The Seattle Seahawks take their three-game winning streak into Arrowhead Stadium this weekend to take on the 6-3 Kansas City Chiefs.
More from Seattle Seahawks News
- 4 prospects Seahawks could reach for at No. 20 in 2023 NFL Draft
- Seattle Seahawks Mock Draft: Post-first wave of free agency
- Seahawks podcast: A review of the first week of free agency
- 4 experiments the Seattle Seahawks could cut short in 2023
- 3 pros and cons of Seattle Seahawks drafting Anthony Richardson
It’s rare that these teams meet in the regular season — in fact, the last time these teams played was 2010.
But with the season coming to the home stretch, it’s a game both teams need to win.
I spoke with Mr. Ben Nielsen, one of the editors of ArrowheadAddict.com, our FanSided brother who covers everything Chiefs.
Here is our conversation:
1. The Chiefs defense has been solid against the passing game but a little shaky against the run game this year. Does Marshawn Lynch concern you or do you think the Chiefs will shut him down?
Marshawn Lynch terrifies me.
It isn’t that the Chiefs are bad against the run, it’s that they are bad against power running games. Lynch is the best power back in football and is running behind an offensive line that is built to succeed in those situations. That’s not a good combination for the Chiefs.
The key is the performance of backup middle linebackers James-Michael Johnson and Josh Mauga. Both of KC’s starting inside linebackers have been out for the vast majority of the season due to injuries – Derrick Johnson ruptured his achilles in week one and Joe Mays required surgery on his wrist after a preseason injury. Mays is back on the active roster but he did not play a single snap on defense last week, so it’s up to JMJ and Mauga to play their best game of the season in run defense.
The trump card here is if Dontari Poe and Allen Bailey team up to do something on the defensive line that they haven’t shown in earlier games. Poe is a beast in the middle of the defensive line and Bailey is an ascending player against the run. Maybe defensive coordinator Bob Sutton does some things with them to help improve the Chiefs chances and put JMJ and Mauga in better position to make plays. That’s sort of what we’re holding out hope for if the Chiefs can’t get an early lead.
2. Do you think the Chiefs offense will test Seattle’s Legion of Boom or rely more on their outstanding run game?
The Chiefs don’t throw the ball downfield. Alex Smith has attempted only 12 passes beyond 20 yards all season, which is insane when you consider the current landscape of the NFL.
In some ways Smith is a lot like Russell Wilson: he’s not going to turn the ball over, he’s going to make the smart play, he’s going to get the ball to an open receiver or he’s going to use his legs to pick up the yards available to him. I don’t anticipate the Chiefs trying to do more than what the Seahawks make available to them.
The one exception here could be Travis Kelce with Bobby Wagner out for Sunday’s game. Kelce is a matchup nightmare for many teams because of his size, speed, and agility. If the Chiefs get a good matchup with Kelce against a linebacker downfield then I could see the Chiefs being aggressive there.
But, like you said, this game probably comes down to the Chiefs establishing Jamaal Charles and Knile Davis. Kansas City is catching a break with Wagner out and Kam Chancellor banged up, so I’d imagine we may see a little more of Davis than we typically see.
3. We know about Jamaal Charles and his unearthly running style, but who is a lesser-known player on offense, defense or special teams the Seahawks should watch out for?
On offense it is Travis Kelce. One could make a strong argument he is already a top five tight end in football and could end up being a Pro Bowl selection at the end of the season. Deadspin recently did a thing on him as potentially being the next revolution at the tight end position. After watching him for nine games it is hard to not think that’s a possibility for him.
(Honorable mention is De’Anthony Thomas, but all of you football people in the Northwest should be pretty aware of him, I’d think.)
On defense, and I can’t believe I’m typing this, it would be Ron Parker. Parker filled in for Eric Berry after he went down and in some ways has stole his job from him. He’s very fast, is a consistent tackler, and finds a way to make at least one big play a game. He nearly single-handedly won KC’s game at Buffalo on Sunday with a forced fumble on Bryce Brown and three passes defended in a four down sequence from the Chiefs’ own 15-yard line late in the fourth quarter.
I believe he did two separate tours with the Seahawks. What you remember of him then is not true of him now. He’s a much different player.
Kansas City’s special teams may be the difference in this game. Thomas and Davis are both electric in the return game, and part of that is because of Anthony Sherman. Sherman is KC’s fullback who plays a big role on special teams in all four phases. Special teams is definitely a ‘secret weapon’ of sorts for the Chiefs.
4. What is one of Kansas City’s biggest weaknesses the Seahawks would be wise to exploit?
Aside from their inability to slow down power running games, the Chiefs really don’t have a glaring weakness in terms of team play. The Chiefs’ offensive line is abysmal but Andy Reid has done a really good job scheming around that weakness. The combination of the Chiefs being able to get the ball out to receivers quickly, plus Smith’s running ability, plus Jamaal Charles makes dealing with the likes of Mike McGlynn and Ryan Harris much easier.
The reason why the Chiefs are where they are at the moment is because they’re really not bad or great at anything. They play disciplined, smart football, don’t commit turnovers or penalties, and generally don’t do things to beat themselves. They’re just a tough team.
But if Seattle can establish Lynch and pair that with finding a way to take advantage of KC’s offensive line then Seattle should have a good shot at coming away with a win.
5. What do you predict will be the final score of Sunday’s game and why?
Well, I’m going to pick the Chiefs because if I don’t I’ll be disemboweled, but I do think this has the potential to be one of the best games of the year in the NFL.
Both teams are very similar on offense, have strong defenses, and are well coached. Add in the fact the Chiefs are at home and the urgency around here for a signature win over a team like Seattle to prove the Chiefs are ‘for real,’ and Sunday has a chance to be very entertaining.
A winning situation involves getting an early lead, forcing Seattle to shy away from Lynch earlier than they’d like, and getting a big play either out of their special teams or on defense. Given the matchups I don’t think that is something that’s impossible for the Chiefs to do, especially at home.
Final score: 24-21, Chiefs win.
Special thanks, again, to Mr. Ben Nielsen from ArrowheadAddict.com for taking the time to share his thoughts on the Chiefs-Seahawks Week 11 matchup.