Greetings from a cloudy/foggy CenturyLink Field, where the Seahawks host the Tennessee Titans this afternoon in their only home game this month. And there is so much on the line in this one-and-only October game in the Emerald City.
First and foremost, the 4-1 Seahawks are looking to retain their lead in the NFC West. The 49ers (3-2) host the Arizona Cardinals in San Francisco on Sunday. So if the two-time defending division champions take care of business on their home field and the Seahawks don’t, well, the result of that scenario is eighth grade Sewickley, as former coach Chuck Knox used to say.
Then there are turnovers. The Seahawks get them - a lot of them (15, to share the NFL lead with the Chiefs). The Titans don’t give them, with a league-low three – all in last week’s loss to the Chiefs. So the Titans are plus-8 in turnover differential and the Seahawks are plus-7, which ranks them second and third in the league behind – you guessed it – the unbeaten Chiefs. There’s also one of our favorite stats, because it is so telling: The Seahawks are 21-3 under Carroll when they win the turnover battle.
Third downs also will be a big factor in this game. Bigger than usual, that is, because the Seahawks’ offense is converting only 30.8 percent (No. 27 in the league) and coming off a two-for-12 showing in last week’s loss to the Colts. The Titans’ defense is allowing opponents to convert only 28.1 percent on third downs (No. 3 in the league). So the Seahawks can’t allow either of these trends to continue if they’re going to continue their winning ways at home, and assure maintaining their lead in the NFC West.
Then there’s this whole CenturyLink Field mystique thing. With home games against the Minnesota Vikings (Nov.17) and New Orleans Saints (Dec. 2) still on tap, as well as road games at Atlanta (Nov. 10) and San Francisco (Dec. 8) also coming in the second half of the season, the Seahawks can’t allow any mars on that mystique.
And just how impactful is the Seahawks’ 12th Man advantage? We’ve already used this quote from Titans tight end Delanie Walker, the former 49er who is now a tight end for the Titans, but it’s definitely worth repeating: “The ground shakes up there, and that’s pretty intense. It’s real loud. I mean, you can’t hear. You can’t hear the snap count. You can’t even hear the play in the huddle.”
With that said, sit back and enjoy what is about to unfold, with kickoff and televised coverage on CBS (KIRO/7 in the greater Seattle area) set for 1:05 p.m PT.