The Seahawks will look to keep their undefeated road Sunday when they visit the 0-2 Minnesota Vikings at U.S Bank Stadium. The Vikings will look to accomplish something the Seahawks were unable to do last week. Win their home season opener. It has been 636 days since Viking fans last their team in person. With a frenzied crowd, the Seahawks will need to be disciplined on all three phases of the game if they are to have any chance of winning the game.
HOW DEEP IS THE SEAHAWKS OFFENSIVE LINE?
Right tackle Brandon Shell is due to a nagging ankle issue and will be replaced by Jamarco Jones who played the whole fourth quarter last week for the injured Shell. The versatile Jones saw some action at left guard last week. Head coach Pete Carroll had no hesitation when asked if he had any reservations about Jones stepping in for Shell.
“Jamarco has always done well when he’s stepped in and played a number of spots for us. His versatility has really made him valuable to us. He’s smart, he knows the system well, and he’s accountable. He’ll do a nice job for us.”
The Vikings defense is ranked 26th against the run and 27th against the pass for a 21st overall ranking. If the Seahawks can establish the run early with the zone running and play-action Jones and the rest of the offensive line should be able to protect Russell Wilson and open holes for Chris Carson. If the Seahawks are unable to establish the run early, it could be another long day for Carson and Wilson.
WHO WINS THE THIRD-DOWN CONVERSION BATTLE?
One key to watch this game and pretty much every football game is the third-down conversion rate. Besides turnovers, the third-down conversion rate drastically impacts every game. Sunday will be no exception.
The Viking’s defense currently ranks second in the league in third-down percentage. Minnesota has allowed just six conversions on 23 total attempts (26.1 percent). The Seahawks defense is ranked 17th overall when it comes to stopping the opponent from converting on the third down. Opponents have converted 40.7 percent of the time on third downs. The Seahawks offense has converted eight of 21 third downs opportunities for a 38.1 percentage which is in the middle of the pack.
CAN THE SEAHAWKS STAY ON SCHEDULE?
The Seahawks must stay on schedule on first and second down. Last week the Seahawks offense lived and died with the long ball. During the game, the vertical passing game gave the Seahawks the lead. The inability to establish a consistent group game contributed to the loss. The best example was the three and out in the overtime period. The Hawks defense held the Titans in the first possession of overtime gave the ball to the offense only to see Russell Wilson throw three straight incomplete passes and give the ball back to the Titans who drove down the field and booted a game-winning 36-yard field goal.
HAVE THE SEAHAWKS LEARNED THEIR LESSON WHEN IT COMES TO DISCIPLINED RUN DEFENSE?
In week one the Seahawks defense held Colts running back Jonathan Taylor to just 56 yards on 17 attempts and turned the Colts into a one-dimensional offense. Last week against the Titans the Seahawks held Derrick Henry to just 35 first-half rushing yards on 13 attempts. The league’s premier back rambled for 147 second-half yards and finished the game with 182 yards on 35 carries. Enter the Vikings Delvin Cook a Pro Bowler in 2019, 2020, and another prime-time running back who can score from anywhere on the field. Cook suffered a stinger in the Viking’s loss to the Cardinals last week but is expected to play.
The Seahawk’s defense became overconfident last week overshooting the gaps, blitzing when the play called for zone defense, and poor execution when it came to reading the run fits. Cook like Henry is a disciplined runner who is designed to wear you down in the fourth quarter. Both sides of the ball will need to be patient against the Vikings if the Seahawks are to stop a hungry Vikings team that is hell-bent on not starting the season 0-3