offense as dynamic as the Patriots. The Pats offense has looked unstoppable as of late as they have averaged 512 yards per game over the last two weeks. So, what can the Seahawks do to slow down this offense, and pull off an upset against this Patriots squad?
The three keys to success for the Seattle Seahawks this Sunday:
1. Stack the box when Tom Brady aligns under center.
The Patriots have averaged an outstanding 249 yards rushing over the past two weeks, but they still have one flaw. They make it to obvious when they want to run the ball. I counted 48 snaps that Brady took under center this past Sunday, and they ran the ball on 45 of them. That’s right, that’s roughly 94 percent. If the Seahawks want to slow down the Pats running game, they need to put eight men in the box every time Brady aligns under center. Positioning safety, Kam Chancellor, close to the line of scrimmage would be very beneficial in the run game
2. Give Russell Wilson some Leeway.
The Seahawks have taken a conservative approach on offense all season. Russell Wilson is only averaging 25 pass attempts per game. They have placed Wilson in a run heavy offense, which only requires Wilson to make short throws. This week they have to spread the offense out more. The Patriots run defense has been solid this season as it ranks in the top 10 for yards allowed. Their pass defense, however, is very vulnerable, as they rank 31st in passing yards allowed. Russell Wilson can attack this defense if he gets the chance. In addition, the Seahawks should give Wilson leeway because he is comfortable passing against the two deep defense that the Patriots play. Wilson was able to complete 75 percent of his passes on plays in which he faced this defense last Sunday.
3. Play man defense.
Last week, it seemed like Tom Brady was able to zip the ball to his receivers down the middle of the field at will. This could be a problem for the Seattle Seahawks, as they often like to play cover three zone. Tom Brady should have no problem finding the holes in this zone and picking it apart. In order to prevent this, the Seahawks should play man coverage this Sunday. There best chance to win is giving their physical defensive backs the challenge of covering the Patriots receivers. The key to playing this defense would be the play of nickel corner, Marcus Trufant, as he would be manned up on Wes Welker. If he can win that battle, the Seahawks have a great chance of winning this game.