This week is Seattle’s final chance to improve on their fairly putrid road record. It comes against a Bills team that has not played up to its talent level, especially on defense, but is no pushover. The Bills are 2-2 in their last four and have played some good games this season, such as there near loss to the Patriots 37-31 on the road in Week 10. On a personal note this will be the 2nd Seahawks game I attend as they have fairly miraculously arrived in my hometown. I also saw them get annihilated 37-14 at the Meadowlands in 2004. Jerry Rice caught a touchdown in that game for Seattle…. That sentence alone is fairly descriptive of how long ago that feels. I am hoping for and fairly confident in seeing a more favorable result today. Let’s get to the matchups.
Matchup #1 Marshawn Lynch vs. Kelvin Sheppard
I can’t claim to have a good idea what’s going on in Lynch’s head but if I were him I might be a little extra motivated to show his old team what they are missing. Not that they are lacking talent at the RB position but they did give up Lynch for a song. Lynch figures to tote the ball 20+ times in this contest and goes up against a very anonymous adversary in Kelvin Sheppard. Sheppard is an unremarkable MLB charged with stopping Lynch up the middle. I don’t have enough information to tell you that Sheppard is a bad player but I can tell you that that in 21 career starts the 2nd year former 6th round pick has all of 1 sack, 0 INT’s, 2 PD, 0 FF and 1 FR. What we have here is a difference-maker against a non difference- maker and I expect Lynch to have a great deal of success against Sheppard and the other Buffalo LB’s today.
Matchup #2: Russell Okung against Mario Williams
Okung has faced many excellent pass rushers this year but I don’t think he’s faced someone as hot at Mario Williams. After taking a great deal of criticism for not living up to his record-breaking contract early in the season, Williams has been insane lately. The talented DE has 6 sacks in the last 4 games bringing his season total to a more than respectable 10.5 with 14 QB hits for good measure. Keeping Wilson protected is essential to Seattle’s success on offense and Okung has his hands full today. Williams is a physical freak in the Julius Peppers mold. He is still in his prime at 27, and the kind of talent that comes around very rarely. I imagine Okung might have some help from time to time but Pete Carroll, justifiably, has a lot of faith in his LT and tends to leave him alone. If Okung can prevent Williams from being the game changer he is capable of being Seattle will consider that a win.
Matchup #3: Breno Giacomini vs. Mark Anderson
Giacomini is a player I have targeted in this space many times, usually for good reason, and we know what he is at this point. Breno is an undisciplined below average starter at RT, that’s not why this matchup is interesting to me. Personally, I find Mark Anderson’s career path fascinating and completely confusing. As a 5th round pick in 2006, Mark Anderson exploded onto the scene as a rookie in with 12 sacks as a key cog in an unbelievable Chicago Bears defense. Then Anderson fell off the map and for four years. Between 2007 and 2010 Anderson barely beat his rookie total with 13.5 sacks or 3.4 per year. In 2011 the unpredictable DE re-emerged with 10 sacks with the Patriots. This year he has 1 sack in 5 games. At 29 Anderson is a complete enigma. Is he the elite pass rusher he has been twice in his 7 years or the utterly forgettable non-factor he’s been in 5 of them? Let’s hope it’s option two. Also helping Giacomini’s case is the fact Anderson is dealing with a knee issue that has him questionable for this game. My guess would be that Anderson will be unable to provide the bookend presence to assist Mario Williams in this game.
In this road game, sort of, it seems the Seahawks have themselves an opportunity to inch closer to the 49ers with our hated rivals looking at a probably loss at Foxborough today. What they can’t do is look forward to next week’s game that will likely be determining who takes home the division crown. There is a game to be played today and the Bills are not going to roll over like the Cardinals did last week. Although last week I said the Seahawks were in for a closer game than we thought so what do I know? Maybe I should be predicting a 58-0 blowout in order to make sure we see an entertaining close win… Whatever the case I would say that Seattle can, should and will win this game.