The Washington Football Team has reached two major milestones in 2020. Firstly, they finally changed their gawd awful name, and secondly, they managed to hire a pretty darn good football coach to run things right, finally. The latter move is what should concern Seahawk fans most right now.
A Ron Rivera coached team should be something that most Seahawk fans will quickly recognize, as the Seahawks have played his former team, the Carolina Panthers, on a regular basis throughout the last decade. His mark as a head coach is also fairly similar to the one who coaches in Seattle. His teams generally play with an aggressive 4-3 scheme that features top end talent throughout the defensive line, and they play with a ball control offense that likes to mix power run with explosive passing.
If you like your American football to resemble a car accident, this will likely be the game for you. Both coaches want to play this game similarly. They like to hammer with the ball, and they want to hammer the quarterback. As the game progresses, they look for the explosive plays to break the dam open. Many of the matches between Pete Carroll’s team and Ron Rivera’s team have felt like grueling heavy weight matches throughout the years. I would expect this one to be no different.
This game will be a good test for both clubs as they battle for their respective divisions. The Washington Football Team has a top end defense, and an offense that has been finding it’s way through the savvy veteran quarterback play of Alex Smith (a remarkable story-line, coming back from a life threatening leg injury a few years ago). Contrasting to that, the Seahawks maintain one of the best offenses in the league, and they have an improving defense now that Jamal Adams has settled in with his mates.
This game might come down to which is greater, Seattle’s offense or Washington’s defense. It equally could come down to which is more improved, Seattle’s defense or Washington’s offense. It should be a great lab test in finding the results. It’s just likely to be a bit of a bloody mess throughout that process. So get ready for that.
Seahawks win this one by..
Not cowering on offense and playing too safe against a Washington defense that features five former first round picks on the defensive line. It’s understandable that Carroll will want his offense to play it a bit safe in this one, especially considering that their right tackle has been nursing a lower leg injury and depth behind him as been hobbled as well. Personally, I think that is a trap that they don’t want to retreat into. The teams that have played well against this defense maintaining a degree of aggression during their matches. The Cardinals, Rams, Browns, Ravens, and even the Lions all found success on the ground and through the air. The common denominator for each of these teams is having a quarterback capable of dynamic play. This is a game for Seattle to continue mixing it up offensively with Russell Wilson like they did against the Jets, Cardinals, Patriots, and 49ers. In those games, Seattle took whatever the defenses were giving with quick passes, run, and deep shots. They also varied tempo and used plenty of pre-snap motion. They didn’t allow aggressive defenses to dictate. They dictated to them.
Continuing the aggressive surge on defense. Alex Smith is a remarkable story. His comeback from a life threatening leg injury is a Disney movie in the making. It makes it easy to root for him, and his team. That said, Seattle has got to get after him and his sore calf, if he should play in this one. Ken Norton Junior needs to find balance between how to pressure Smith, and be varied with how he uses Jamal Adams as a pass rusher and cover safety. It appears that Seattle can find a pass rush with four now, especially when playing with Carlos Dunlap. It also appears like Norton Junior has settled on how to best use the talent his has on the defensive line. Snacks Harrison is really, really good against the run. LJ Collier is better as a pass rushing defensive tackle than an edge rusher. Poona Ford is just really good. If Seattle continues this positive trend with it’s defensive line rotation, it’s going to continue allowing the linebackers to make plays, and the DBs to play better. It all starts up front, and they need to be on it.
Seahawks lose this one by..
Playing in a manner, offensively, that doesn’t allow them to play with any rhythm or variation. False starts, fumbled snaps, unnecessary sacks by hanging onto the ball too long, holding calls, and forcing throws into unfavorable coverage have all plagued Seattle offensively in each of their four losses to the season. It’s kept them from staying on schedule and finding rhythm. Sometimes, you have to know when to throw the ball away instead of forcing a throw that isn’t really there. You should take whatever a defense is willing to concede, always. Seattle’s offense has too much talent for a defense to defend everything. It is up to Seattle to find what to exploit against Washington’s defense, and if they don’t, this could be a brutally long day for them.
Blowing assignments, and playing with poor fundamentals on defense. When this defense was playing at a historically bad pace earlier in the year, this was the formula for them. They were often confused in coverage, they were missing tackles in space, and their pass rushers weren’t able to win often one on one against their blocks. A lot has changed since then, but it is up to this defense to avoid regression against a Washington offense that statistically isn’t very good. Pass rush needs to effect the quarterback, linebackers need to tackle, and DBs need to cover. Simple as that.
Seahawks will tough out a hard fought victory in this one, winning 23-16.
It will be a final score that will resemble many of the outcomes in matches that a Pete Carroll coached team played a Ron Rivera coached team. This game will also have a very similar feel to many of those games.
There will be times that Russell Wilson will be harassed into sacks and negative plays, and bad looking throws. Their will be moments where Chris Carson carrying up the middle will look like a heinous head on car collision. Seattle will endure this moments like a heavy weight does against a solid blow. It will be part of the process for setting up a worthy opponent for the haymaker coming later.
The important thing is for Russell and company to play smart and do the thing needed to stay more on schedule than not. I would be more nervous about this game if Seattle had somehow managed to sneak win against the New York Giants a couple weeks ago by still playing down to them. That result could lull them into thinking that if mistakes happen in this one, they will still find a way to pull it out of their buttocks somehow.
I’m embracing the belief that the embarrassing loss to the Giants is a blessing in disguise for the Seattle Seahawks. I’m going to wager that they will no longer take a lessor opponent lightly in this remaining portion of their schedule.
Even with a really good defense, Washington, on paper, is the lessor team. If Seattle plays with enough focus on both sides of the ball, they should win this one. I think they will.
It still might not be pretty, though. Don’t expect many style points.