Tomorrow the Seahawks face a Dallas team that looked downright terrifying in Week 1, defeating the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants in their season opener by a score of 24-17. Tony Romo continues to put up great numbers and has an excellent array of weapons this year that will pose a big challenge to the talented Seahawks secondary. Although the Seahawks have a lot of dangerous skill players to contain, this game is likely to be won or lost in the trenches. The embattled Seahawks offensive line will need to rebound if Seattle is to have a chance in this game and as such they are the focus of this week’s edition of the “Matchups of the Game”.
Matchup #1: Russell Okung vs. Demarcus Ware
Facing Demarcus Ware is a daunting task at the best of times, but doing it while playing injured is a nightmare. Okung was a full participant in practice on Friday but is listed as questionable and you get sense he’s playing hurt. It’s a shame because Okung has all the talent in the world but just can’t seem to have any luck in terms of injuries. Even if he was healthy he would have his hands full with Ware who is probably the best pass rusher in the NFL with 101.5 sacks in 113 career games. He’s led the NFL in sacks twice and posted 19.5 last year. The reality is that Okung is likely going to need help from TE’s or RB’s if Wilson is going to survive the game. The possibilities for this matchup probably range from a more than respectable stalemate for Okung to ugliness reminiscent of what happened to Chicago in the Thursday night game depending on how Okung’s knee feels.
Matchup #2: Breno Giacomini vs. Anthony Spencer
With Ware coming on the blindside on most downs Giacomini should be seeing a lot of Spencer this Sunday. He will probably have to do so without help as anyone left in to pass protect will be looking to help Okung out with Demarcus Ware. Giacomini struggled mightily in Week 1 and needs a strong performance to secure his starting spot. Frank Omiyale isn’t an especially attractive alternative but Giacomini has yet to establish himself as a starter in the NFL and what we saw last week isn’t acceptable. That being said it was only one game and everyone is entitled to a mulligan. Spencer is a player who is often talked about as someone who could break out rushing across from Demarcus Ware, but he is 28 now and has never exceeded 6 sacks in a season. I think that makes a breakout fairly unlikely at this point, more likely Spencer has settled in as a solid starter and moderate pass rushing threat. If Giacomini can’t deal with a player like that we should be asking ourselves why he’s starting at RT. As a converted TE Giacomini should have the quickness to compete 3-4 OLBs like Spencer and I’d like to see him erase his man this week
Matchup #3: Marcus Trufant vs. Kevin Ogletree
The nickel corner may not technically be considered a starter but in today’s passing heavy NFL it is an enormously important position. I think the jury’s out on what Trufant has left, but he has carved out a role for himself on this team despite Pete Carroll’s aptitude for finding young, talented and inexpensive defensive backs. His opposition this week is fantasy football darling Kevin Ogletree. After a shocking 114 yard 2 TD performance against the Giants Ogletree has put himself on the national radar and as the 3rd WR in Dallas’s stacked offense he has a chance to have a solid year. I’m not quite believing he’s the next big thing though as he has been around since 2009 and had only 294 receiving yards to his credit over his first three seasons. This week will provide insight into the real Kevin Ogletree and with any luck Trufant will reveal him to be a flash in the pan.
The Seahawks are in for a very difficult game tomorrow and although it’s too early to call any game a must-win, going 0-2 would be a serious impediment to any playoff aspirations. If the offensive line can keep it together perhaps we can see the Russell Wilson we came to know and love during the preseason. If not, it’s going to be a long day.