If you like watching great running backs, this might be a good week to tune in to the Seattle Seahawks.
Marshawn Lynch and Adrian Peterson will square off Sunday at 1:25 p.m. as the Minnesota Vikings pay a visit to Seattle for the second consecutive season. The two backs are averaging nearly 175 yards per game on the ground combined.
Most fans around the NFL would generally accept that Peterson is the best back in the NFL, although Lynch is a close competitor, along with Jamaal Charles and LeSean McCoy. Peterson isn’t quite putting up his otherworldly numbers of 2012, as he is third in the NFL in yards per game, less than a yard ahead of Lynch. Both Lynch and Peterson get plenty of yards after contact, and expect both to catch some passes out of the backfield.
Obviously, stopping the opposing running back will the key to victory for both teams. With the way Minnesota’s tandem of quarterbacks has played, and how Seattle’s secondary has played, expect Peterson to get about 30 carries. Lynch will get plenty as well, but the Vikings have tended to be much worse in the secondary than in run defense this season.
Seattle is right around league average in run defense. After struggling multiple weeks in a row against relatively unheralded running backs, the Seahawks bounced back by shutting down the Atlanta Falcons last week. Of course, the Falcons are dead last in rushing in the NFL, but after being gashed by Mike James the week before, it was a definite sign of improvement.
The Seahawks haven’t faced an elite running back since Week 4, when a healthy Arian Foster had a decent day against them. It will be a big test for the Seattle defense , who will at least get Red Bryant back from a concussion.
Bryant is far from the only Seahawk returning. Percy Harvin will be making his long-awaited debut, fittingly against his old team. Harvin’s role isn’t quite clear yet – we might not see him returning kicks for a couple of more weeks – but it will be interesting to see how Seattle starts to incorporate him into its offense.
The offensive line could be back at full capacity too, which is great news for the Seahawks. Jared Allen might not be the force he was two years ago, but still has enough highlight-reel sacks this season to prove he can still impact a game.
The Vikings secondary shouldn’t have an answer for Seattle’s explosive wide receivers. As long as they can start fast and somewhat limit Peterson, expect the Seahawks to cruise into the bye week with another win.
Photo Credit: David Goldman / Associated Press
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