Tomorrow what is arguably the most important regular season game in the 2013 will take place in Seattle. There has been two weeks of buildup for this one and I just want to see the kickoff. At a certain point building excitement leads to impatience and I think that I’m not alone in reaching that point as a Seahawks fan. However, duty calls, so as per every week I’m going to take a look at the matchups that could decide this one and, as a result, possibly the top seed in the NFC.
Matchup #1: Max Unger vs. Brodrick Bunkley
If the Seahawks are going to win this game chances are they are going to need to run the ball effectively. When you are going up against a 3-4 defense like Rob Ryan’s the key to moving the ball on the ground is usually moving the nose tackle. That’s where Unger comes in. Brodrick Bunkley is not the traditional 330 pound behemoth you normally seen in the middle of a 3-4 defense. At 6-2 305 he compensates for with a little more agility but he’s a guy that Unger should be able to handle given he lacks superlative size and strength. In a battle between two guys of similar physical dimensions I’ll bet on the guy who was an All-Pro last year even if he’s struggled a bit with injuries this year.
Matchup #2: Earl Thomas vs. Kenny Stills
Even at the best of times the Seahawks secondary can sometimes struggle with pure speed guys, like they did with T.Y. Hilton this year. Enter Kenny Stills and his 21.4 yards per reception. Stills is a big play threat on a team where defense have to focus on someone else (Jimmy Graham) which gives him big opportunities. When it comes to preventing that huge play Earl Thomas is arguably the best in the business and he has the wheels to stick with a speedster like Stills. The Seahawks can’t allow any cheap touchdowns and Stills is the guy that Thomas needs to keep an eye on.
Matchup #3 Russell Okung vs. Cameron Jordan
It’s great to write Okung’s name down here again but he faces a tough challenger in Cameron Jordan this week. Jordan is breaking out in his third year with 9.5 sacks already this season. He is one of those rare players that can get a big pass rush at a relatively stout 6-4 287 lbs. Jordan will test Okung’s strength and his quickness and the Seahawk’s tackle will have to be 100% to keep up. One would tend to trust Okung against most guys, but Jordan is a real beast and it’s hard to tell how healthy Okung is. The Saints bring too much pressure from everywhere for the Seahawks to consistently put two men on Jordan so Okung will have to hold up.
I’ve been looking forward to this game for quite some time. It promises to be everything the fans are expecting. On Monday we’ll see a clash of the titans, hopefully the right one comes up on top.