Tue, 27 Oct 2020

Game Preview: Patriots at Seahawks

New England Patriots
16 Sep 2020, 20:34 GMT+10

by New England Patriots & Paul Perillo

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (1-0) VS. SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (1-0)

Sunday, September 20, 2020 at 8:20 p.m. ET. CenturyLink FIeld.

PATRIOTS: Game Release (PDF) - Roster - Depth Chart - Stats - Ways to Watch

SEAHAWKS: Roster - Depth Chart - Stats - Roster Flip Card (coming soon)

The New England Patriots hit the road for the first time this season when they travel to Seattle to face the Seahawks in a nationally-televised Sunday Night Football game. It will be the second straight time the teams will be meeting on Sunday Night Football. On Nov., 13, 2016, the Patriots hosted the Seahawks in a 31-24 loss.

The Patriots own a 58-14 (.806) record against the NFC since realignment in 2002, the best inter-conference record in the NFL. Last season, New England went 4-0 against the NFC East.

SERIES HISTORY

The New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks will meet for the 19th time overall and for the first time since the Patriots fell, 31-24, in a Sunday Night Football game on Nov. 13, 2016, at Gillette Stadium.

The Patriots will travel to Seattle for the first time since a 24-23 loss at CenturyLink Field on Oct. 14, 2012.

The Patriots and Seahawks played 12 times in a 14-year span from 1980-93, but have played only five times since then (2004, 08, 12, 16 and in Super Bowl XLIX).

The series is even at nine wins per club.

The Patriots have had the upper hand in road games against the Seahawks, owning a 4-3 record in games played in Seattle. The Patriots were 3-2 at the Kingdome (1976-93) and are 1-1 at CenturyLink Field (formerly Qwest Field).

New England won six of the first eight games in the series, which began in 1977.

SERIES BREAKDOWN

Home Record: 4-6

Gillette Stadium:.1-1 Foxboro Stadium: 0-3 Sullivan Stadium: 2-2 Schaefer Stadium: 1-0

Road Record: 4-3

Kingdome: 3-2 Qwest Field: 1-0 CenturyLink Field: 0-1 Neutral Site: 1-0

Total Points in the Series: Patriots 373, Seahawks 350

Bill Belichick vs. Seattle: 4-3 (3-2 as New England coach)

Pete Carroll vs. New England: 3-2 (2-1 at Seattle coach)

SCOUTING THE MATCHUPS

By Paul Perillo

When the Patriots run - Edge: Patriots

The dawn of a new era of Patriots offense was on display in the opener against Miami. While the Patriots traditional rushing totals were solid, it's impossible to ignore the production Cam Newton provided on the ground. He carried 15 times, many of them designed, for 75 yards and a pair of touchdowns. And even though Sony Michel was largely held in check, it was clear that Josh McDaniels and Bill Belichick intend to play physical football by establishing the run early and often in 2020. That led to 42 rushing attempts and a wide edge in time of possession. Newton doesn't figure to run that often every week but it's fair to suggest he will be part of the ground attack more often than not. Seattle will need to account for the variety of zone reads, options and quarterback draws Newton was involved in, which will put some stress on the front four, particularly ends L.J. Collier and Benson Mayowa. The Seahawks still have a talented linebacker corps led by Bobby Wagner, K.J. Wright and Bruce Irvin as well. And Jamal Adams is a physical safety who likes to play near the line of scrimmage, which is where he spent much of his day in Atlanta in his Seahawks debut. This will come down to the guys up front, and based on the opener the Patriots appear ready for the physical challenge.

When the Patriots pass - Edge: Seahawks

Newton was quite efficient through the air in the opener, but he wasn't asked to throw it much. He attempted just 19 passes, and most of them came on slants and shallow crossers. Assuming the Seahawks are more prepared for Newton the runner, the Patriots passing game may be asked to do more in Week 2. Julian Edelman shook off an early drop and looked like his normal self. Otherwise there wasn't much production. N'Keal Harry caught five balls but accounted for only 39 yards, and his fumble through the end zone could have been a killer. Damiere Byrd wasn't targeted at all, and the tight ends were an afterthought with Ryan Izzo accounting for the only catch. Perhaps some of the newcomers will become more involved as they become more acclimated with the system in the coming weeks. Newton will need to test a secondary that includes corners Shaquill Griffin and Quinton Dunbar as well as Adams and Quandre Diggs. Adams, the former Jets, likes to play closer to the line of scrimmage and can perhaps be exploited with some of the effective play-action schemes Newton used in the opener. Seattle surrendered huge numbers (450 yards) to Atlanta in the opener, but the Seahawks also were protecting a big lead throughout the second half so some of that production may be deceiving. Someone other than Edelman will need to step up.

