Friday, September 5, 2008

Preview: Hawks @ Bills

After spending countless hours talking about football, we're getting close to actually playing a real game again. The ratio of time spent talking Seahawks football to time watching the Hawks play has got to be 200:1 for some of us.

No reason to change that now.

Let me start by saying that the Seahawks are the superior team in this game. Despite what people say nationally, the Seahawks are better at every position other than running back. You could argue that Marcus Stroud is better than the Hawks defensive tackles, but if he is, it's not by much. All that said, history proves that the Hawks can underperform and lose games like this.

Signs of the Apocalypse

- Matt QB rating under 80
Matt is a rhythm passer, and has been out the whole preseason. He's a great QB and only needs to get his muscle memory back and locked. Give him time, and he should be fine.

- More than 1 sack by the Bills
The Bills ranked near the bottom of the NFL in sacks last season. The Hawks have a solid o-line, but will be unbalanced. Walt and Wahle should be better than fine on the left, but sitting Locklear means we've got Willis next to Sims next to Spencer. Teams tend to be more aggressive at home, so I expect to see some exotic blitzes from the Bills, and we need to see our line pick them up properly. This should benefit from some better blocking TEs and running backs this year.

- More than 1 turnover
In the 2005 opener, Josh Scobey-Doo started our season by fumbling away the kickoff in Jacksonville. Can't happen. I don't have enough spackle to fix the hole I would put in the wall next to my recliner. The places to watch here are punt and kick returns, as well as our running backs. Morris, Jones, Duckett and Weaver have all had fumbling issues at one time or another. No easy points for the Bills, please.

- More than 130 yards rushing for the Bills
The Hawks are a stellar 23-2 in the last three years when they hold a team under 100 yards rushing. If we can consistently stop the run in this game, I think we can afford to see some of these other bad things happen and still win.

- Special teams TDs
The Bills have a top-notch return game, and their special teams are very well regarded. We need to make this offense march down the field to beat us. Nothing easy.

- Bills score more than 14 points
The Hawks offense does not usually start the season firing on all cylinders. I don't think we win a shootout. Not to say 14 points is a shootout, but this happening would be a sign that a number of the other signs already mentioned were occuring.

- 50%+ 3rd down conversions for Bills
We need to get off the field on third downs.

I usually would talk more about what the Hawks have to do, but I really see this game as one the Hawks need to control and avoid mistakes. They should have an advantage in almost all situations, and simply need to capitalize on those advantages. The Hawks are 30-6 in the past three seasons when scoring 20 points or more. If they score 20+ in this game, I feel great about our chances.

20 comments :

funballad said...

Luckily spackle isn't too expensive. I hope Forsett doesn't come in early to field a kick. I would prefer him getting his jitters out of his way on a running play. After his first touch of the ball i will relax and enjoy the game.

hawkblogger said...

I would surprised if Forsett is active on Sunday, and even more surprised if he is returning punts. He would be fine on kickoffs, but his judgment on fielding punts has proven to be pretty bad. Holmgren has shown that he is willing to sacrifice return yardage in favor of sure hands/judgment.

I think Burleson or Seneca should do it.

andy4205 said...

you all make me laugh, the seahawks are better than the bills in every aspect?!?! haha thats a good one. i think the only advantage is the qb-which is only cause trent edwards hasnt established himself yet. by the seasons end, u watch, edwards will be a top tier qb. the bills are gonna dominate this game just like the last time we played the sorry nfc west. the swarming revamped bills D is gonna harass everyone on your offense, not to mention the drunk fanatics making the ralph rock and roll all game long. prediction: bills 31 seahawks 10. good luck stopping marshawn, hardy, evans, and edwards while avoiding kewika mitchell and stroud, pozluszny, whitner, mcgee, and omg everyone. haha leodis will take one to the house against your sorry special teams too.

hawkblogger said...

andy! awesome to see a bills fan venture over to these parts. other than baseless trash talk, can you help me understand why any position outside of RB on the bills is better than the same position on the seahawks?

give me stats, players ratings, anything. I don't claim to be a Bills expert, but I looked over every position and don't see one that I'd trade for the Seahawk in that role. I guess I'd trade Lee Evans for Burleson, but maybe not:

Evans 2007: 55 Rec 849 yards 5 TDs
Burleson 2007: 50 Rec 694 yards 9 TDs

And that's with three other receivers that were higher in the depth chart on the Hawks.

