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November 15, 2014 at 12:41 PM

Three things to watch: Seahawks-Chiefs

Here are three things to watch in the Seattle-Kansas City game Sunday:

1. Will Russell Wilson bounce back? The good news is that Russell Wilson has led the Seahawks to three straight wins. The bad news is that Wilson has had passer ratings of 77.5 or below in each game — the longest such stretch of his career — having thrown just one touchdown and three interceptions. Wilson says it’s nothing to worry about, just some issues with his footwork and rushing throws and that his confidence has not wavered. And Seattle has been able to get by tanks in part to Wilson’s running — he has 173 yards on the ground in the last three games. But with the schedule now featuring almost nothing but tough games against teams fighting for the playoffs, it’s unlikely the Seahawks can continue to win without getting more in the passing game.

2. Can the Seahawks break Kansas City’s streak of not allowing a rushing TD this season?  In a game that features a number of eye-popping statistical matchups, here may be the one that stands out the most — Kansas City has not allowed a rushing touchdown all season while Seattle ranks first in the NFL in rushing touchdowns at 14 and has scored at least one rushing touchdown in all but one game this season (at Carolina). Coach Pete Carroll said that the Chiefs like to “send their big guys in’’ on defense when opponents get close to the goal line, essentially daring them to pass — Kansas City ranks first in the NFL in pass defense at 205.3 yards allowed per game. “They like to make it hard on you to run,’’ Carroll said. Seattle, though, figures to try.

 3. Can Seattle prevent a Justin Houston sack party? Kansas City’s pass defense is aided greatly by a rush that ranks tied for fifth in the NFL with 28 sacks. That includes an NFL-leading 12 by outside linebacker Justin Houston — consider that Seattle has 13 as a team. Houston moves around a bit, but has had his most success this season lining up over the opponent’s right side, which means going against Seahawks rookie right tackle Justin Britt, and whichever Seahawks tight ends end up there with Seattle using Luke Willson, Cooper Helfet and newly-signed Tony Moeaki with Zach Miller now officially out for the season. KC’s other OLB, Tamba Hali, has four sacks this season and nine or more each of the last four years, giving Seattle a challenge on both sides of the line.

 

 

 

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