The rain is supposed to stop and Seattle’s weather is expected to be dry and relatively mild for November (57 degrees) with little to no wind for the 5:30 p.m. kickoff of the Seahawks and Buffalo Bills at CenturyLink Field.
West-leading Seattle (4-2-1) can move to two games up in the division and up to second in the NFC behind Dallas (7-1) with a win tonight over a team that has lost two straight and has injury issues at wide receiver and on the defensive line.
For this morning’s News Tribune I wrote of the Seahawks’ positive reaction to former teammate Percy Harvin coming out of retirement last week to play in his return to Seattle for the first time since the team traded him two seasons ago. I also detailed how successful and popular the Seahawks have been in primetime games under coach Pete Carroll. Seattle has won 10 straight games on Monday night.
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BUFFALO BILLS (4-4) at SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (4-2-1)
Monday 5:30 p.m., CenturyLink Field
TV: ESPN, KONG 6/16 Radio: 710-AM, 97.3-FM.
The series: The Seahawks have won seven of the previous 12 meetings, but have lost two of the last three dating to 2004. These teams haven’t met in the United States in eight years, and the Bills are one of the least familiar opponents for the Seahawks. The last meeting was Dec. 16, 2012, in Toronto when the Bills were playing some of their home games there. Seattle won that 50-17. Russell Wilson that day became the first player in NFL history to run for three touchdowns and pass for a TD in the first half of a game. Seattle last hosted the Bills in 2004, a 38-9 win for Buffalo.
Line: Seahawks by 7.
Will they, can they, finally run?: If the Seahawks don’t run it and well against these Bills, they may never – at least not at least until injured Thomas Rawls returns perhaps Nov. 20. Buffalo is 25th in the NFL in rushing defense, and now the Bills will be without their best defensive lineman Marcell Dareus, who is out with a groin injury. Backup Corbin Bryant is also out, so Buffalo has just four healthy defensive linemen. Coach Pete Carroll and play caller Darrell Bevell keep saying they need to run it more. They say they are exciting to see rookie C.J. Prosise run more. Staying out of long-yardage downs because of more penalties would be a start to getting both to happen.
Protect your most valuable commodity: Been saying it for a month now: Battered Russell Wilson can’t afford to get any more. Yet two games ago Arizona’s Chandler Jones slammed into his arm and injured his pectoral muscle on his throwing side. Now here come the Bills leading the NFL with 26 sacks, and rookie Shaq Lawson potentially in a special hybrid linebacker/rush end role. Seattle still has a big question at left tackle with Bradley Sowell still having a sprained MCL and George Fant 15 months removed from being a college basketball power forward.
Forget about the refs: OK, we’re about done with the carping and debating about what did and did not get called in New Orleans. The best way to leave whatever calls the officials do or do not make is to get first downs – no matter how many yards the Seahawks have to gain – and prevent the other team from getting first downs. The defense allowed the Saints nine first downs in 15 tries last week. That won’t beat anyone, regardless of what the stripes say or do. The Bills will come at the Seahawks with the most varied run game they’ve seen this season. Stopping that is Job One.
The pick: Interested to see if the Seahawks’ stated intent to run translates to long-overdue results against one of the league’s lesser rushing defenses. I say it won’t be revelation—more like another offensive struggle. But can’t see Tyrod Taylor winning in Seattle on a Monday night. Seahawks 17, Bills 9.
No. Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Year
32 Christine Michael RB 5-11 221 fourth
Coaches want to see more from him, run game. False-start on 2nd & goal last wk a bad reminder
22 C.J. Prosise RB 6-1 220 rookie
Coaches intrigued after 1st extended time last week. Will get more runs as SEA searches for spark
55 Frank Clark DE 6-3 260 second
With Michael Bennett out 2-3 weeks from knee scope, can Clark provide near the havoc?
No. Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Year
11 Percy Harvin WR 5-11 184 seventh
He’s baaack! Back from 6 months on his couch. Seahawks had nothing but love publicly this week
25 LeSean McCoy RB 5-11 208 eighth
Carroll tried to recruit "Shady" to USC. Biggest pure-running threat to Seattle yet this season
45 Lorenzo Alexander LB 6-1 245 10th
From career special-teams guy to NFL sack leader (9). But he’s questionable (hamstring)