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Countdown to kickoff

Cortez Kennedy

Greetings from CenturyLink Field, where the Seahawks will host the New England Patriots this afternoon with both teams looking to climb to 4-2, rather than slide to 3-3.

What’s left to say about this game that we haven’t already covered this week?

The Seahawks have the No. 1-ranked defense in the league, and that fast, aggressive, disruptive unit is allowing averages of 287.2 yards and 10.8 points per game – not the 14.0 figure that has been out there, because 16 of the 70 points the Seahawks have yielded came against the special teams (nine) and offense (seven). The Patriots have the No. 1-ranked offense in the league, and that up-tempo, multi-legged and -handed unit is averaging 439.4 yards and has scored at least 30 points four times in five games. And, the Patriots are actually running the ball more this season than passing it. But then we covered all of that in this story.

The Seahawks spent the week trying to simulate the tempo of the Patriots’ offense in practice, while the Patriots were attempting to replicate the crowd noise at CenturyLink. Good luck on both counts.

This will be the first time Tom Brady has played at played in Seattle, because the been-there/done-that in every other category QB was injured when the Patriots where here in 2008. We covered that in this story, which included this confident declaration from Brady: “This will be fun. It’s always nice when you take 53 guys on the road and you say, ‘This is all we’ve got and this is all we need and this is what we have to do.’ And see 70,000 fans, if you can keep them quiet or turn them on their own team. I think that’s an exciting part for road teams, is to see if you can get them booing their own players.”

And Ron Borges at the Boston Herald also is pooh-poohing the effect of the crowd noise on Brady and the Patriots’ prolific offense.

Lost in the excitement of the No. 1 vs. No. 1 angle, as well as the concern over the Seahawks’ still-growing offense being able to sustain drives against the Patriots’ defense, is the fact that the Seahawks’ special teams rank No. 2 in the league. The leader of that pack is Heath Farwell, and we took a closer look at him and his impact in this story.

There also are a couple of side attractions to today’s game.

First, Hall of Fame defensive tackle Cortez Kennedy will have his No. 96 retired during a halftime ceremony, joining Steve Largent and Walter Jones as the only players in franchise history to be so honored. We covered that in this story, as well as in a story that appears in today’s GameDay program.

October also is Breast Cancer Awareness month in the NFL, and this is the Seahawks’ only home game this month. So there will be more pink visible at CenturyLink Field today than at a 5-year-old girl’s birthday party. We talked with one player – tight end Evan Moore – whose family has been touched by the disease in this story.

So what is left to say? How about a few more stats to tide you over until the 1:05 p.m. kickoff:

The Patriots are a league-best 33-6 in the month of October since 2003, including a 14-5 record on the road.

Wes Welker, the Patriots’ slot receiver supreme who led the NFL with 122 receptions last season, is averaging 6.4 yards after the catch this season on receptions made from the slot. The Seahawks are allowing receivers to average 4.09 yards after the catch, which ranks No. 2 in the league behind the Vikings (3.9); but that average is 3.6 for slot receivers, which ranks 12th in the league.

The Seahawks are 2-0 at home this season, and have allowed 19 points to the Cowboys and Packers in those games.

So what is left to say? Enjoy what should be an intriguing and enjoyable matchup, and remember that the game is on CBS (KIRO/7) – not Fox – because the visiting team dictates the network in inter-conference games. You also can listen to the action on 710 ESPN and KIRO Radio 97.3.


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