New England Patriots vs Seattle Seahawks: Why Week 6 Matchup Is Huge

Gianni VerschuerenFeatured ColumnistOctober 9, 2012

New England Patriots vs Seattle Seahawks: Why Week 6 Matchup Is Huge

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    The New England Patriots are riding a wave of momentum coming off a big win over Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos.

    On Sunday, they will travel to Seattle to take on the Seahawks. While this game may seem like just another out-of-conference matchup, it is much more than that. Sunday's game will be a great test for New England—one they have to pass with flying colors.

Marshawn Lynch

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    New England has been very good at stopping the run this season, thanks to some outstanding play by Vincent Wilfork and its trio of former All-SEC linebackers, Jerod Mayo, Brandon Spikes and Dont'a Hightower.

    The defense will need to be at its very best against the Seahawks and their star running back, Marshawn Lynch.

    Not only does 'Beast Mode' hold the title of Coolest Nickname In Football, he's been playing very well this season. Although he is not the flashiest of runners, Lynch will run all over you if you give him the chance. He runs with great power and rarely goes down on first contact.

    Lynch can also catch the ball, something the Patriots have struggled to defend in the past. The defense will have to be disciplined and cannot afford to miss tackles if it wishes to contain 'Beast Mode.'

Seahawks Defense

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    Marcell Dareus and Von Miller probably still see Stevan Ridley and Brandon Bolden run past them in their nightmares.

    However, the Seattle Seahawks are not the Buffalo Bills or the Denver Broncos. Seattle has one of the best defenses in the NFL, against both the run and the pass. The Seattle defense is capable of effectively rushing the passer with just its four down-linemen and has a young, talented secondary.

    The path to the Superbowl probably runs through Houston this year, and there's a good chance the San Fransisco 49ers will be waiting in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Both of those teams have elite defenses, similar to Seattle.

    We'll see how dominant the Patriots' offense can be against such a formidable foe on Sunday.

Sidney Rice

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    It seems like every time the Patriots' secondary goes up against a tall receiver they forget how to play the game.

    Granted, Sidney Rice might not be having the greatest of seasons, and he's not Vincent Jackson or Marques Colston, but you can be sure that Pete Carroll will try and exploit this weakness in New England's defense.

    It will be very interesting to see how the Patriots handle Rice, and who they choose to cover him. Demaryius Thomas was very successful against all of the Patriots' cornerbacks, especially Sterling Moore and Devin McCourty.

    Perhaps this is the week Ras-I Dowling gets his chance?

The 12th Man

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    New England uses its timing-based, no-huddle offense to devastating success. The crowd at CenturyLink Field will put that offense to the test.

    No disrespect to the sea of red at Arrowhead Stadium or the crowds at Lambeau Field, but Seattle has the loudest and best fans in the league. Every team plays better at home, but for the Seahawks, home-field advantage is unreal.

    This crowd is a nightmare for visiting quarterbacks, and they will do everything they can do disrupt the timing and cadence of this offense. Tom Brady is masterful at reading defenses and communicating at the line of scrimmage, but he's going to have a hard time in this one.

    The Patriots have to take the crowd out of the game early, or they will find themselves getting frustrated. That's never a good thing.

Russell Wilson

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    When you allow Peyton 'The Bullet' Manning to run against you for a first down, you know you have issues with scrambling quarterbacks. And I'm not talking about Tim Tebow, who can't hit the broad side of a barn. I'm talking about actual quarterbacks who can scramble—guys who make you respect their arm and can hurt you with their legs.

    Russell Wilson is a scrambler.

    Worse, he's a rookie scrambler who's not going to go through his progressions when the pocket starts to collapse. Containing him without giving up long pass after long pass should be a priority for the Patriots' defense, and will be a good test for future scramblers like 49ers quarterback Alex Smith.