Raj Vaidya: You were at the game against Carolina last week. While you did enjoy the win, what did you learn from the game and who impressed/disappointed you?
Scott Robb: I was most impressed with the way the Seahawks defense shut down Cam Newton. Newton threw for a career-low 140 yards last week against Seattle. As has been the case all season, Seattle’s rush defense was solid, limiting Carolina to just 82 rush yards, 42 of those by Newton.
I was disappointed with Russell Wilson once again last week. Although his performance was slightly better than in previous games, the rookie quarterback still made some unacceptable mistakes. I suppose 19-of-25 for 200+ yards and a touchdown isn’t that bad, but it isn’t great, either. The pick-six that Wilson threw also allowed the Panthers to make the game closer than it should have been.
I learned that the Seattle Seahawks are not going to make it deep into the playoffs with Wilson under center. While I do believe he is the quarterback of the future, he is certainly not the answer as of right now. Unfortunately, Seahawks fans are going to have to give him time to grow. I want immediate results as much as the next guy, but Seattle may have to wait a year or two before they are serious Super Bowl contenders.
RV: Is this a make-or-break year for Russell Wilson at quarterback? On a scale of 1-10 (10 being the highest), how much do you trust him?
SR: I don’t believe this is a make-or-break year for Wilson; rather, it is a learning experience. Wilson has the benefit of a strong running attack which helps him win games. Not to mention the Seahawks defense which is ranked number one overall in average yards per game. Anyway, in the next couple of years, Wilson will have what it takes to win on a consistent basis in the National Football League.
My trust in Wilson wavers from week to week. He certainly is not as bad as Tarvaris Jackson, but he’s no Tom Brady. Put me down for a 6. Wilson is too inconsistent week in and week out and has struggled with his decision making.
RV: Who should Patriots fans get a bit worried about on the Seattle offense with the exception to Marshawn Lynch?
SR: Look for TE Zach Miller to have a huge impact this week against New England. Up until last weekend, Miller was not heavily involved in Seattle’s offensive attack. However, against a Carolina D that ranks fairly low in passing situations, Miller was able to find plenty of open space at Bank of America Stadium. Miller had 3 catches for 59 yards against the Panthers–look for him to do the same this week.
RV: Seattle’s crowd has a big influence on the Seahawks’ performance, how might that affect the outcome of this match and what would the Patriots need to do to take the crowd out of it early? What do you expect the Patriots to bring on Sunday?
SR: It is real tough to get the Seattle crowd entirely out of it. The Seahawks fell into an early ten-point hole against the Saints two years ago in the postseason. However, Seattle was able to come back and win in upset fashion largely due to the crowd. The Seahawks are 53-29 (.646) at home since their first season in the NFL–not too shabby.
In order for the Patriots to gain an advantage over the hometown crowd, Tom Brady will have to lead an efficient drive to start off the game. By eating up time off the clock and gaining positive yardage (and points) on their opening drive, the Patriots can gain significant momentum and possibly carry that over into a victory.
RV: This is a crucial game for New England as it will give them a chance to increase their lead in the AFC East. How big a game is this for the Seahawks and their fans and how might this affect their season in the coming weeks?
SR: This is an even BIGGER game for the Seattle Seahawks. Seattle’s only two losses this season have come against division rivals which, as well all know, come back to bite later in the year. It is imperative that the Seahawks win in order to keep the team confidence where it is. After knocking off the Green Bay Packers at home in week three, a win against the Patriots would be huge. Depending on how the Cardinals, 49ers, and Rams do this week, the Seahawks could find themselves in a four-way tie for first place with a win. However, with a loss, the Seahawks could be looking at a hole that is too deep to get out of.
RV: Albeit, the Seahawks did have a lucky win against Green Bay, however they did dominate teams like Dallas and Carolina. Do you still see them in the end winning the NFC West or is it too tough of a division to make a prediction?
SR: Right now, the NFC West is looking strong. If the Seahawks can continue to win, they have a chance at winning the division. However, it will only take one or two losses to knock any team out of contention in the NFC West. Regardless of whether Seattle wins the division or not, I expect them to be a playoff team this year. It all comes down to whether they can win consistently and in dominating fashion or not.
RV: Who wins and why? Score?
SR: Seattle wins. They have the home crowd behind them, a strong run game, and an elite defense. Not to mention, Cortez Kennedy will have his number retired in front of a sell-out crowd at CenturyLink Field–what better way to fire up the players? Tom Brady and the Pats will certainly make it tough on Seattle, but the Hawks will come out with a 24-18 victory.
Raj: Thank you, Scott. Good luck to your team this Sunday!
Scott: Thank YOU guys and I look forward to a great game!