Bring some substance to your argument.

andy4205 said...

i dont need to explain why i think stroud is better than howard green red bryant or rocky, or start talking about butkis winner posluszny and his new super bowl champion counterpart kewika mitchell or the bills very talented young secondary. but besides all that you cant judge anything unless both teams played the exact same schedule last year. so...to explain my reasoning, i think that with all the additions the bills have made this year and the injuries and suspensions the seahawks have suffered, it should be a bills win

hawkblogger said...

so you are saying you wouldn't trade your LBs for ours? Seriously? That's hard to believe.

Our secondary allowed the fewest passing TDs against it last season and second lowest QB rating. Every player is back. I saw you have a great young safety, but I wouldn't trade the assignment-correct safeties we have for him. We've had great young safeties here before (Ken Hamlin), and see what great talent that doesn't make the right reads can do to a defense.

Patrick Kerney certainly has a better track record than Schobel. And I wouldn't trade Lawrence Jackson for your other guy.

I've give you Marcus Stroud, but I'm still not sure I'd trade him for Brandon Mebane with his recent performance, age and injury history.

And I'll take your "we have to play the same schedule to compare" comment to mean you have no actual data to back up your argument. I certainly don't see pro bowl voters, hall of fame voters, and GMs having trouble evaluating two players that played different schedules.

Anonymous said...

I think that just left a mark...in his underpants.

andy4205 said...

no anonymous, sorry i dont have all day to sit at my computer and wait for people who i have no idea who they are to respond to a nonsense topic. and i think u must be left with shit stains in your pants while bloging cause u have to use the name "anonymous". ill give you a fact hawkblogger, just so you dont think im just blowin smoke or representing my city, schobel has the most sacks in the nfl since 2000 next to jason taylor, and hes always double teamed....wheres kerney there? and yes, i wouldnt trade my linebackers (crowell, mitchell, poz) for seattles. granted tatupu and peterson are good, but not as good as poz,mitchell and crowell are gonna be. our defensive backfield is gonna have better stats at the end of this year too, simpson, whitner, and mcgee are too good...greer and leodis are rising stocks as well. bills have the seahawks all around, i would trade playing new england twice a year for your sorry 49ers, cards, or rams any day...the bills would probably have made just as much noise the past few years as seattle. isnt your division the one that is consistently won by a team who doesnt even break .500? maybe 9-7??? i think i remember when seattle was at the top of the division a few years back -last time we played u, the bills spanked ya'll with slo-mo drew bledsoe at the helm, let sunday speak for itself, hasselbeck wont see anything but blue and red in his face, and his helmet will ring loudly with screaming fans and the sounds of marcus stroud running him over ALL DAY!

hawkblogger said...

Uh, you've provided one fact, and it was wrong. Kerney has 67.5 sacks 2001-2007 and Schobel has 67 sacks in the same period.

The Seahawks have the best record in the NFC in the last 5 years. They've beaten the Cowboys, the Redskins (twice) and the Panthers in the playoffs. They lost a game they had clearly in hand in Chicago as well. Say what you want about the division, the Hawks have been the best team in the NFC overall.

I just can't take you seriously if you're gonna tell me you'd take your LBs over ours. Lofa and Julian have more pro bowls than your entire defense combined, and LeRoy stands to be the highest paid LB on the free agent market next year.

The "potential" argument holds no water since Crowell and Mitchell are *older* than Hill and Tatupu.

I just don't see any logic in your argument...only homer pride...which I can appreciate. Have the courage to admit it.

Nick in DC said...

Well, first let me apologize for the more asinine members of the Bills' fan base. I assure you they're the outlier; most Buffalo fans are too racked with ingrained pessimism to ever assume they'll win a game easily.