When the Seahawks run - Edge: Patriots

The new-look front seven got off to a strong start against Miami, limiting the Dolphins rejuvenated running game to 3.2 yards per carry for the game. Byron Cowart lined up inside next to Lawrence Guy in front of linebackers Ja'Whaun Bentley and Brandon Copeland, who was a surprise starter in Week 1. That group didn't surrender much ground up the gut, and aside from an occasional slip around the end from Myles Gaskin the run fits were solid throughout. Seattle continues to struggle trying to run the ball and that continued despite an otherwise solid day offensively in Atlanta. The Seahawks managed only 84 yards on 20 carries and most of that came from Russell Wilson. Neither Carlos Hyde nor Chris Carson averaged 4 yards per carry and Wilson was forced to carry most of the load as usual. Look for Seattle to try establish a more consistent ground attack in their home opener against a Patriots defense that struggled to stop the run in 2019.

When the Seahawks pass - Edge: Seahawks

Wilson remains one of the best in the business and he was sharp out of the gate in Atlanta. His mobility allows him to buy time behind an average offensive line, and although he will take the occasional sack he also makes many plays outside the pocket. Tyler Lockett is his most reliable receiver. The speedy slot guy can get downfield as well as move the chains, and second-year wideout D.K. Metcalf is developing into a legitimate deep threat. The offensive line of Duane Brown, Mike Iupati, Ethan Pocic (in place of injured B.J. Finney), Damien Lewis and Brandon Shell is improved, and Wilson had just four incompletions in 35 attempts against the Falcons while tossing four touchdowns. Stephon Gilmore had an up and down day in the opener, picking off a pass early but later committing a pair of costly pass interference penalties that kept drives alive. He could get Metcalf, or Belichick could opt to use the physical J.C. Jackson in that matchup. Lockett should see some bracket coverage with some combination of Jonathan Jones, Jason McCourty or Gilmore with some safety help at times. The Seahawks are deep at tight end with Greg Olsen, Will Dissly and Jacob Hollister, which should give Joejuan Williams another opportunity to show his growth in Year 2. The matchups in the secondary should be fun to watch, as should Bill Belichick's approach to keeping Wilson in the pocket.

Special Teams - Edge: Seahawks

The Patriots special teams are in a bit of a state of flux in the early going. A question remains at kicker, where Nick Folk got the promotion from the practice squad and then missed his only field goal attempt in the opener. Gunner Olszewski, who is a leading candidate to fill the punt returner role, is on IR with a foot injury and will miss at least three games. That left Byrd in the role against Miami, and he had trouble when Jackson inadvertently bumped into him on his first attempt, leading to a muff that Jackson eventually recovered. Seattle has Jason Myers handling the kicking duties and he made his only attempt in Atlanta while punter Michael Dickson enjoyed an effective afternoon with some well-executed directional kicks, two of which were downed inside the 20. For the Patriots, Jake Bailey continues to impress in his second year as well, as did Justin Bethel in coverage on a 55-yarder in the second quarter that pinned Miami deep. Kick returns don't figure to be much a factor in the early going with touchbacks expected, but New England's shaky kicking situation is a concern.

TALE OF THE TAPE QUICK HITS The Patriots and Seahawks played 12 times in a 14-year span from 1980-93, but have played only five times since then (2004, 2008, 2012, 2016 and 2014 in the Super Bowl). The Seahawks are the only non-divisional team that the Patriots have played twice in the regular season in the same year. That scheduling oddity took place during the 1993 season, the only year in which the league's 16-game schedule was played over an 18-week span and each team was allotted two bye weeks. CONNECTIONS

FORMER PATRIOTS

SEA HC Pete Carroll was head coach of the Patriots from 1997-99. SEA WR Phillip Dorsett II played for NE from 2017-19. SEA TE Jacob Hollister played for NE from 2017-18.

NEW ENGLAND TIES

SEA LS Tyler Ott - College: Harvard (2010-13). CAM NEWTON LOOKS TO RISE IN THE RUSHING RANKS

Cam Newton enters Week 2 against Seattle needing 48 yards rushing to pass Randall Cunningham for the second-most career rushing yards by a quarterback in NFL history.

