If the Seattle Seahawks take care of business today they’ll head into the bye week 3-1 overall, so this is an important game for this team, especially considering their schedule after the break.
Seattle could take control over the division with a win and an Arizona loss at San Diego, taking sole possession of the NFC West.
The Seahawks will travel to Chicago after the bye week and host Arizona at home before going on the road again at Oakland, so getting a win now is important before facing that tough, three-game stretch.
Win the turnover battle: Taking care of the ball always is a priority for this team, but it is particularly so on the road, where you want to try and control the tempo of the game and not let the crowd get involved. So the Seahawks need to force a couple turnovers on defense and manage the game well offensively.
Let Hasselbeck shine: Seattle has the more experienced quarterback in Matt Hasselbeck playing against a young St. Louis defense, so this should be a game where he gets going in the passing game and makes some plays. That doesn’t mean forcing it into tight windows, but taking his shots when they are there.
Run to win: Running back Justin Forsett ran for 130 yards here last year, and the Rams give up an average of 134 yards a game on the ground, so Seattle should look to get the ground game going to create some balance offensively.
Get Williams involved: Wide receiver Mike Williams has not had an impact on the game since the season opener against San Francisco. The Seahawks need the big receiver to make some explosive plays in the passing game to make it easier to sustain drives down the field.
Get after Bradford: The Seahawks also have the more experienced defense, and need to force the issue with St. Louis quarterback Sam Bradford, making him feel uncomfortable in the pocket. And Seattle needs to do this early in the game, the more comfortable Bradford gets, the better he’ll play.
My story today focuses on the improve plays of defensive tackle Colin Cole. With Cole playing more of a two-gap role up front, he’s been allowed more freedom to make plays sideline to sideline, which seems to better fit his skill set.
Dave Boling of The News Tribune writes that this game is a big one for the Seahawks because they can assert control over the division.
Greg Johns of Seattlepi.com offers five things to watch for in today’s game.
Clare Farnsworth of Seahawks.com says that Seattle’s running back committee has morphed into the Justin Forsett show.
John Boyle of the Everett Herald writes that Seattle hopes to play better on the road.
Brian McIntyre of Scout.com offers this preview of today’s Hawks game, and predicts a 24-9 win for Seattle.
Dan Pompei of the National Football Post reports that sources have told him the roster moves in Seattle, up to 205 now, will slow down, but they have increased the talent level on the roster and has the locker room on pins and needles.
I can attest to that. Seahawks general manager John Schneider and head coach Pete Carroll have the players’ attention and have created a competitive environment. But at some point players have know they are going to be around for awhile so they can get comfortable in their roles.
Seahawks fan Rob English weighs in on the game from San Diego.
St. Louis Rams
ESPN’s Mike Sando is here in St. Louis and says he will be closely monitoring the Steven Jackson injury situation closely.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch columnist Bernie Miklasz says this is an important game for the Rams because they can start the season 2-2 for the first time since 2006.
Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch offers seven things to watch for in today’s Seahawks-Rams matchup.San Francisco 49ers
Kevin Lynch of Niners Insider reports that safety Michael Lewis quit the team and asked for a trade on Friday after being told that San Francisco would begin phasing rookie Taylor Mays into his starting role at strong safety.
David White of the San Francisco Chronicle writes that tight end Vernon Davis wants to get more opportunities to make plays.
Matt Maiocco of ComcastBayArea.com offers these matchups to watch in today’s Niners-Falcons contest.
Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic writes that the Cardinals must find a way to get the ball to receiver Larry Fitzgerald against the Chargers.
Darren Urban of azcardinals.com reports the Cardinals will try and use the same approach on Sunday even though they are a little banged up.