Aug 30, 2012; Seattle, WA, USA; General view of CenturyLink Field and the downtown Seattle skyline during the NFL game between the Oakland Raiders and Seattle Seahawks. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-US PRESSWIRE

NFL Picks and Predictions: New England Patriots at Seattle Seahawks

It’s Friday, so it’s time to finally announce my empirically based prediction for this week’s Seahawks game using the ratings from Pro Football Focus.This game looks like it’s shaping up to be a game we’ve seem already. The parallels between this and the game against the Packers in week 3 are uncanny.

When the Seahawks have the ball

After a much improved game against the Panthers, the Seahawks offense has move up to -4.8. It’s still bad, but much better than it was before. Taking into account that -6.9 comes from penalties, and that -10.1 comes from a player who no longer sees the field (Sweezy), and you can see that there’s some room for hope.

The problem here is that the Patriots are no slouches on defense this year. Their 32.4 overall rating is actually surprisingly good. If there’s any hope for the Seahawks, its that the Patriots pass rush is rather weak 0.7. Russell Wilson’s struggles have mostly come when he’s under pressure. When he has time he’s actually been decent.

When the Patriots have the ball

The Pats come into the game with the #2 offense in the league with a 65.2 rating, and are matched up against the Seattle’s #1 overall offense with a 91.7. This might be the biggest strength against strength matchup we’ll see all year. There is nothing that either unit does poorly, but if there is an advantage to be found amongst the data, is that that Patriots pass protection is “only” at 6.3 while the Seahawk pass rush is at 43.1.

Normally in situations likes this, the advantage goes to the elite QB. The problem with that is that the Seahawks have made a habit of crushing all QBs this season, even elite ones like Green Bay’s Aaron Rogers.

Ultimately, this matchup will be decided by something not in the ratings: How do the Seahawks handle the no-huddle the Patriots use. If the tempo works against the Seahawks, they will be able to move the ball. If not, it’ll just hasten the pace that the Seahawks offense gets to come back out on the field.

Special Teams

It should be no surprise that the Seahawks are good on special teams. Their 19.9 rating is among the best the league. The Patrios come in with a slightly below average 9.2 rating on the year. That’s more than 2 points per game difference, which is a lot. Leon Washington could end up having a big game.

Overall Evaluation

This game is most likely going to look a lot like Green Bay game; a low scoring, ugly, defensive showdown that comes down to the end of the game. In these cases, I simply can’t take the rookie QB over someone like Brady. Unless Leon Washington has a TD on special teams, I can’t give this one to the Seahawks.*

Patriots 17 – 16 Seahawks

* Take solace in the fact that I’m usually wrong in picking Seahawks results.

 

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