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.