Anyway, I'll take argument with your argument that the Hawks are better everywhere except RB. The Bills DEFINITELY have a better WR corps. If the Hawks' full compliment of receivers were healthy, it would be close to probably a Seattle edge.

Right now though, you have Burleson, Taylor, Kent, and Payne (Obomanu?) as your top four. Burleson has been good in the past, but he simply doesn't match up to Evans. I wouldn't use last years' stats as a good barometer--the Bills were in QB turmoil all season and it dragged on Lee's stats. Still, he is a bona fide #1 WR, and is recognized as such by every expert who covers the league. Burleson is only a #1 by injury promotion at this point.

And when it comes to the depth, it's not close. James Hardy is a huge red-zone target and a highly-touted rookie, Roscoe Parrish has burning speed in the slot and is one of the great open-field runners in the league right now. Josh Reed isn't a great receiver, but he runs good routes and will work the middle well.

So I can't see how you can possibly think the Hawks' WRs are better than the Bills', at least right now.

I'll take Stroud also, but given that he's coming off injuries, can't really say anything about that for sure. As far as other positions, the Bills' secondary is incredibly deep. Hawks have an edge at starting corner, but I have to give it to the Bills at safety and nickel. Both teams have a solid left side of the O-line (Hawks edge with All-Pro Jason Peters not playing) and a relative unknown on the right side.

Bills' also have a HUGE edge on special teams; as they have been recognized the top unit in the NFL three years running (coverage, kicking, punting, returns, everywhere), and they have added another big return threat in rookie McKelvin.


Predictions:

If the game comes down to field position, ball control and special teams, the Bills win on the strength of their NFL-best special teams crew, and their superior running game relative to the Hawks' new and untested group.

If it turns into a shootout, Hawks win, since Hasselbeck still has a big edge over Edwards at this point in their careers. Better receivers or not, the Bills win on the ground, not in the air.

Score:

Hawks' have a tough time getting going early with the patchwork receiving crew, a long trip to the East Coast, and a rowdy away crowd leading to some early penalties. Bills get a special teams TD and win it 17-16.

Nick in DC said...

Also, I'd like to see an argument other than "media bias" for why all the Sunday Countdown guys, six of eight ESPN analysts, and all the Sportsline guys picked the Bills to win.

Sounds a bit like you're whining, doesn't it?

hawkblogger said...

I think I can answer a couple of your questions with one answer: the WR disparity is not what you think it is.

National media see that the Hawks are missing their top 2 WRs and assume we're in serious trouble. Additionally, they look at the offense and don't know who the playmaker is. This makes them think the Hawks offense is suspect.

There is a reason our GM did not draft a WR or sign one in the off-season even after Branch got hurt and we lost DJ Hackett in free agency. They believe we have some great young receivers in Taylor, Payne and Kent. I'm not arguing that Lee Evans isn't great, or that I wouldn't love to have him. I just don't think it's a major gap.

Reed and Parrish are mediocre at best. Why trade for mediocre players? Hardy is a completely unproven rookie, and they rarely contribute in the first year.

Back to your last question, the national media follow the flashing light. We don't have many on our offense. And it takes a BIG light to get their attention up in Seattle. What they don't understand is that the Hawks offense has rarely depended on playmakers. It's about rhythm and balance. We played for 6 games during our super bowl season with Jerhame Urban and a rookie DJ Hackett starting at WR. We are in far better shape with this group than we were with that group.

