Seattle Seahawks Preview: Can Defense Dominate Rams on the Road in Week 7?

We are five weeks into the NFL season, and it has been an up and down ride for the Seattle Seahawks.  It started with the opening game of the year, where the Seahawks picked up exactly where they left off in the Super Bowl and punished the Green Bay Packers at home 36-16.  That was supposed to be a defining game for the Hawks, but instead we have seen some inconsistencies that have led the Seahawks to a 3-2 record going into week 7.  So the question is which Seattle Seahawks team are we going to see on Sunday in St. Louis for a more pivotal game than most people thought?  Here are three things to look for in Sunday’s matchup:

1. Can the defense dominate?  For all the head scratching on offense and wonders of what has happened to the champs, we know this for sure:  this defense is not the defense we heralded last season.  The loss of free agents Red Bryant and Chris Clemons have left a void in the pass rush, which facilitated much of the turnover battles that the Seahawks prided themselves on winning each week last year.  Watching the Cowboys game last Sunday left me thinking about the good old days, when Michael Bennett or Cliff Avril would have their way with opposing offensive linemen and intimidate quarterbacks, forcing mistakes.  Not anymore.  This week, the Seahawks are facing a team with a young offensive line and a 3rd string quarterback, so this could be the perfect antidote to get the pass rush back on track.

Another part of the defense that needs to improve is the Legion of Boom.  This aspect of the defense was a no brainer in the past.  You threw it against Seattle, and you better hope that it doesn’t either get picked off or a receiver gets scraped off the turf from a massive hit laid out by a member of the LOB.  With injuries to Jeremy Lane and Byron Maxwell, all of a sudden the LOB is as thin as we have seen for some time.  With Therold Simon, the 2nd year corner out of LSU, returning from injury the Seahawks should get some much needed help.

2.  Can the offense get back on track?  For all the weapons that the Seahawks have on offense, Sunday showed us that if you do not have a game plan it will not matter.  This is an offense that includes Marshawn Lynch, a bruising running back that punishes defenses and wears them down and feasts on them in the 2nd half of games, a healthy game changer receiver in Percy Harvin, who has insane speed and can line up anywhere on offense, and Russell Wilson, who has done nothing else but wow the entire league with his athleticism and poise, while making 31 other fan bases asking “Where was this guy on the draft radar?”

With all that talent, how can you go wrong?  It starts with the offensive line, unfortunately.  Again this season, we are seeing the champs get dominated at the line of scrimmage.  If you can’t block up front, you can’t effectively run the football and you give your quarterback no time to set up to pass.  Russell Wilson can only run for so long until defenses figure it out.  The offensive line needs to improve both its run and pass blocking for the rest of the offense to set up and explode.  Do I think that this team can score 30+ points a game?  I do.  They have too many weapons not to!  But they need time for their plays to develop.  Going against a defense such as St. Louis is a daunting task, but injuries to the defensive line will help the Seahawks this week on the road.

3.  Can the Seahawks survive the injury bug?  Last year, we saw the Seattle Seahawks survive injuries to many aspects of their lineup including their offensive line and defensive backs.  What we also saw were guys stepping up, showing the depth of this organization.  It’s time to show that “next man up” once again, as C Max Unger, LB Bobby Wagner and TE Zach Miller will not travel with the team, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN:

Adam Schefter @AdamSchefter     

Seahawks already have said LB Bobby Wagner, C Max Unger and TE Zach Miller will not play Sunday vs. St. Louis.

This means it’s step up time for the offensive line to find a way to win at the line of scrimmage on Sunday.  The good news:  The Seahawks have faced this adversity before, and I believe that Offensive Line coach Tom Cable will have his group ready to get this team back on track.

Prediction: 31-10 Seattle.  I think that the offense got a wake up call last week, and will be hungry to show the league that this team is for real.  The defense will play a bend-don’t-break style, but St. Louis does not have the fire power to put up points on this defense.

What do you think?