Since the NFC West plays teams from the AFC East only once every four years, and since New England quarterback Tom Brady is 35 years old, Brady likely will make the only start of his career in Seattle Sunday against the Seahawks. Most predictors are laying odds that Brady will return to New England a happy man.
Sports Illustrated's prolific Peter King is not among them. In his Week 6 picks, King opines that Brady's Seattle visit will end in disappointment, and the reason is Bruce Irvin, Seattle's first-round draft pick.
"This is going to be a speed game, with the Patriots continuing to race to lead the league in offensive plays, and Irvin, the fastest speed-rusher in football, will have the advantage of playing in the cacophonous CenturyLink Field," wrote King.
"The last time the Seahawks played at home, the Green Bay line couldn't handle the speed of the Seattle defense and the noise, and eight first-half sacks resulted. Not saying it'll be the same here, but the Patriots will struggle blocking the speed demons, led by Irvin, rushing for Seattle."
King predicts a final score of Seattle 27, New England 24. Question is, where are the Seahawks going to find 27 points?
The New England matchup is statistically odd for two reasons. First, it will match the NFL's No. 1 offense (Patriots) against the league's No. 1 defense (Seahawks). Such a pairing hasn't occurred since the 2007 season when the Patriots (offense) and Steelers (defense) met in Week 14.
Second, in the Seahawks, the Patriots will face a team that has scored fewer points over the first five games of a season than any edition of the Seahawks since CenturyLink Field opened (2002), and also a team that has allowed the fewest.
Not only are following the lowest-scoring Seattle teams through five games in the Clink era, but in franchise history. Ugly stat: the 1992 Seahawks, who went 2-14 and scored just 140 points, had 93 points through its first five games.
|2012||Pete Carroll||Russell Wilson||86||3-2||TBD|
|2007||Mike Holmgren||M. Hasselbeck||87||3-2||10-6-0|
|2004||Mike Holmgren||M. Hasselbeck||94||3-2||9-7-0|
|2011||Pete Carroll||Tarvaris Jackson||94||2-3||7-9-0|
|2010||Pete Carroll||M. Hasselbeck||98||3-2||7-9-0|
|2008||Mike Holmgren||M. Hasselbeck||100||1-4||4-12-0|
|2002||Mike Holmgren||M. Hasselbeck||105||1-4||7-9-0|
|2006||Mike Holmgren||M. Hasselbeck||108||4-1||9-7-0|
|2009||Jim Mora||M. Hasselbeck||115||2-3||5-11-0|
|2003||Mike Holmgren||M. Hasselbeck||122||4-1||10-6-0|
|2005||Mike Holmgren||M. Hasselbeck||126||3-2||13-3-0|
|2012||Pete Carroll||Gus Bradley||70||3-2||TBD|
|2007||Mike Holmgren||John Marshall||74||3-2||10-6-0|
|2004||Mike Holmgren||Ray Rhodes||76||3-2||9-7-0|
|2009||Jim Mora||Gus Bradley||82||2-3||5-11-0|
|2003||Mike Holmgren||Ray Rhodes||87||4-1||10-6-0|
|2010||Pete Carroll||Gus Bradley||97||2-3||7-9-0|
|2005||Mike Holmgren||John Marshall||107||3-2||13-3-0|
|2006||Mike Holmgren||John Marshall||111||4-1||9-7-0|
|2002||Mike Holmgren||Steve Sidwell||115||1-4||7-9-0|
|2011||Pete Carroll||Gus Bradley||122||2-3||7-9-0|
|2008||Mike Holmgren||John Marshall||151||1-4||4-12-0|
All three of these teams -- 2012, 2007 and 2004 -- were also 3-2 after five games. The major difference between this year and 2007 and 2004 is that the NFC West has become one of the strongest divisions in the NFL. But the 2012 Seahawks are already 0-2 against division opponents. So, with that in mind . . .