EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

October 14, 2012

Pats vs. Seahawks: Sizing 'em up


The Eagle-Tribune

---- — PATRIOTS (3-2) vs. SEAHAWKS (-2)

Today, 4:05 p.m., at CenturyLink Field, Seattle

TV: Ch. 4 (Ian Eagle and Dan Fouts)

Radio: 98.5 FM The Sports Hub (Gil Santos and Scott Zolak)

The series: Patriots lead 8-7, .

Last meeting: Patriots 24, Seahawks 21; Dec. 7, 2008, at Qwest Field, Seattle

Latest line: Pats -3.5; Over/under total: 44.5

2012 STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN

Patriots%%Seahawks

2-2%Record%2-2

1st, AFC East%Standings%Tie-2nd, NFC West

439.4 (1)%Offense%287.2 (27)

165.4 (3)%Rushing%140.2 (7)

274.0 (9)%Passing%147.0 (31)

373.8 (22)%Defense%258.6 (1)

82.2 (8)%Rushing%66.6 (3)

291.6 (30)%Passing%192.0 (5)

+10%Turnover margin%-1

BY THE NUMBERS

Patriots

10 -- Wes Welker’s next game with 10-plus catches will be his 15th and tie him for the top spot on the all-time list with the incomparable Jerry Rice.

98 -- Games in which Tom Brady has thrown at least two touchdown passes. In those games, the Pats are 83-15.

100 -- If he can run for over 100 yards today, Stevan Ridley will become the first Patriot to go over the century mark in three consecutive weeks since Curtis Martin did it five straight games in 1995.

Seahawks

7 -- Current Seahawks who were on the team in 2009. Contrast that to Pats, who have 16 players from that team, with anchors Tom Brady (2000), Vince Wilfork (2004) and Logan Mankins (2005) with the club for considerably longer.

7 -- Career kick return TDs by Seattle special teams threat Leon Washington. He is second in the NFL this year at 34.3 yards per return.

75 -- Overall pick number for rookie QB Russell Wilson, who was taken in the third round. Wilson was one of five rookie signal-callers to start on opening day. The others were first-rounders Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, Brandon Weeden and Ryan Tannehill.

Keys for the Patriots

1. Maintain your integrity -- Russell Wilson can beat you with his legs. The Patriots have played a lot of zone defense this year, with pass coverage facing the QB and nullifying any scrambling should the pocket break down. Stick with that philosophy and let nothing behind you.

2. Win the battle -- The key stat of the week is turnovers, something the Pats have dominated this year, especially in the past two games. Protect the football, Stevan Ridley. And make sound, Tom Brady-like decisions, and this team should be fine.

3. Goad Seahawks into run -- Don’t know about you but weapons like Golden Tate and Sidney Rice scare me, especially with the Pats’ secondary. Dare Pete Carroll to run the football. The Seahawks won’t be patient enough to stick with it, and they will make mistakes.

Hector Longo’s prediction: Patriots 26, Seahawks 9 (3-2 straight up; 2-3 vs. the spread)

Analysis: On paper, the Seahawks, especially with a lively crowd behind them, should provide a stern test. Two major gaps in the Seattle success story, though. Pete Carroll goes against Bill Belichick. Russell Wilson goes against Bill Belichick.

The Seahawks coach and QB simply won’t pay enough attention to detail to beat a Belichick-led group. Tom Brady’s numbers may not be gaudy, but the offense will be effective enough, and Seattle’s offense will make plenty of mistakes.