The offseason has been grueling, long, slow, and its finally here. The first preseason Seahawks game. At last we get to see our boys in the blue and green put some hits on guys, and see our offense run over opposing defenses.
In the first game, we get to see three former Seahawks return to CenturyLink field, but this time they are guests. Matt Hasselbeck, Jordan Babineaux, and Steve Hutchinson all had some good years in Seattle, but 2012 won’t be one of those years. Babineaux was a good safety for the Seahawks, but he has been replaced with the hard-hitting Kam Chancellor. Hasselbeck was a cornerstone here in Seattle, but the Seahawks have brought in another former Packer named Matt to compete for the starting QB spot. Hutchinson, well, we’ll just leave it at that.
The Seahawks were facing the Titans in their first preseason game. They have a lot of similarities to the Seahawks, finishing 3rd in the AFC South, the Seahawks finished 3rd in the NFC West. Both teams are having a QB controversy, with the Titans having Hasselbeck, and former Husky, Jake Locker battling it out. Here in Seattle, we have a three-way split between Flynn, Wilson, and Jackson. The Titans have an extraordinary RB in Chris Johnson, while Seattle has Lynch.
Seeing as how this is just a preseason game to some, to other’s, it’s not. For the Seahawks this is the first game of many to prove what the new team is capable of. There won’t be a whole lot of game time for the perceived starters, but this is the opportunity for the guys who are scratching and fighting to make this roster here in Seattle. The Seahawks currently hold a roster of 90 men, and in a few short weeks, have to tear that down to the season roster of 53. That means 37 of them who are breaking their backs every day in camp aren’t going to be here in a few weeks.
Welcome to the NFL.
The Titans scored an average of 20.3 points per game last year (NFL.com), the Seahawks scored 20.1. They also put up an average of 245.2 passing yards per game compared to Seahawks 194.1. Seattle managed 109.8 rushing yards per game, while the Titans eked out a measly 89.9 rushing yards. In total, the Titans put up 335.1 yards per game, whereas the Seahawks only managed 303.8 yards per game. None of these stats are really that far apart in making a final decision on who will win.
The Titans QB situation is a fairly usual one. An older capable bodied QB manning the helm for many years, and a young gun, looking to jumpstart his new career. We are familiar with Hasselbeck, as he played here in Seattle for many, many years, but last year his numbers were great. He was 319/518 for 3571 yards with 18 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. If you give him room and give him a line to protect him, he will pick your defense apart. Hasselbeck has always been smart and accurate. Locker, the assumed second in command, was even more accurate than Hasselbeck was. Locker went 34/66 for 542 yards with 4 touchdowns, and no interceptions. While he didn’t see nearly as much playing time, it’s a well-known fact his time is coming.
Chris Johnson is an extremely fast back. In his 5th season with Tennessee, Johnson has put up 4 seasons of over 1000 yards rushing each season. Last season was his worst season statistically (NFL.com) his average was 4.0 yards a carry. He is a threat on the ground as well through the air. He put up a 4.24(40 yard dash) in the draft making him very explosive. Marshawn Lynch is in his 6th Season, third with the Seahawks. Last year Lynch ran up 1204 yards, making him the first back in Seattle to amass over 1000 since Shaun Alexander in 2007. Lynch, as well all know is a bruising back and he doesn’t quit. He will run through defenses with his power and then blast by with his 4.46 speed he posted at the combine. Starting Center Eugene Amano is lost for the season on a torn triceps in training camp.
The three keys to a Seahawks win are :
1- RUN the ball.
2- Control the turnovers.
3- Pressure the QB’s.
These might seem a little generic, but if the Seahawks are looking to open the preseason up with a win, they have to control these. Lynch running the rock and controlling the clock is the easiest way to take pressure off whatever QB the Seahawks have controlling the helm. The defense is going to be very focused on shutting down Lynch, which in turn will make the defense vulnerable to the pass. Lynch being able to run well is a huge difference maker.
The Seahawks have proven that if they win the turnover battle they have a good chance of winning the game. Their defense with the young secondary is going to be hungry for interceptions and forced fumbles. If they can manage to pick Hasselbeck or Locker off at least once they stand a very good chance of taking home a W. Lastly, the Seahawks defense line HAS to manage to pressure the Titans QB’s. Whether it comes from the inside from Jones and Mebane, or from the outside where Clemons, Irvin, or Bryant are combining, it has to be there. The Seahawks don’t have to amass twelve sacks in this game, but they do have to be in the backfield making both Hasselbeck and Locker uncomfortable. Making these two uncomfortable will make it increasingly easier for the secondary to pick passes off.
Seeing that all of these come together, with these three things mentioned above, my opinion is that the Seahawks easily win this game 31-17.