The Seattle Seahawks aren’t in desperation mode just yet, seeing as they’re 4-2-1 and sitting atop the NFC West. However, with the way Russell Wilson and the offense have struggled, the Seahawks have hardly played up to their expectations. Fortunately, they’ll get a chance to improve their record in a situation that was made for them on Monday night against the Buffalo Bills.
The Seahawks will play host to Rex Ryan’s squad in primetime as the Bills will make the long trip West to CenturyLink Field. Coming off of back-to-back losses, the Bills desperately need a win, but it will be tough to come by.
The Seahawks will move to 5-2-1 when it’s all said and done, and here are three reasons why.
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Buffalo lacks depth at wide receiver
The Bills have one of the worst wide receiving groups in the NFL. It wouldn’t be nearly as bad if Sammy Watkins were healthy, but that’s simply not the case. Instead, they have Justin Hunter, Robert Woods, Marquise Goodwin and, wait for it, Percy Harvin at wideout. Not exactly the most reliable group to be throwing to. Their lack of talent and depth will become especially evident against the Seahawks on Monday night.
Richard Sherman will eliminate their top receiver, allowing DeShawn Shead and Jeremy Lane to pick up Taylor’s lesser targets. Taylor doesn’t always have success when his No. 1 option is taken away, either. He’s not like Andrew Luck and the better quarterbacks where he can go through his progressions with ease and make the proper read.
The Bills have relied on big plays and their ground game offensively this season, neither of which will be an easy aspect of Buffalo’s game plan to execute this week. The Seahawks have been great in both departments thanks to their outstanding secondary and defensive line.
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Seattle is great against the run
The Bills are built upon their ability to run the ball. It was the case last season, and it remains true this season. They lead the league with 1,233 rushing yards in 2016 after pacing the NFL a year ago, too. Unfortunately, they’re in danger of not having their leading rusher against Seattle’s stout run defense on Monday night. LeSean McCoy has been battling a hamstring injury for the past few weeks, resulting in just 11 rushing yards since Week 7. He’s not certain to play Monday, which would be a huge blow for the Bills.
Even if he does play, Buffalo will have a hard time running the ball against the Seahawks. Seattle has allowed the fifth-fewest rushing yards in the NFL, surrendering just 3.4 yards per carry. They won’t have Michael Bennett on the field, but Frank Clark and Cliff Avril are more than capable of holding their own at defensive end. If the Bills can’t run the ball, their offense sputters.
Tyrod Taylor isn’t a reliable pocket passer who can throw it 40 times a game and rack up 350 yards on a regular basis. He needs his backs to establish the run and set up the pass in order to have success.
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Seattle is unbeatable at home
Put simply, the Seahawks are nearly unbeatable at home, particularly under Russell Wilson. In games that he’s started, the Seahawks are 30-5 at CenturyLink Field. He’s completed 64 percent of his passes in those games with 56 touchdowns and just 16 interceptions. His passer rating is 102.8 at home as he’s noticeably better in Seattle than he is on the road.
He also shines on Monday Night Football. In five primetime games on Monday night, Wilson is 5-0. He has 10 touchdowns and zero interceptions with a ridiculous passer rating of 123.5. Wilson has always been a clutch performer, particularly when the lights are shining brightest and he’s the center of attention.
Wilson hasn’t played well this season (five touchdowns, two interceptions with a 91.5 passer rating) by his standards, but he also hasn’t gotten much help from his teammates – namely his offensive line. That’s not to say playing in primetime will make his pass blockers any better, but it does suggest he’ll step up in the moment and play some of his best football.
It’s just so difficult for a team to go into Seattle and win a game. And considering the Bills are making the cross-country trip to do so, the odds are even further in their favor. The game will feel especially late for them given the time difference, which is sure to have a negative impact on them. It’s not often East Coast teams head to the West Coast for a primetime Monday night game.