The Seattle Seahawks travel to the land of country music on Christmas Eve to play the Tennessee Titans in Week 16. The game is an early start for 12s as kickoff is set for 10 am PT, but at least if your favorite team has to play on Christmas Eve the game is over early. Let's just hope the joy we feel about Christmas (assuming that many do feel joy about Christmas) is the same kind of joy we will feel after a Seattle victory.
Seattle is 7-7 and Tennessee is 5-9. The Titans have already been eliminated from playoff competition. Seattle, however, is still alive for a playoff spot and they will likely get there should they win their final three regular season games. That starts with Week 16, of course.
Tennessee has a decent defense, though not much of an offense. That said, veteran quarterback Ryan Tannehill is likely to start for the Titans and Seattle has struggled with veteran backup quarterbacks coming in and making a mess of things. Let's hope that doesn't happen in Week 16, but here are three other matchups that could decide the outcome.
Derrick Henry versus Bobby Wagner and the Seahawks run defense
Say what you will about Bobby Wagner's coverage skills as they are not that good, but he does nearly everything else well. According to Pro Football Focus (subscription required), Wagner is the second-highest-graded linebacker in 2023 in terms of run defense. The future Hall of Famer has always been a beast when it comes to helping slow the run and he will need to be at his best against a Titans team that runs the ball the seventh-most in the league.
Obviously, stopping the run against the Titans means trying to slow running back Derrick Henry. While he is not having his best season, likely due to a bad offensive line, Henry is still a terrifically dangerous back. If Henry was on the Seahawks, he would lead the team this year in rushing yards (884), rushing touchdowns (10), and yards from scrimmage (1,087).
Tennessee wants to be a physical team that tires defenses. If they are allowed to keep drives alive and dominate time of possession, they will do just that. But Seattle does seem to have done worse against finesse teams, like the San Francisco 49ers, than the bullish teams, so let's hope Seattle can shut down Derrick Henry and leave Nashville with a victory.