Preview and Prediction: New England Patriots vs. Seattle Seahawks

After winning the season opener against the Miami Dolphins 21-11, the New England Patriots will now travel to Seattle to play the Seahawks in their road opener on Sunday Night Football. There’s no doubt the Seahawks present a tougher challenge than the Dolphins, but there are several ways the Patriots can win this game. We’ll discuss those keys to victory, among many more items to prepare for the game Sunday. Here is our preview and prediction for the New England Patriots vs. Seattle Seahawks.

Details of the Game:

  • New England Patriots (1-0) at Seattle Seahawks (1-0) 
  • September 20, at 8:20 p.m. ET on NBC
  • The overall series is tied at 9-9

Matchups to Watch:

Patriots Secondary vs. Seahawks Passing Attack

The best secondary in the NFL is going up against one of the best passing attacks in the NFL, led by a top-tier quarterback in Russell Wilson. This battle alone makes for must-watch T.V.

In Week 1 both the Patriots secondary and the Seahawks passing attack lived up to the hype. The New England secondary held Ryan Fitzpatrick to just 191 yards. Additionally, the Patriots had three interceptions. Even the strong safety group, which was perceived as the weakest link in the Patriots secondary, made a ton plays. Offseason free-agent signee, Adrian Phillips played excellent in a role similar to that of Patrick Chung. Joejuan Williams, a recent addition to the safety group after switching from the corner postion, also had a strong performance. He spent a lot of time covering tight ends.

As for the Seahawks passing attack, they were just as impressive last Sunday. The success all starts with Wilson. Wilson threw for 322 yards on 31-35 passing against the Falcons. Granted the Falcons secondary isn’t nearly as strong as the Patriots, but it’s important to note Wilson has produced at a high level for a while now, no matter who the opponent is.

The Seahawks are also talented at wide receiver. Namely, underrated receiver Tyler Lockett and freakish athlete D.K. Metcalf. Lockett and Metcalf combined for 12 catches and 187 yards against Atlanta. They are supplemented by David Moore and former Patriots’ Phillip Dorsett, who returned to practice this week after missing Week 1 with an injury, and Josh Gordon, who is currently still suspended. Additionally, the Seahawks have Greg Olsen at tight end. Olsen may see some man coverage from Joejuan Williams on Sunday.

How the Patriots Offense Handles Jamal Adams and Bobby Wagner

The Seahawks have a pair of legitimate superstars on their defense in Jamal Adams and Bobby Wagner. In his Seahawks debut, Adams had 12 combined tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 2 quarterback hits, and 1 sack. He played all over the field. Wagner, on the other hand, had 7 combined tackles and 2 passes defended. It cannot be overstated how good both Adams and Wagner are. With that being said, if Josh McDaniels and the offense can limit the impact of those two superstars the Patriots have some advantages elsewhere on offense. 

The biggest of those advantages is in the trenches, which we’ll talk about more in-depth later. Beyond the trenches, it’s notable that the Falcons passed for 450 yards against the Seahawks secondary in Week 1. Although, that’s a little misleading as Matt Ryan had 54 pass attempts and they threw the ball nearly the entire game. It does point to some issues in the Seahawks Cover 3 scheme though. Interestingly enough, the Seahawks actually have a pretty talented secondary, with Adams, Quandre Diggs, Quinton Dunbar, and Shaquill Griffin. It’s definitely something to monitor on Sunday.

Ultimately, we expect McDaniels and the offense to try and neutralize Adams and Wagner in a way that allows the Patriots to exploit some of the weaker parts of the Seahawks defense. It’s a tough task, but it’s going to be fun to watch.

Patriots O-Line vs. Seahawks D-Line

Last week the offensive line, especially the interior linemen, dominated the Dolphins. The excellent performance led to 217 yards rushing. They’ll be looking for a repeat of that success this coming Sunday night against the Seahawks defensive front.

