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Four matchups to watch: Seahawks vs. Buccaneers

Posted Nov 2, 2013

The Seahawks will play at CenturyLink Field on Sunday for the first time since Week 6, and the opponent for the team with the best record in the NFC will be the Buccaneers, who have the worst record in the NFC.

A look at the Seahawks’ Week 9 game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at CenturyLink Field, including four matchups that could impact the outcome:

When: Sunday, 1:05 p.m. PT, CenturyLink Field (Seattle, Wash.)

Records: Seahawks 7-1 and first in the NFC West after Monday night’s 14-9 victory over the Rams in St. Louis; Buccaneers 0-7 and last in the NFC South after a 31-13 loss to the Panthers on Oct. 24

TV: FOX (Q/13 in Seattle), with Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnston and Tony Siragusa

Radio: 710 ESPN and 97.3 KIRO FM, with Steve Raible, Warren Moon and Jen Mueller

Rest of the West: Titans at Rams (3-4); the 49ers (6-2) and Cardinals (4-4) have byes

Matchup microscope

Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch vs. Buccaneers DT Gerald McCoy: One player will not contain Lynch, who is fourth in the NFL with 601 rushing yards despite getting only eight carries and 23 yards against the Rams. But the best thing about the Buccaneers is their No. 7-ranked run defense, and the active and disruptive McCoy is right in the middle of that. Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said McCoy is “as good a football player at his position as there is in the league.” Carroll also said, “Marshawn is going to get more involved than last week. That was not right and we didn’t get that done.” That means one of the best backs in the league at breaking tackles will have ample run-ins with a tackle who doesn’t miss many tackles.

One to watch

Seahawks CBs Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner vs. Buccaneers WR Vincent Jackson: The 6-foot-5 Jackson isn’t just the Bucs’ leading receiver with 41 receptions, 623 yards and four of his team’s nine offensive touchdowns. Jackson has been targeted 90 times – including 22 against the Falcons in Week 7 and 60 in the four starts by rookie QB Mike Glennon. Jackson also is one target with the size to match what the 6-4 Browner and 6-3 Sherman present. If the Bucs are going to be in this game, they’ll need some big plays, and Jackson leads all active NFL wide receivers with a 17.6-yard average (6,761 career yards on 385 catches). If the Bucs fall behind, Glennon will target Jackson even more as they attempt to catch up. Sherman and Browner can’t allow Jackson to be a big factor.

Fun to watch

Sherman vs. Buccaneers CB Darrelle Revis: Sherman is quick to point out, “I don’t know if it will be a direct comparison. It’s not like we’re on the field at the same time.” But there will be comparisons, and this one will be fun to watch. Revis was considered the best cover corner in the NFL before he tore a knee ligament last season while playing for the Jets. Sherman tops the list in the current discussions about who might be the league’s best corner, and he has the numbers to warrant it. No one has more interceptions (16) or passes defensed (52) than Sherman since 2011, and this season he shares the NFL lead with four interceptions and tops the Seahawks’ Legion of Boom secondary with 11 passes defensed. Sherman has been on his game all season, but this game provides a little extra incentive for a player who really doesn’t need it.

One tough task

Glennon vs. the situation: And in his fifth NFL start, and game for that matter, the Bucs’ rookie QB draws the Seahawks’ secondary that shares the league lead with 13 interceptions, an improving pass rush that has generated 10 of its 26 sacks in three homes games and the din generated by the 12th Man at CenturyLink Field. “I’ve heard nothing but great things about the stadium and the fans, so we’ve been preparing for the noise and playing in that loud environment,” Glennon said this week. We’ll see how that works when Glennon and his offensive teammates can’t hear each other on Sunday.

Worth noting

The Seahawks and Buccaneers entered the NFL as expansion franchises in 1976. … The Seahawks lead the series 7-4, but the Buccaneers have won the past three meetings. … The Seahawks have not lost at home since Dec. 23, 2011, and second-year QB Russell Wilson is 11-0 at CenturyLink Field. … Doug Martin, the Bucs’ leading rusher with 456 yards, will miss his second-consecutive game because of a shoulder injury. … The Bucs have scored seven points in the third quarter this season, which is the quarter in which the Seahawks have scored the most points (60). … Glennon has averaged 45 passes in his four starts. … The Seahawks lead the NFL with 21 takeaways and are tied for second in turnover differential (plus-9). … FS Earl Thomas leads the Seahawks with 57 tackles and is the only player in the NFL with at least 50 tackles, four interceptions and two forced fumbles. … LB Lavonte David leads the Bucs with 59 tackles and is the only player in the NFL with at least 50 tackles, five sacks and an interception.