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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Tags: Seattle Seahawks

  • Hawk_Eye

    I think this game is going to come down to turnovers in the rain. We win with our ball-hawking defense and special teams and with Marshawn Lynch pounding the ball keeping it away from Brady. 27-17

  • Paul V. Suffriti

    Not so sure about the comparison with Green Bay and the Pats. Green Bay does not have a good running game while the Pats run the ball about 50% of the time with great success. Seattle has played against mediocre offensive teams with the exception of a one-dimensional passing attack from Green Bay. The “no huddle” is more than just a fast pace. It does not allow defenses to make key personnel changes. The Seahawks are very good at making situational down personnel changes especially on third down. When Brady sees an advantage on offense against the personnel Seattle has on the field, he will start the “no huddle” and not allow personnel changes. This will be a reality check for a defense that has not played against a high powered well balanced offense. Seattle’s defense will keep it close but their mediocre offense will not be able to win this game. also – Pats are +10 and Seattle is -1 on turnovers. Pats win 24 – 20

    • Hawk_Eye

      I’m not so sure how well the no huddle will work with 70,000 fans screaming at you? We will see…

      • Paul V. Suffriti

        When Brady sees a mismatch with the personnel Seattle has on the field he will start the “no huddle” so Seattle cannot make personnel changes. Brady and the offense has a series of 5 – 7 plays ready to go. If he wants to change the play at the line he will use hand signals to inform his players. The loud crowd will have little effect running the “no huddle”. Pats should be able to move the chains and score against Seattle.

        • Hawk_Eye

          This is all great in theory. But what exactly is the mismatch? Seattle can just cover one on one. We have 4 pro bowl players in the secondary that can match up with anyone and they all can play against the run. Explain what mismatches New England has against our defense.

          • Paul V. Suffriti

            When Seattle goes small with extra DBs to guard against the pass Brady will keep them on the field and run the ball (third best running attack). When Seattle loads the box against the run Brady will keep them on the field with the No Huddle and pick apart the secondary. By the way, no one can cover Welker, Gronk or Hernadez one on one. Seattle will get a major dose of Gronk. Too many chain moving quality targets for Seattle to cover. Reality check for Seattle’s defense.

          • Hawk_Eye

            You see that is where you are wrong, Seattle does not go small. CB Brandon Browner is 6’4″, 221, CB Richard Sherman is 6’3″ 195, SS Kam Chancelor is 6’3″ 232. These guys are all fast enough to cover any of you tight ends plus they are big enough to defend against the run. We can put Earl Thomas or Trufant on Welker. You see we don’t have to substitute players. Our base defense is good enough to cover all your guys. But where we have the advantage is our Strong defensive line is going to tear up your Average offensive line just like Arizona did. What good is having all these weapons if you don’t have time to throw it to them?

          • PVS53

            You will see what I am talking about during the game. I will be smiling watching Brady and Co. move the chains and score. You may be stunned wondering why your defense cannot stop the Pats offense. Seattle does have a good defense but a bit overrated….it will be exposed by Brady.

          • Hawk_Eye

            And I think your offensive line will get exposed. New England won’t know what hit them. Lets just call it the 12th man.