With opening week in the books, the New England Patriots can start turning their attention to the challenge that lies ahead — and it will be a formidable one: after beating the Miami Dolphins on Sunday, the club will travel to Seattle to take on the 1-0 Seahawks at CenturyLink Field for a Sunday Night meeting. The game takes place on September 20, at 8:20 pm. With that said, let’s take a closer look at New England’s upcoming opponent.
Record: 1-0 (t-1st place NFC West)
Points scored: 2nd (38.0/game)
Points against: 19th (25.0/game)
Head coach: Pete Carroll
Coordinators: Brian Schottenheimer (OC), Ken Norton (DC)
Led by the NFL’s oldest head coach, who also used to work for the Patriots from 1997 to 1999, the Seahawks have an experienced coaching staff. Carroll took over in 2010 and led Seattle to a Super Bowl win in his fourth season, while Schottenheimer and Norton are both in their third year at the gig. Another name that needs to be pointed out is Larry Izzo: a core member of New England’s Dynasty 1.0, the former special teams ace is currently serving as the Seahawks’ kicking game coordinator.
Season so far
Week 1 at Atlanta Falcons: W 38-25
Seattle started its 2020 season in perfect fashion by defeating the Falcons 38-25 on the road. While the game was a close one in the first half — the teams headed into the locker rooms with the visitors atop 14-12 — the Seahawks pulled away after intermission by scoring 17 unanswered points on offense and registering a takeaway and turnover on downs on defense in between.
Including playoffs, the Patriots and Seahawks have met 18 times so far:
- Patriots wins: 9 (1 playoff win)
- Seahawks wins: 9 (0 playoff wins)
The biggest game of the series so far is undoubtably the teams’ meeting in Super Bowl 49. One of the best championship games ever played, the Seahawks jumped to a 24-14 lead in the fourth quarter before Tom Brady led the Patriots to two straight touchdown drives against the best defense of its era. Seattle almost came back to take the lead late in the game, but Malcolm Butler’s goal line interception sealed the game in New England’s favor.
The Patriots are traveling west with a 4-3 road record in Seattle.
Projected starting lineups
QB Russell Wilson; RB Chris Carson; WR DK Metcalf, WR Tyler Lockett, WR David Moore; TE Greg Olsen; LT Duane Brown, LG Mike Iupati, C Ethan Pocic, RG Damien Lewis*, RT Brandon Shell
The biggest name in Seattle’s projected starting lineup is, of course, Russell Wilson. One of the best quarterbacks in the game today, the 31-year-old is leading an attack that features an intriguing mix of experience and talent — from established veterans such as himself, Greg Olsen or Duane Brown, to young talent like DK Metcalf, Chris Carson and Damien Lewis. One question will be who fills the third receiver role: while David Moore caught three passes last week, ex-Patriot Phillip Dorsett II might be back this week to take his spot.
DE L.J. Collier, DT Jarran Reed, DT Poona Ford; DE Benson Mayowa; OLB Bruce Irvin, MLB Bobby Wagner, OLB K.J. Wright; CB Shaquill Griffin, CB Quinton Dunbar; SS Jamal Adams, FS Quandre Diggs
Seattle’s defense may not have the start power of the former “Legion of Boom” but it still features considerable talent — especially at the middle linebacker position manned by perennial All-Pro Bobby Wagner and at strong safety where former New York Jets first-round draft pick was added this offseason. Despite the unit surrendering 506 yards against Atlanta last week, it proved itself an opportunistic one that is capable of making life hard for the Patriots’ offense on Sunday night.
K Jason Myers, P Michael Dickson, LS Tyler Ott; PR David Moore, KR Travis Homer
As is the case elsewhere on the Seahawks’ roster, its special teams crew also features plenty of experience. The name to point out is Tyler Ott, who started his career in New England: Ott spent parts of the 2014 and 2015 offseason with the team before carving out a successful career in Seattle. He arrived late during the 2016 season and last year agreed to a three-year, $3.3 million contract extension.
Three things to watch
1. A confirmation of Week 1: Opening week is naturally a time for overreaction in the NFL. Week 2, meanwhile, can serve as some sort of confirmation for the trends that were seen the previous game. In New England’s case, this spans from personnel employment to whether or not the run game and secondary can keep up the pace they set against the Dolphins on Sunday. While the Patriots’ game plan against the Seahawks will be a different one, some general developments can probably still be observed.
2. Will Russell Wilson cook? Even if you have not seen the #LetRussCook hashtag on Twitter, the Seahawks’ fans wish to have the team use its quarterback more efficiently as a passer is no secret. The team’s Week 1 outing was a step in that direction: Wilson completed 31 of 35 pass attempts for 322 yards and four touchdowns — all while also leading Seattle with 29 rushing yards on three carries. But should the veteran QB again get this many chances to throw the football despite going up against the NFL’s best secondary? That is a question Seahawks offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer will have to ask himself.
3. The absence of (real) crowd noise: Seattle’s CenturyLink Field is one of the hardest places in the NFL to play: the stadium was built to reflect the crowd noise back onto the field, making it hard for offenses to operate. With no fans in the stadium and the league’s “crowd noise from a can” not allowed to exceed 75 decibels, the situation looks a lot different — and is putting the offense in a more favorable position than it otherwise would be when playing the Seahawks on the road.