PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – The Seattle Seahawks started the 2020-21 season on the right foot with an impressive 38-25 win over the Atlanta Falcons. Now, the Seahawks look ahead as they prepare to face off against former NFL MVP Cam Newton and the new look New England Patriots.
Here are six things to look out for in Sunday’s match-up:
1. Let Russell Wilson cook
In the first game of the season against the Falcons, Russell Wilson put up some absolutely phenomenal numbers with 322 passing yards, four touchdowns, and only four incompletions. It seems like this is the best supporting cast Wilson has had offensively since he started with the Seahawks. Now Wilson will be able to spread the ball around to a handful of different weapons much like he did against the Falcons and put up big numbers. On top of that, the Seahawks won’t have to worry about playing, conserving and saving Wilson’s energy for the fourth quarter much like we’ve seen in the past because he was the only player capable of generating consistent offense. Wilson can finally take the pressure off of himself and spread the responsibility around to his teammates which will then allow him to just play the way he does and not hold back.
2. Force Cam Newton to be one dimensional
Newton is an all-around phenomenal quarterback and can beat you in many ways. Whether it’s through the air with his very solid and accurate arm, or on the ground with his extreme athletic ability. Not to mention, Newton stands at 6’5 and weighs in around 245 pounds, which makes him an absolute nightmare for anyone trying to tackle him. The one thing that can not happen if the Seahawks expect to win is Newton finding a rhythm and feeling comfortable throwing and running the ball. The Seahawks need to better their chance of winning by making him uncomfortable. Force him to have to choose what he is going to have to stick with throughout the game. Either running the ball, and getting more fatigued, or throwing the ball and having the Seahawks defensive backs make the plays. Regardless, they have to contain him and force him to be one dimensional.
3. Seahawks need to get the ground game going
Week 1 gave everyone a little taste of what this Seahawks offense can do. That being said, the Seahawks need to get their ground game going against the Patriots. With solid running backs like Chris Carson and Carlos Hyde, they could take a ton of pressure off Wilson by balancing out the offense. Regardless if it was a part of the scheme or not, the Patriots always have a solid defense and in order for the Seahawks to get a big win, they will need to have a solid rushing attack.
4. Take advantage of the mismatch between Seahawks defensive backs and Patriots receivers.
The Patriots have always been able to bring the best out of some low-profile players and make them fit and succeed in a certain role in the offense. In this instance, the Patriots’ receiving core might be the least talented it has been in quite some time and the Seahawks need to take full advantage of that. With as much talent as the Seahawks have in their secondary with Jamal Adams, Shaquill Griffin, Quintin Dubar, and Quandre Diggs, each one of them should be able to win their one-on-one matchups against these Patriots receivers and make it that much harder for their offense to get going.
5. Russell has to be smart with the ball
Wilson did a great job last game being extremely efficient and effective throwing the ball as he only had four incompletions, and two of those were drops by his receivers. In this match up, though, Wilson is going to be facing off against a very elite Patriots defensive back group that is loaded by ball hawks. The standout of that group is the highest rated cornerback in the entire league in Stephon Gilmore. In the Patriots first game of the season the defensive back group opened up with a very impressive performance with three interceptions. This group is smart, athletic, and they always find ways to force a turnover. Wilson will have to be very smart and precise when he drops back to throw the ball because this group will be ready.
6. Carroll has to out-coach Belichick
These are two of some of the greatest coaches the NFL has ever seen. Both of them have different personalities and different coaching styles, but they do have one thing in common and that is they just win. With two mastermind coaches going at it, this will be a heavyweight fight from start to finish. In order for the Seahawks to get a win, Pete Carroll will have to be the better decision maker in the game.