PATRIOTS ON SUNDAY NIGHT

The Patriots own a 31-21 record overall on Sunday Night Football.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR After a 217-yard rushing performance against the Dolphins in Week 1, the Patriots have a chance to record back-to-back 200-yard rushing games for the first time since 2012, when the team rushed for 247 and 251 yards in back-to-back weeks against the Bills (9/30) and Broncos (10/7). The combined total of 498 rushing yards in that two-game span is the best two-game aggregate rushing total for the team since its 519 total rushing yards in a two game stretch in 1978. Bill Belichick enters this week third all-time with 274 career regular-season wins, behind Don Shula (328) and George Halas (318). Belichick's 305 career victories as a heads coach (including postseason) are third-most all-time behind George Halas (324) and Don Shula (347). Julian Edelman enters Week 2 with 604 career receptions, second-most in team history behind Wes Welker's 672. With one touchdown catch, Edelman will tie Welker with his 37th career touchdown reception, good for sixth-most in team history. Edelman has 41 career touchdowns overall, good for 11th in franchise history. Gino Cappelletti, Irving Fryar and Larry Garron are tied for eighth with 42 career touchdowns. The Patriots are 22-3 (postseason included) when Julian Edelman catches a touchdown pass. Cam Newton needs 48 yards rushing to move past Randall Cunningham into second place in NFL history for most rushing yards by a quarterback. Newton is tied with Otto Graham, Jack Kemp, Steve McNair and Steve Young for most multi-rush touchdown games by a quarterback in NFL history with seven after he had two rushing TDs in the 2019 season-opener. Newton has rushed for at least 75 yards in consecutive games twice in his career - 12/2/12 at Kansas City (78 rush yards) and 12/9/12 vs. Atlanta (116 rush yards); 11/5/17 vs. Atlanta (86 rush yards) and 11/13/17 vs. Miami (95 rush yards). With one interception, Stephon Gilmore will move into a tie with Tedy Bruschi, Dick Felt and Brandon Meriweather for 25th place in team history with 12 interceptions as a Patriot. With his next interception, Devin McCourty (26) will tie Maurice Hurst for seventh all-time in Patriots history with 27 career interceptions. Sony Michel enters Week 2 with 1,880 career regular-season rushing yards and needs 138 more rushing yards to pass Andy Johnson into the 20th spot on the Patriots all-time rushing list. With his next rushing touchdown, Sony Michel will match Carl Garrett with his 15th career regular-season rushing touchdown, 17th-most in team history. James White has caught 24 touchdown passes in 79 career regular-season games. Brian Westbrook currently holds the record for the fastest running back to reach the 25-TD reception mark, achieving the feat in 87 regular-season games. White needs two receiving touchdowns to tie Larry Garron (26) for the most in franchise history. White needs five receptions to reach 328 for his regular-season career, which will tie Deion Branch for 10th-most receptions in Patriots history. Six more receptions will tie Terry Glenn for ninth place. IF THE PATRIOTS WIN... The Patriots will begin the season with a 2-0 record for the 16th time overall and the 11th time under Bill Belichick. The Patriots will improve their NFL-best road record with their 131st road win since 1994. New England will earn its 59th inter-conference victory since re-alignment in 2002, the best inter-conference record in the NFL during that time. The Patriots finished 4-0 against the NFC East in 2019. And a player eclipses 100 yards rushing, the team will improve to 52-1 since the 2000 regular season when a player rushes for at least 100 yards. Bill Belichick will improve to 2-0 for the 11th time as head coach of the New England Patriots. BROADCAST INFO

TELEVISION: This week's game will be broadcast by NBC and can be seen locally on NBC 10 Boston. Al MIchaels will handle play-by-play duties with Cris Collinsworth as the color analyst. Michele Tafoya will work from the sidelines. The game will be produced by Fred Gaudelli and directed by Drew Esocoff.

NATIONAL RADIO: Sunday's game will be broadcast to a national audience on Westwood One. Ryan Radtke will call the game with Mike Holmgren providing analysis.

SATELLITE RADIO: Coming soon!

LOCAL RADIO: 98.5 The Sports Hub is the flagship station for the Patriots Radio Network. A complete listing of the network's 38 stations can be found here. Play-by-play broadcaster Bob Socci will call the action along with former Patriots quarterback Scott Zolak, who will provide color analysis. The games are produced by Marc Cappello.

For information on how to stream the game please visit our Ways to Watch guide.

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