Finding Motivation To Beat A Likeable Foe: A Seahawks Vs Bills Preview

Lookin’ to be cookin’

I have to admit it. I like these Buffalo Bills. They remind me a bit of my favorite team. They are coached by a defensive minded head coach who likes to take the ball away and likes to play balanced on offense mixing the run with the pass. They also have a mobile play-making quarterback who is matched with a talented group of receivers.

I think perhaps the thing that makes them even more likeable is that they are a small market team that plays in the same division as the New England Patriots, and have therefore sucked for years, and are now finally winning. That’s the thing for me. For probably most every day people, they are relatable. As this presidential election is now proving to show, most people don’t like bullies, and the Buffalo Bills look like a team that is finally built to beat the bully in their division. So, it’s easy to root for them.

Theoretically, if Seattle were to lose a game in the remaining schedule, this would be a game to drop. Preferably, Seattle goes into Buffalo and wins this one to further separate themselves in a competitive NFC West division, but losing on the road to an AFC team is better for them than losing to any NFC team in terms of conference standings and playoff seeding. As Seahawk fans, we just really want them to win as much of the games against NFC opponents as possible. We know that, and they know that, as well.

For Seattle to come into Buffalo and play with the edge needed to beat this likeable upstart AFC East opponent, they will likely need to dig deep to find the motivation and will. Fortunately, for Seattle Seahawk fans, it looks like motivation will be there.

Russell Wilson has already stated that November 9th is his father’s birthday. Russell was extremely close to his father before he passed away, and he will want to win this one for Pop. Another thing about Russ is, despite the nice guy persona, like other premiere highly competitive athletes throughout time such as Michael Jordan, he often digs deep to find reasons to beat an opponent.

It will not be lost to Russell Wilson that a few years ago when he was entering the final year of his contract, Seahawk general manager John Schneider made a point to be at Josh Allen’s pro day workout days before the NFL draft. Obviously, Seattle was in no real position to draft him, and Buffalo was, but it was reported that Schneider’s visit there prompted Russell’s agent to call and say “hey, what’s are we cool here?”

While it’s likely that Schneider’s motivation to visit the Allen workout was likely more of a ploy to use as leverage in what was going to be a difficult contract negotiation with this agent than anything else, it is probably not lost on Russell who is quarterbacking the team that he is playing against this Sunday. Russell is going to want to beat Josh Allen in this one. He’s going to want to make a point. It will be a big motivational factor for him.

Another star player on Seattle’s roster who will likely find motivation in this one is Jamal Adams. It will be his first game back since injuring his groin against the Cowboys in week three, and it will be a game against a former AFC East foe. He will be charged up to prove Seattle made the right choice trading high draft capital for his services at strong safety, and he will be charged up to beat the Buffalo Bills.

Seattle wins this game because..

Russell Wilson cooks like a lethal culinary football assassin against a Buffalo defense that has struggled to defend the red zone and has given up a lot of yardage on the ground and through the air. Buffalo has some weapons on defense that Russ needs to be aware of, but they may not have enough to cover all of Russell’s weapons. It’s already proven that if you look to take away DK Metcalf, things open up for Tyler Lockett and vice versa. Plus there is David Moore to contend with, and Seattle is deep at tight end. Buffalo is a good team to run against and this would be a game in which you would want Chris Carson to play in, but he won’t and that still might not enough to slow down Seattle’s attack. Seattle might pass to set up opportunities to run.

Rookie runner DeeJay Dallas has a break through game in this one. He met a tough defensive front to run against in San Francisco, and it showed, yet he still found a way to make key runs at critical times. It’s likely that Buffalo isn’t going to feel threatened by Seattle’s backfield without Carson, and they won’t honor the run as much. It’s likely that they will try to blitz Russell. It’s probably likely that Seattle is anticipating this, and will look for opportunities to use Buffalo’s aggression against them. One thing that Dallas is coming out of college is a really good pass catching running back. Expect Seattle to set up some screen passes to him that if they are successful with, are likely going to force the Buffalo defenders to back off some. That should open up opportunities to run as the game wears on, and I think Dallas is an underrated runner. This could be a big game for him.

Seattle’s defense gets enough of a boost from the return of Jamal Adams and the addition of pass rusher Carlos Dunlap. There are some unknowns that Buffalo’s offense has to deal in this one. Seattle is likely going to be more aggressive with their blitzes like they were last week against San Francisco, but with Adams mixing in with Bobby Wagner and others, it might be less predictable where the blitzes come from. With Dunlap added to the edge rush, Seattle might now have more ability to win one on one match ups with their defensive line rotation now, and if that proves to be true, they can be even more varied with how they pressure and how they cover. Josh Allen is a very talented passer, but he’s young, and if he has to play chess to win, Seattle’s defense might have an advantage.

Seattle loses this one because..

They can’t find enough answers for Buffalo’s defensive pressure, and it makes the offense more one dimensional, and that leads to Russell cooking less. Seattle needs to establish the run, and they will be needing to do that with what is still unproven talent in Dallas and Travis Homer. Establishing the run, is going to all but certify that Russell cooks up a dish in this one. What happens if they can’t get the run going? Buffalo could take a page out of the Arizona Cardinals’ playbook a couple weeks ago and send a lot of constant pressure at Russell. If that leads to Russell turning the ball over, that’s a good recipe for Buffalo winning.

Seattle’s defense gives up too many big plays to Allen and they can’t get to him with pressure. Allen has next level arm strength, and he has one of the best receivers in the league in Stefon Diggs. If he connects with Diggs over the top on a few plays, that would likely cause Pete Carroll to hold off sending the dogs to play soft coverage again. That could easily lead to Allen getting the ball off quicker, and Seattle being less likely to get pressure on him, even with Carlos Dunlap. Then Seattle is going to be solely reliant on a bend don’t break defense against a Buffalo offense that has been pretty productive in the red zone. It’s important for Seattle to not get beaten over the top as they find ways to pressure Allen. This is going to be the big chess match.

My Prediction

I’m compelled to predict for the first time this season a Seattle Seahawk loss in this one, but I’m going to hold off. Seahawks win a narrow shootout in this one, 37 to 33.

Josh Allen is the type of quarterback that can give Seattle’s defense fits. He’s very mobile and he has a live arm. This means he’s much harder to sack and rattle that say, Jimmy Garoppolo. He’s very similar to Cam Newton, and historically, Newton has been a hard player for Seattle’s style to defense to sack. They key for Seattle is to get enough pressure on him at times to get him to make a mistake. With Adams and Dunlap added to this defense, and the defense perhaps now playing with more aggression, there is reason for optimism.

Conversely, Buffalo’s defense will be tasked to defend a veteran quarterback who is playing like the best quarterback in the league right now. This quarterback will find ample determination to beat the Josh Allen led Bills. He will want to extend his team’s lead in the hyper competitive NFC West which he will be facing back to back divisional foes in the next few weeks. He will also want to prove a point in his personal quest for the league’s MVP crown.

My money would easily be on the quarterback who is more veteran and perhaps the quarterback who will dig deeper in motivation. That’s quarterback is Russ, and I think he’s gonna cook in this one.

Go Hawks.


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