KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Chiefs (6-3) face a big test this weekend as they take on the defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks (6-3) at Arrowhead Stadium.
Seattle rushed for 350 yards last week and totaled five rushing touchdowns against the New York Giants. Chiefs defensive coordinator Bob Sutton expects his defense to be ready for a physical battle this week.
“I think Seattle’s calling card is being physical and tough,” Sutton said. “They lead the National Football League in rushing, they are high in run defense, which are two staples if you are going to put that toughness card out there. I think to win the game we are going to have to play a physical game.”
While Sutton says Seattle’s strength is physicality, offensive coordinator Doug Pederson believes they also show solid fundamentals, especially in the “Legion of Boom” secondary.
“It’s a great fundamental football team,” Pederson said. “These guys do an exceptional job at the line of scrimmage and are able to quick jam receivers during the game at the line. Our guys have got to be aware of that and execute their fundamentals.”
After winning the Super Bowl, the Seahawks started 3-3 before their current three-game winning streak. Seahawks coach Pete Carroll looks forward to seeing where his team stands after the slow start.
“This is a great matchup for us to find out where we fit,” Carroll said. “The fact that the Chiefs got four wins in a row, we’ve got three wins in a row—this is kind of a cool matchup to see where it all fits together.”
TALE OF THE TAPE
• The Chiefs rank fifth in rushing (135.8 yards per game) and 30th in passing (195.6 yards per game).
• The Seahawks lead the league in rushing (170.9 yards per game) and 31st in passing (194.4 yards per game).
• The Chiefs rank 20th against the run (115.6 yards per game) and lead the league in pass defense (205.3 yards per game).
• Seattle ranks fourth in run defense (79.8 yards per game) and eighth against the pass (227.2 yards per game).
THE LAST TIME
The Chiefs are 32-18 all-time against their former AFC West rivals.
Since the Seahawks moved to the NFC in 2002, Kansas City is 2-1 against Seattle, including a 42-24 win in Seattle in 2010.
Seattle’s last visit to Arrowhead Stadium ended in a 35-28 Chiefs win in 2006. The Chiefs are 20-5 at home against the Seahawks.
SEAHAWKS BRING STRONG RUSHING ATTACK
The Chiefs remain the only team in the league to not allow a rushing touchdown this season.
That streak will be tested against a Seattle rushing attack that leads the league in yards and totaled 350 yards and five touchdowns last week against the New York Giants.
While Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch (calf, questionable), who leads the NFL with nine rushing touchdowns, gets most of the attention, Chiefs coach Andy Reid knows that he is not the only dangerous Seahawks runner.
“It wasn’t just one guy doing it,” Reid said. “They had one that did the majority of it, but the quarterback was also involved in that and then the other two runners were involved.”
Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson ran for more than 100 yards and a touchdown last week, his third game this season with more than 100 yards rushing and his fourth with a rushing touchdown.
Chiefs defensive coordinator Bob Sutton knows that it will take a total team effort to slow down the powerful Seahawks rushing attack.
“[Wilson] has the ability to extend the play, which makes it really dangerous, and then he can take off and run,” Sutton said. “That challenges you and everything that you want to do on defense. I think collectively it’s going to take a great team effort.”
Lynch, who missed two days of practice this week, returned Friday to a full practice.
The National Weather Service predicts a high likelihood of snow on Saturday in Kansas City, leaving the possibility of a slick field on Sunday.
The team announced that the Fall Classic, scheduled for Saturday at Arrowhead, has been moved to Northwest Missouri State University in an effort to keep the playing surface intact.
Per the press release:
“After consulting with the National Football League office and a thorough review of the weather forecast, our grounds crew strongly suggested eliminating any activity on the field prior to the game on Sunday. Due to the potential combination of wet snow conditions followed by below freezing temperatures, it has been recommended that the field remain covered during the forecasted precipitation on Saturday.”
Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson said he plans on wearing shoes without cleats at practice to prepare for the possibility of a frozen field, according to The Seattle Times.
Sunday’s forecast calls for cloudy skies, with temperatures peaking in the high 20s.
Chiefs coach Andy Reid on fans dressing up as him:
“I’m good with that. I was over at my son’s house on Halloween, and my little grandbaby, it was his first Halloween. My daughter-in-law came running over and goes, ‘Hey, there’s a guy dressed up like you asking for candy.’ So I went out and we took some pictures. I told him he had a little too much stuffing. He had about four pillows in and I said, ‘We’re down to like one, just give me one.’
Chiefs offensive coordinator Doug Pederson on who the Chiefs will throw the ball to after multiple injuries:
“I might have to suit up.”
Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith on the team’s lack of passing yards:
“I think I’m more concerned with how many points we’re scoring than yards we’re throwing for.”
Reid on newly acquired tight end Phillip Supernaw’s blocking:
“He’s super at that.”
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll on cutting defensive back Ron Parker:
“Yeah, we loved him. Imagine what would have happened if we didn’t like him.”
Both teams bring identical records and similar styles of play into Sunday’s matchup and the Chiefs hold home field advantage, especially if field conditions from Saturday’s forecasted snow become a factor.
In what should be a low-scoring affair, look for the team that makes the fewest mistakes to come out ahead.
Despite the win against the Giants, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson threw two interceptions last week and running back Robert Turbin lost a fumble.
Meanwhile, Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith hasn’t thrown an interception since Week 5.
Like last week’s game in Buffalo, expect a physical game with minimal scoring where a big play late in the game decides it.
Outcome: Chiefs 10, Seahawks 7.