Countdown to kickoff

Greetings – make that, Season’s Greetings – from Qwest Field, where the Seahawks play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers today.

The Seahawks are 4-2 at home, and have beaten the Rams, Jaguars and Lions by a combined score of 101-20. That’s significant today, because the Bucs are 1-12, have failed to score more than seven points in three of their past four games and just traveled coast to coast. The Rams are 1-12, the Lions 2-11 and the Jags 7-7 – somehow and surprisingly.

Of course, the Seahawks can’t think that way. They must take the field with a sense of urgency. It didn’t happen against the Lions, and they fell behind 17-0.

Other keys today:

Protect Matt Hasselbeck. The Seahawks’ QB has been battered the past two games and it cannot continue.

Generate pressure on Josh Freeman. The Bucs’ rookie QB has thrown eight interceptions the past two games, so the Seahawks must find a way to harass him into making mistakes – and should get an assist from the 12th Man.

Run the ball. The Bucs have allowed an average of 167 rushing yards the past eight games. To continue this trend, the revamped interior of Seahawks’ line – rookie Max Unger at center and Chris Spencer moving from center to right guard to replace Unger – must be able to handle the D-tackle tandem of Chris Hovan and Ryan Sims. It also will be imperative for fullback Justin Griffith to win more than his share of matchups with middle linebacker Barrett Ruud, the Bucs’ leading tackler.

We’ll be back later with the inactives.


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