Week 12: Countdown to kickoff

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – Greetings from the aptly named Sun Life Stadium, where the Seahawks are preparing for their game against the Dolphins on a sun-drenched Sunday afternoon.

Whether the Seahawks emerge from this game with their seventh victory will depend on how well they’re able to handle not only the Dolphins and the heat (gametime temperature in the high 70′s) but history. For starters, the Seahawks are 1-5 against the Dolphins here and at the Orange Bowl, although they haven’t played the Dolphins on either home field since 2008. Also, the Seahawks are 1-4 on the road this season, a stark contrast to their 5-0 record at CenturyLink Field. And, they’re also 6-16 in games following their bye weeks, as opposed to 18-6 in games the week before byes.

There are other numbers that are relevant – and prevalent – in today’s matchup.

One of them is minus-4, the Seahawks’ turnover differential in their five road games – again, in stark contrast their plus-5 differential at home.

Part of that is the number eight, as in rookie QB Russell Wilson has thrown each of his eight interceptions on the road. Another factor is the number five, as in Dolphins rookie QB Ryan Tannehill has thrown five interceptions in the past two games.

The secret to the Seahawks getting it right on the road is no secret at all to coach Pete Carroll, because of these numbers.

“Really, it’s the production areas,” Carroll said Friday when asked what needs to improve on the road for the team’s performance to improve on the road. “We need to produce more in getting the football away from our opponents, and we need to take care of the football as well.

“Our offensive numbers aren’t as good as they have been at home, and hopefully we can clean that up. It’s a challenge because we are not that far off, but I really hope that we can be aggressive getting after the football and I think that will turn things in our favor. I think that will make a difference.

“So we’re going to need to crank it up and see if we can do a good job on (special) teams and on defense. If we can do that, it will give us the kinds of opportunities we need to take advantage of on offense that haven’t been showing up.”

If they can pull that off, the Seahawks will have their first three-game winning streak since last season – and only second since they won five in a row in 2007.

But, as Carroll has been stressing to his players all week, it’s not as easy as just showing up. Yes, the Dolphins have lost their past three games. Yes, a Miami run defense that was once stout has been porous the past few games. Yes, Tannehill has digressed as he’s been forced into situations where he needed to make more plays because the Dolphins’ running game also isn’t what it was earlier in the season.

But all of that simply places even more importance on the Seahawks getting out of here 7-4, not 6-5 – not with a game against the Bears in Chicago looming next week before they get to play three of their final four games at home.

The Dolphins are looking to get right, and the Seahawks have to show they’re the wrong opponent to do it against. At least this is a gorgeous afternoon.

Enjoy the game, with kickoff set for 10 a.m. PT. You can watch the game on Fox (KCPQ/13 in the greater Seattle area), or listen on 710 ESPN and KIRO Radio 97.3 FM.


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