We have finally arrived at that magical time of year. You know what I’m talking about, right? The time of year when the Seattle Seahawks get their shit together and start living up to the preseason hype of being a Super Bowl contender, of course.
While Seattle has been playing dominant football over the last couple of weeks, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers look to make a playoff bid of their own and will do all they can disrupt the Seahawks’ momentum heading into December. Injuries have ravaged Seattle’s roster, forcing mainstays Earl Thomas, Michael Bennett, and DeShawn Shead from action. Jameis Winston and company look to take advantage of this in what should be a fun affair.
The Seahawks are heavily favored in this game but it won’t be as easy as most think. Here is what Seattle must do to pull out a win down in the (Tampa) Bay.
Lock down Mike Evans
There is no question that Evans is Winston’s favorite target. The mammoth man has made countless third down receptions this season, which works against the Seahawks’ struggles to get off of the field when they need to.
An interesting development will be monitoring whether or not Richard Sherman follows Evans around the field. If Sherm can take away Winston’s main man, it could be a long day for the second year quarterback.
Get after Jameis
This works in tandem with the first key - if Jameis can’t throw to his number one receiver, there are few other locations to go with the ball. Pass rush is key in this contest. Winston can be forced into questionable decisions if you get after him.
Forcing turnovers very well could decide the outcome of this game and attacking a turnover-prone quarterback like Winston is the key to making this happen.
Keep up the intensity
There’s always some sort of cliched key at the end of these pieces and this week is no different. It’s necessary. The last time these two teams met, the Seahawks were well on their way to being the #1 seed in the NFC and, subsequently, Super Bowl Champions. Tampa Bay was a winless, Schiano-led mess. So, naturally, they went up 21-0 on Seattle before the half.
The Seahawks came back to win the game in overtime, but it was a prime example of the parity that drives this league. Despite Seattle being favored in this game, no victory comes easy in the NFL. The Bucs will come to play in their house and the Seahawks will need to match their intensity out of the gate.
If Seattle can play the physically overpowering type of football they are capable of consistently exhibiting, there is no doubt in my mind they will come away with a win. We’ll see what happens shortly.