The Patriots should offensive line should take advantage of this matchup. Why? Let’s begin with the Seahawks pass rush, which was virtually non-existent last season as Seattle ranked near the very bottom of the league in sacks. To try and solve those issues they signed Benson Mayowa and Bruce Irvin to go along with interior pass rushers Jarran Reed and Poona Ford. After watching the group’s overall Week 1 performance it’s hard to imagine those pass-rushing issues are solved. In fact, their best pass rush seems to be sending Jamal Adams on blitzes. If the Patriots do opt to throw more, Cam Newton should have a clean pocket.

Run blocking is something else the offensive line should control. The Patriots’ interior offensive linemen (David Andrews, Shaq Mason, and Joe Thuney), are among the best run-blocking groups in the NFL. The Seahawks, who weren’t tested much against the run by Atlanta, will get a real test here in Week 2. Keep in mind, the Seahawks run defense in 2019 was among the bottom half of the NFL.

Keys to Victory:

Control Time of Possession with an Effective Run Game and an Early Lead

Against the Dolphins, the Patriots not only dominated in the run game, as previously mentioned, but they also controlled the time of possession. The Patriots had the ball for 34:49 compared to the Dolphins’ time of possession of 25:11. A similar type of performance in this Sunday’s primetime matchup would be very much welcomed.

To control the time of possession the Patriots will need similar success on the ground to that which they had against Miami. The Patriots will also need to jump out to an early lead. Falling behind to the Seahawks early could result in the Patriots playing at a pace they don’t necessarily want too. Run the ball effectively, get an early lead, make some timely passes, and control the clock. Different variations of that formula will take place throughout the season, but that’s ultimately how we think the Patriots offense plans to win games in 2020.

Make Timely Plays in the Passing Game

As much as we’d like to see the Patriots run the rock down everyone’s throat, there will be times the Patriots need to run a higher volume of passing plays. That time very well may come this week, especially if the Patriots don’t complete our first key to victory and fall behind early. For instance, Atlanta threw the ball most of the game because they were playing catch up after getting down early to a high-scoring offense.

The Patriots were very efficient throwing the ball last week with Newton going 15-19 for 155 yards. While it’s a small sample size, it was a perfect supplement to the run game. Maybe that’s all the Patriots need again this week, but even so, they’ll need to make those same kinds of plays again to keep the defense honest. As we talked about earlier, there are some holes in that Cover 3 scheme. We could see the Patriots scheme their wideouts open.

Prevent a Huge Performance from Russell Wilson

At the end of the day, the best way to beat the Seahawks is to prevent a huge performance from Wilson. Easier said than done though. Keep in mind, there was some suggestion made by head coach Pete Carroll that the Seahawks may back away from the pass-heavy offense they exhibited again the Falcons and move back towards running the ball more often, but that could just be some gamesmanship by Carroll. If the Seahawks do decide to run the ball more, we think that plays into the Patriots’ hands. The Patriots run defense, which had its struggles in 2019, played well in the season opener. Plus, taking the ball out of Wilson’s hands typically is a good thing for opposing defenses. 

Prediction:

24-21 Seahawks over the Patriots

This game is going to very close and not having any fans in the stadium will greatly help the Patriots, but ultimately we think Russell Wilson narrowly pulls this out. With that being said, it would not shock us at all to see the Patriots make a big statement with a win in Seattle.

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3 thoughts on “Preview and Prediction: New England Patriots vs. Seattle Seahawks

  • September 18, 2020 at 12:05 am
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    Very well written, but I think this is a statement game, pats are going to win huge
    I really don’t think Seahawks can stop the run
    Please give the ball to JJ…. he is the key in this one
    34 – 17 😬

    Reply
    • September 19, 2020 at 2:37 am
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      Thanks for reading! That could very well be the case

      Reply
  • September 21, 2020 at 4:59 pm
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    OMG I just read about James White’s father passing away! From what I understand he died in a car accident. I’m glad the New England Patriots are allowing him to skip the game. I hope James finds peace.

    Reply

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