Nov 13, 2011; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks tackle Russell Okung (76) defends against Baltimore Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs (55) at CenturyLink Field. The Seahawks defeated the Ravens 22-17. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-US PRESSWIRE
Today the Seahawks return to the friendly confines of the Clink to take on one of the surprise teams of the season. The Vikings, led by the seemingly indestructible Adrian Peterson, are a formidable opponent but I fully expect the Seahawks to rise to the challenge. Seattle is undefeated at home so far this year and look to keep it that way in order to avoid slipping to 4-5. Let’s take a look at some of the important matchups for today’s game.
Seattle Kickoff Coverage Unit vs. Percy Harvin
The Seahawks tend to field very competent coverage units but today they will have their hands full. Harvin is enough of a headache as a receiver/rusher multi-purpose offensive threat but he’s also downright scary as a kick returner. Harvin has an absolutely ridiculous 35.7 yards a return this year. If that sounds unsustainable consider that he led the league with 32.5 last year. For a frame of reference, our very own elite kickoff return man, Leon Washington, has a career kick return average of 25.7 and his best single season mark is 29.8 which is this year. Percy Harvin is terrifying. The Seahawks need to prevent him from dictating field position all day with disciplined coverage.
Russell Okung vs. Jared Allen
Okung’s season has looked a lot worse than it has actually been due to an unfortunate number of penalties. Okung is a fine LT, whether he’s fine enough to shut down Jared Allen might be a different matter altogether. Allen is coming off a monstrous 22 sack season last year and shows little sign of slowing down with 7 so far this year. Although he recently turned 30 Allen does not appear to be losing a step and has elite athleticism and tenacity. Okung may need some help today from TE’s and RB’s today to keep Allen under control. There is no shame in that. Allen is one of the best defensive players in football right now and as long as Okung can prevent him from wreaking havoc in the backfield all day I’d be happy. Allen will make a play or two today, there is no way to erase him, but he must not take over. Playing against guys like Jared Allen makes me nostalgic for the days of Walter Jones but we make do with what we have…. which happens to be a very talented young LT.
Breno Giacomini vs. Brian Robison
There may be something I’m missing but Giacomini just does not strike me as a quality tackle. That being said the Seahawks need a quality performance today. Jared Allen is likely to occupy the attention of any TE’s or RB’s Seahawks leave in to block. That leaves Giacomini alone with Robison. Robison isn’t a huge threat like Allen but he’s no chump either. He recorded 8 sacks last year and is on pace for the same this year. Giacomini has a lot of size on the smallish Robison (6-3 259) which hopefully he can use to overpower him. Robison is an unheralded but solid veteran who is capable of doing some damage and Giacomini needs to contain him because there will be no help for him. If there is help for him that means that Okung is alone with Allen which the Seahawks can’t afford. Here’s to hoping Giacomini will render Robison quiet rather than quietly effective as he has been this year.
Some of the magic surrounding the Vikings has dissipated in wake of their embarrassing loss to the Buccaneers last week but this is a quality team. One of the best teams in the NFC in fact. The Seahawks could be in a race with them for a wild card spot later this year, which adds importance to this matchup. Let’s not get ahead ourselves though. Let’s just win today.