“Best-Ever” (?) Seahawks Defense Faces Biggest Test Yet
The Tacoma News-Tribune‘s Dave Boling is my favorite local football columnist, but talk about jumping the gun. “Seahawks’ D might be the best they’ve ever had“? Two games into the season? C’mon.
Although…if the Seahawks D can check Aaron Rodgers and the Packers on Monday Night Football, I’ll be willing to concede the point. Green Bay had the NFL’s best offense last season–one of the top five offenses of the past 20 years, according to Football Outsiders. Rodgers won the NFL’s MVP award. His strength is analyzing defenses at the snap and quickly getting the ball to open receivers, who extend the gain with runs after the catch. Last year, they were nearly impossible to stop.
So the Seahawks may have a chance to pull off a season-defining performance. Their strengths are speed and physicality–the antidote to a short-passing attack. As we saw against Dallas, the Seahawks fly to the football, delivering brutal hits and limiting yards after catch. They’ll get a little bit of a break, as Packers’ star receiver Greg Jennings looks likely to miss the game. And let’s not forget the completely meaningless fact that the Seahawks are the best Monday Night Football team in the NFL! Can I get a what-what?!
Of course, the Hawks will have to score, too, and that might be a problem. Packers’ edge rusher Clay Matthews (who Pete Carroll coached at USC) has six sacks already in 2012…that is, three times more than the entire Seahawks team.
Matthews switched from right outside linebacker to left outside linebacker this year, so he’s rushing the quarterback’s blind side. He’s also matched up against the opposing team’s best offensive tackle–and he’s been making them look silly. He beat 49ers left tackle Joe Staley for 2.5 sacks and Bears left tackle J’Marcus Webb for 3.5.
Now it’s Russell Okung’s turn to try to stop Matthews. Okung missed the Dallas game with a bruised knee, but practiced this week. Hopefully he’s at top speed, or Russell Wilson will be eating field turf all day.
The Huskies are off this week, they host a night game against #9 Stanford next Thursday.
Your Washington State Cougars are in a rare place–18.5 point favorites in a conference road game. The Cougs haven’t covered a spread this big in a conference road game in 20 years, so maybe a decent bet? Their opponent, Colorado, is reeling after an embarrassingly huge loss to Fresno State last week. It looks like Connor Halliday has claimed the Cougs’ starting QB job after a good performance subbing for the injured Jeff Tuel last week.
If you’re free after work tonight, perhaps you’d like to see the nation’s #2 high-school quarterback play? QB Max Browne, headed to USC next year, leads Skyline High against Roosevelt at Seattle Center’s Memorial Stadium at 5 pm tonight. Weird time for Skyline, school was cancelled Thursday after someone posted, on the Internet, a threat to shoot the school’s jocks. Roosevelt is surprisingly frisky this year, having beaten Seattle Prep and Nathan Hale.
Follow @SethKolloen on Twitter for random sports observations and the ever-popular #randomjerseysightings.