NFL Game of the Week: Patriots vs. Seahawks
The NFL’s opening weekend provided football fans with a healthy dose of late-game heroics, improbable comebacks and the realization that the Cleveland Browns are, well, still the Browns.
Some headlines that dominated the offseason include Tom Brady's departure from New England, Cam Newton being signed as his heir apparent, the dawn of Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow's career in Cincinnati and whether Ravens signal-caller, Lamar Jackson, can replicate last season’s MVP form.
Those moves are just a few of many that completely altered the narrative for the season.
In his first game in a Patriots uniform, Newton stole the show in a win over the Miami Doplhins and Russell Wilson once again proved his superstar status as he torched the Falcons' defense, tossing four touchdown passes and 322 yards in a Seattle Seahawks victory.
The two teams and their respective quarterbacks will be competing in a rematch of Super Bowl XLIX on Sunday Night Football in the Emerald City. Let’s breakdown this week's primetime matchup.
The offense has been Seattle’s focal point ever since the championship-winning "Legion of Boom" defense dissolved.
D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett will provide a spark on the offensive side of the ball from the opening kick. Likewise, the running back duo of Carlos Hyde and Chris Carson, who hauled in two touchdown receptions last week, won't be easy for New England to handle. The offensive line may struggle, but Wilson's elusiveness will challenge the Patriot pass rush.
Like Seattle, New England's offensive system caters to the quarterback. Bill Belichick has implemented a system to accommodate for Newton's running ability. Instead of strictly throwing five-yard crossing routes to Julian Edelman or check-downs to James White, the Patriots have incorporated designed quarterback runs into their arsenal. The scheme's effectiveness was evident as the 2015 MVP rushed for 75 yards and two scores last weekend.
Aside from Newton, look for Edelman to lead the team in receiving as he will cause problems for the Seattle secondary. He along with former first-rounder N'Keal Harry could end up being the unsung heroes of the contest.
The Seahawks' big move this offseason was acquiring superstar safety Jamal Adams for two future first-round selections. Adams impressed in his Seahawk debut as he totaled twelve tackles and carried a defense in need of a cornerstone not named Bobby Wagner.
Speaking of the secondary, expect the cornerback tandem of Shaquill Griffin and Quinton Dunbar to contain the New England passing attack and force Newton to attempt to win the game with his legs.
Defense is the key to a New England victory Sunday night.
Reining Defensive Player of the Year, Stephon Gilmore spearheads the Patriot defense. The shutdown cornerback will shadow Metcalf and attempt to subdue the speedy 6-foot-4 receiver. However, with an average defensive line and the losses of D'onta Hightower and Patrick Chung, who both opted out because of Covid-19, New England's defense won't reach its 2019 level.
At the end of the day, the game will come down to quarterback play. Newton is a shell of his 2015 self and Wilson is an MVP candidate year after year.
The score will be close at the half but expect Seattle to pull away in the third quarter.
Prediction: Seahawks 31, Patriots 17
JC Colavita is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.