GAME: New England Patriots (3-2, 1st, AL East) at Seattle Seahawks (3-2, T3, NFC West). TYPE: Regular season. WEEK: 6. WHEN: Sunday, 1:05 p.m. PT, CenturyLink Field, Seattle. MEETING: 16th (Patriots lead 8-7). STREAKS: Seahawks W 1; Patriots W 2.HEAD COACHES: Bill Belichick, New England; Pete Carroll, Seattle. LINE: New England by 3.5. TV: CBS. RADIO: ESPN 710 AM, KIRO 97.3 FM.
The Seahawks' defensive unit, which has allowed an NFL-low 54 points (10.8) through five games, has two major tests looming. Sunday, Seattle hosts New England, the league's highest-scoring team, and Thursday is San Francisco, which last week became the first team in history to rush and pass for more than 300 yards in the same game.
New England's 33 points-per-game offense is directed by 35-year-old Tom Brady, who will be making the first -- and probably last -- start of his career in Seattle. Brady enters with a 102.8 passer rating.
"They’re an amazing offensive a team and a terrific defensive team in terms of getting the football," Seattle coach Pete Carroll said this week. "We really have a very difficult challenge here. All the experience in the world you can want is on their side, and it shows. They’re doing some really cool things on offense and Tom Brady is as good as you can get."
New England runs a no-huddle offense and has tailored it after the speed of the college game. Although it's been effective, the loud CenturyLink crowd might convince the Patriots not to run it.
"The 12th Man will be so crazy about trying to affect their communication that they probably wouldn’t choose to do that (no-huddle)," said Carroll, smiling at his mild sarcasm. "But if they do, we’re going to get ready for it and see if we can slow it down and handle it.”
In addition to future Hall of Famer Brady, New England features an array of offensive weapons, especially wide receiver Wes Welker, who caught 13 passes last week against Denver and has 38 receptions this season, one fewer than Seattle's top three receivers (Sidney Rice, Zach Miller and Golden Tate) have combined.
"To have those two tight ends (Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez), and the way they use them, (the Pats) max out everyone’s talent," Carroll said. "That is what Bill Belichick is great at. He gets out and tries to find the uniqueness of players, and he brings it to life.
"He developed a championship program around that mentality. It shows up in everything that they’re doing."
Seattle's major challenge defensively will keeping Brady and Patriots off the field.
“These guys have had, I think, two three-and-outs in five games," Carroll said. "That would be a major accomplishment if we could just get them out of there in three plays somehow. I don’t know how that is going to happen, because no one else could do it. I think they have 101 first downs in the last three weeks, which is an all-time record in the NFL over that time span. That is the most first downs that anyone has ever thrown together back-to back-to-back."
Brady has played just one game against Seattle, leading the Patriots to a 30-20 victory Oct. 17, 2004 at Gillette Stadium. With one TD pass against Sunday, Brady will extend his streak to 38 games with at least one touchdown pass, third all-time to Drew Brees (48 games) and Johnny Unitas (47). Brady has 48 career 300-yard games and needs one to tie Warren Moon (49) for seventh all-time.
Also worth watching: What Seattle does best offensively -- rush the ball -- is New England's defensive strength. The Patriots allow just 82.2 yards per game.
SERIES: Dates to Oct. 9, 1977, when the Patriots, sparked by Steve Grogan's three touchdown passes (to Don Hasselbeck, Russ Francis and Darryl Stingley), swamped the Seahawks 31-0. New England has won the last two in the series, most recently a 24-11 victory Dec. 7, 2008, in a game in which Seattle's Seneca Wallace threw three touchdown passes. Seattle's last win came Oct. 24, 1993, when Seattle prevailed 10-9 on a late touchdown pass from Rick Mirer to Brian Blades.
LAST MEETING (Patriots 24, Seahawks 21, Dec. 7, 2008): Matt Cassel threw for 268 yards and a touchdown and Sammy Morris scored on a one-yard run in the fourth quarter as the Patriots came from behind to defeat Seattle at CenturyLink Field. Stephen Gostkowski kicked three field goals (50, 42, 27 yards) for the Patriots, who played without the injured Tom Brady.
Seahawks: 3-2-0, T3, NFC West; scored 86 points (17.2 per game), ranking 28th; allowed 70 points (14.0 per game), 2nd; differential of +16 points ranks 11th. Patriots: 3-2-0, 1st, AFC East; scored 165 points (33.0), ranked 1st; allowed 113 (22.6), 17th; differential of +52 points ranks 5th.
SEAHAWKS HEAD COACH: Pete Carroll (50-51-0 career, 17-20-0 Seattle) is in his third season. In 2010, he directed Seattle to the NFC West title, the Seahawks becoming the first team in NFL history to win a division with a losing (7-9) record. Prior to joining the Seahawks, Carroll served as head coach at Southern California, where his Trojans won seven Pac-10 titles.
