The Seahawks are surprisingly 2.5-point underdogs against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this week. Although the Seahawks have looked like the much better football team, oddsmakers believe the Bucs are turning the corner following a 16-13 come-from-behind win over the Rams. Regardless this should be a competitive matchup in Munich, Germany. Okay, we cheated a little on the headline. It’s the first game that counts. Alright, here are three keys to a Seattle victory.
1. Put pressure on Tom Brady
Brady has done a magnificent job throughout his career getting the ball out early on his throws. He has typically had a great offensive line protect him from pressures and sacks, which has helped him play into his mid-40s. This year, however, his offensive line in Tampa has suffered several key injuries and made him prone to pass rushers. The Seahawks rank in the top five in sacks with 27 on the season. They will need to have a big game on Sunday against Brady, who is averaging 44 passing attempts a game.
2. Protect Geno Smith
Tampa Bay also has a great pass rush with 29 sacks on the season led by former Washington Huskies Vita Vea with 6.5 sacks and Joe Tryon-Shoyinka with 2.5 sacks. The Seahawks rookie tackles will likely face their toughest test all season. The Seahawks will need to do a good job running the football to keep game-wrecker Vita Vea at bay. Kenneth Walker III had 109 yards rushing last week against Arizona. Seattle will need a repeat performance of that this week, so Geno does not have to drop back and pass the ball as much. There’s every reason to think Walker will do just that.
3. Create turnovers and protect the football
The Seahawks have done a fantastic job of forcing turnovers on defense this season ranking fifth in the league in takeaways with 15. However, the Bucs have done well at taking care of the football and are tied for second for the fewest giveaways with seven this year. The Bucs were one of the best teams last year at taking the ball away finishing tied for fifth with 29 takeaways. Although this year they have not created takeaways as frequently, posting only nine takeaways, 23rd in the league. Tom Brady loves capitalizing off short fields, so it is imperative the Seahawks take good care of the ball this week.
The theme of this game is experience vs. youth given the fact there are so many veterans on the Bucs offense and the youth of the Seahawks defense and offense. Can the Seahawks rookies rise to the occasion again? We’ll see.