The other thing the national media doesn't know yet is that our running game is vastly improved.

andy4205 said...

hay hawkblogger u asshole, thinkin you know everything. apparently what you thought was my problem (fan pride) was what was your weakpoint the whole conversation. i even called the game down to the score...oh my bad, i didnt quite quote buffalo by beating your sorry team as much as they did. our d was scaring the CRAP out of the whole seattle offense. oh, and you really need to check your stats...aaron schobel has the 2nd most sacks since 2001-when he was drafted. and thats with a crappy d line that in years past, caused him to be double teamed all day...for the past 7 years. so in conclusion hawk blogger....im sure your seahawks will end up on top of their division (only cause the cards,49ers,and rams are gonna be so...so sorry) oh my god, are you serious!? no wonder the seahawks had a respectable record the past few seasons..since the rams and marshall faulk ruled. but i do have to say it was entertaining hawk blogger and nick the schmuck in dc. bet my rants dont seem so "asinine" now do they, i predicted it perfect....bills d gave matt hasselbeck fits all day and it wasn't leodis, but parrish that took one to the house, and i even told you dumb-asses what the score would be, granted i was 3 points off! maybe you should give buffalo some respect this year, or have an open mind when your seahawks roster is depleated and in a crappy...the shittiest..division in all of professional football. i think that should be your only argument..stick with it..."all matts receivers were injured" maybe itll give you a false sense of hope in the upcoming weeks that they may pull something out by the end of the season. hey one more thing, the fact that hawkblogger thought the seahawks were SOOOO good makes me feel all the better that the bills wiped the floor of the ralph with them. nick in dc, just stick with the redskins, dont stick your nose into bills topics unless it involves our sorry ass 96 michigan prospect todd collins who u guys think is great cause he threw a couple td's in a game after he had 1300 years in the nfl to practice. see ya u sorry seahawks fans! good luck this season, and i mean that, heres my prediction for you...playoff birth due to default with an 8-8 record (worst in playoffs) and first week loss to wildcard eagles, giants, or vikings. keep the pride tho, u know you guys will win at least once against someone you tried sellin the seahawks to...well its onto jacksonville blogs, haha 34-10 baby!

andy4205 said...

and nick in dc i dont need you apologizing for me or trying to explain people in buffalo...worry about yourself, buffalo fans are proud, the strongest fan base in any sport that they have a team, pay attention to jason campbells slow progression, dont worry about bills rants!

hawkblogger said...

andy, thanks for classin' up the place. Enjoy the win. The game yesterday did very little to change my assessment of the Bills.

I'll never claim to know everything, but I will back up my opinions with information and not just hot air.

It would have been nice to win yesterday, but at least we didn't peak in week 1. I've always liked the Bills (my wife grew up in Buffalo and I'm fond of small town teams), but I still think that offense is not close to ready for the playoffs. If the Hawks had even been moderately on their offensive game, the Bills would not have scored close to 34 points. Our defense was on the field all day.

andy4205 said...

lol and hawk blogger, your recieving corps are WORSE than you thought they were. burleson dropping one in the endzone wide open, c'mon now! everyone else had as many drops as the nfl as a whole. get your head out of the clouds man, that seattle cloudy weather must have your mind cloudy

andy4205 said...

haha i knew you were waiting for some sort of comment after the game yesterday. thanks for the quick response, it lets me know you were watching the game with your foot in your mouth waiting to see what was said on here come monday

hawkblogger said...

I respond to all comments on my blog, although you're testing the value of doing that.

Our WRs played a horrible game. Again, my assessment of the Bills WRs did not change though. Your DE had more receiving yards than Parrish or Hardy.

Despite dropping a gimme TD, Nate came back and made the best catch of any receiver in the game on the next play.

If you left yesterday's game thinking that the Buffalo offense is better than the Seahawks offense, that's your prerogative. If the Bills offense ranks higher than 20th in the NFL, I'll be surprised.

I'll be cheering for it though. It'll sure make getting our butts kicked look better.

andy4205 said...

thanks for the end of the week humor and argument hawkblogger, good luck this season! this is what makes blogging fun, sorry i gave you a bad impression, its just been so long since the bills looked good on paper and on the field.

hawkblogger said...

no worries, man. I love the passion. Why be a football fan if you don't bleed for your team? Being the fan of a team that was out of the playoffs for more than a decade, I certainly understand the need to celebrate a big win after years of heartache.

It would be way harder to stomach if we lost to the Cowboys or Steelers or Rams or some other team I hate. I'd love to see the Bills knock off the Jets and Pats in their division. I think it's going to be tough, but if Brady is out, who knows?

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