SEAHAWKS QUARTERBACKS: Russell Wilson -- at Arizona -- 18 of 34 for 153 yards, 1 TD, one INT, 62.5 passer rating; vs. Dallas -- 15 of 20, 151 yards, 1 TD, 0 INTs, 112.7 rating; vs. Green Bay -- 10 of 21 for 130 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs, 99.3 passer rating; at St. Louis -- 17 of 25, 160 yards, 0 TDs, 3 INTs, 45.8 passer rating; at Carolina -- 19 of 25, 221 yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs, 82.2 passer rating; . . . Matt Flynn -- at Arizona, DNP; vs. Dallas, DNP; vs. Green Bay, DNP; at St. Louis, DNP; at Carolina, DNP.SEAHAWKS STATS / NOTES
- SEASON SUMMARY: Record: 3-2. Home: 2-0. Road: 1-2. Vs. NFC: 3-2. Vs. AFC: 0-0. Vs. NFC East: 1-0. Vs. NFC North: 1-0. Vs. NFC South: 1-0. Vs. NFC West: 0-2. Points For: 86 (17.2). Points Against: 70 (14.0).
- NFL RANKS: Scoring Offense --17.2 (28th); Total Offense -- 287.2 (25th); Rushing Offense -- 141.3 (6th); Passing Offense -- 127.0 (32nd); Scoring Defense -- 14.0 (2nd); Total Defense -- 258.6 (5th); Rushing Defense -- 66.6 (4th); Passing Defense -- 192.0 (5th).
- INJURY REPORT: Out -- OT Jaye Howard (foot), OG John Moffitt (knee). Doubtful -- DT Clinton McDonald (groin); Probable -- RB Marshawn Lynch (back), C Max Hunger (hip).
- Heading into Week 6, Marshawn Lynch is the NFL's third-leading rusher, averaging 101.6 yards per game. Lynch has rushed for more than 100 yards in eight of his last 14 games.
- Russell Wilson's 75.3 passer rating ranks 27th and his 163.0 yards per game ranks 31st.
- Leon Washington averages 34.3 yards on kickoff returns, second to Percy Harvin of Minnesota (38.3).
- Chris Clemons is ranked sixth with 5.5 sacks.
- DE Bruce Irvin leads all rookies with 4.5 sacks.
- 12th Man Flag Raisers: Tennessee -- Steve August; Oakland -- 2012 area Summer Olympians; Dallas -- Shawn Springs; Green Bay -- Trent Dilfer.
|Total Yards||1436||25||Total Yards||2197||1|
|Yards / Game||287.2||25||Yards / Game||439.4||1|
|Rush Yards||701||7||Rush Yards||827||3|
|Rush / Game||140.2||7||Rush / Game||165.4||3|
|Pass Yards||735||31||Pass Yards||1370||6|
|Pass / Game||140.2||31||Pass / Game||274.0||6|
|Points / Game||17.2||27||Points / Game||33.0||1|
|Total Yards||1239||4||Total Yards||1869||24|
|Yards / Game||258.6||4||Yards / Game||373.8||24|
|Rush / Allw.||333.0||4||Rush / Allw.||411||T9|
|Rush / Game||66.6||4||Rush / Game||82.2||T9|
|Pass Allw.||960||7||Pass Allw.||1458||31|
|Pass / Game||192.0||7||Pass / Game||291.6||31|
|Points Allw.||70||2||Points Allw.||113||19|
|Points / Game||14.0||2||Points / Game||22.6||19|
|Tackles||Wright 35, Chancellor 32, Wagner 29|
|Sacks||Clemons 5.5, Irvin 4.5, Mebane 2.0|
|Quarterback Hits||Clemons 9, Irvin 7, Branch 4|
|Interceptions||Sherman 2, Browner 1|
|Passes Defensed||Sherman 7, Clemons 4, Mebane 3|
|Forced Fumbles||Browner 2, Robinson 2, 5 with 1|
|Fumbles Recovered||Mebane, Browner, Branch, 1|
PATRIOTS QUARTERBACKS: Tom Brady has completed 124 of 185 passes for 1,450 yards, eight touchdowns and one interception this season for a passer rating of 102.8, which ranks third. Brady has three, 300-yard games (316 vs. Arizona, 335 vs. Baltimore and 340 vs. Buffalo). He had three against the Bills. For his career, Brady has thrown for 41,429 yards and 308 touchdowns. He has a 96.6 career passer rating.
PATRIOTS HEAD COACH: Bill Belichick has been coach since 2000. He won three Super Bowls and five AFC championships. Belichick began his NFL coaching career in 1975 with the Baltimore Colts and has also worked in various assistant positions with the Detroit Lions (1976-77), Denver Broncos (1978), New York Giants (1979-90), Cleveland Browns (1991-95) and New York Jets (1997-99).
KEY DATES: Nov. 18 -- Seahawks bye week; Jan. 5-6, 2013 -- Wild card weekend; Jan. 12-13 -- Divisional playoffs; Jan. 19-20 -- Conference championships; Jan. 27 -- Pro Bowl (Honolulu); Feb. 3 -- Super Bowl, New Orleans. Feb. 20-26 -- NFL combine (Indianapolis); April 25-27 -- NFL draft.TRANSACTIONS
- Aug. 26: Waived LB Jameson Konz, DE Pep Levingston, DB Roy Lewis, TE Cameron Morrah, WR Phil Bates, OT Edawn Coughman, CB Donny Lisowski, CB Ron Parker, RB Tyrell Sutton, OT Alex Barron, OG Deuce Lutui, WR Terrell Owens.
- Aug. 27: Traded LB Barrett Ruud to New Orleans to for an undisclosed future draft pick; waived DE Dexter Davis and re-signed CB Denny Lisowski, an undrafted rookie free agent from Montana who attended O'Dea High; traded QB Tarvaris Jackson to Buffalo for an undisclosed future draft choice.
- Aug. 31: Waived/released CB Phillip Adams, DE Pierre Allen, LB Allen Bradford, WR Deon Butler, WR Kris Durham, G Paul Fanaika, G Rishaw Johnson, WR Jermaine Kearse, LB Kyle Knox, DE Cordarro Law, WR Ricardo Lockette, TE Sean McGrath, C Kris O’Dowd, QB Josh Portis, S DeShawn Shead, LB Korey Toomer, WR Lavasier Tuinei, TE Cooper Helfet, RB Vai Taua.
- Sept. 1: Released TE Kellen Winslow; signed to practice squad LB Allen Bradford, G Rishaw Johnson, WR Ricardo Lockette, TE Sean McGrath, QB Josh Portis, S DeShawn Shead, LB Korey Toomer.
- Sept. 3: Signed to practice squad T/DT Edawn Coughman, WR Jermaine Kearse; signed TE Evan Moore.
- Sept. 13: Released G Rishaw Johnson and LB Korey Toomer from the practice squad and signed LB Allen Bradford and OT Mike Person in their places.
- Oct. 1: Released OG Allen Barbre as soon as he came off the suspended list for violating the league's policy on performance-enhancing drugs.
|Arizona||4-1||1-1||Oct. 14 vs. Buffalo|
|S. Francisco||3-1||0-0||Sunday vs. Buffalo|
|St. Louis||3-2||2-0||Oct. 14 at Miami|
|Seattle||2-2||0-2||Sunday at Carolina|
|8/11/12||vs. Tennessee||7 p.m.||Q13||W||27-17||1-0|
|8/18/12||at Denver||6 p.m.||Q13||W||30-10||2-0|
|8/24/12||at Kansas City||5 p.m.||Q13||W||44-14||3-0|
|8/30/12||vs. Oakland||7 p.m.||Q13||W||21-3||4-0|
|9/9/12||at Arizona||1:25 p.m.||FOX||L||20-16||0-1|
|9/16/12||vs. Dallas||1:05 p.m.||FOX||W||27-7||1-1|
|9/24/12||vs. Green Bay||5:30 p.m.||ESPN||W||14-12||2-1|
|9/30/12||at St. Louis||10 a.m.||FOX||L||19-13||2-2|
|10/7/12||at Carolina||1:05 p.m.||FOX||W||16-12||3-2|
|10/14/12||vs. N. England||1:05 p.m.||CBS||---||---||---|
|10/18/12||at S. Francisco||5:20 p.m.||NFLN||---||---||---|
|10/28/12||at Detroit||10 a.m.||FOX||---||---||---|
|11/4/12||vs. Minnesota||1:05 p.m.||FOX||---||---||---|
|11/11/11||vs. NY Jets||1:05 p.m.||CBS||---||---||---|
|11/25/12||at Miami||10 a.m.||FOX||---||---||---|
|12/2/12||at Chicago||10 a.m.||FOX||---||---||---|
|12/9/12||vs. Arizona||1:15 p.m.||FOX||---||---||--|
|12/16/12||*at Buffalo||1:05 p.m.||FOX||---||---||---|
|12/23/12||vs. San Francisco||1:15 p.m.||FOX||---||---||---|
|12/30/12||vs. St. Louis||1:15 p.m.||FOX||---||---||---|
Oct. 7: Seahawks 16, Panthers 12: (at Charlotte): The Seahawks used a series of big defensive plays, the best pass of Russell Wilson's NFL career, and a planned safety in the final minute to edge Carolina. Cornerback Brandon Browner made two of the three biggest defensive stops. With Carolina at the Seattle 27-yard line in the third quarter, Browner stripped the ball from DeAngelo Williams, giving the Seahawks a chance to take the lead after they had fallen behind 10-6 on Wilson's worst pass of the season. Less than three minutes into the second half, Wilson threw behind intended receiver Anthony McCoy, and Carolina's Captain Munnerlyn snatched the ball and raced 33 yards for a touchdown that put the Panthers ahead 10-6. But after Browner stripped Williams. Wilson, on a third-and-eight from the Carolina 13, rocketed a slant pass to Golden Tate for a touchdown.