You know what's awesome? Spending an hour on a post and then losing it when you hit backspace and your editor thinks you mean "back." This just happened to me, and it happened to Mike Parker this morning, too (though, it happened to him at 3 am so we may have been spared his drunken ramblings). Anyway, I complain not for sympathy, but to explain why this is going to be a less-than-super-awesome-effort-filled post. I'll do my best, though.
What are the Keys to the Game today in Denver?
- John Carlson. Last week, Champ Bailey shut out the Jaguars' best receiver Mike Sims-Walker. This infuriated my wife, who has MSW on her fantasy team. Could he do the same with BMW (Big Mike Williams)? Well, yes, he could, but that's precisely why the Seahawks need John Carlson to step up in a major way today. The Jaguars mediocre TE Marcades Lewis didn't put up huge numbers -- just two receptions for 31 yards -- but he was a gamechanger. Both of those receptions were touchdowns. We need Carlson to have a better game than that, he needs to be a reliable target for Matt and he needs to be the go to guy early and often.
- Run the Ball. It is very difficult to win on the road if you don't have a running game. That's part of why we've been so awful the last half-decade on the road (one of many, many reasons). While it sometimes feels like you're just slamming your head into a brick wall repeatedly, the zone blocking game works by wearing down and beating up the defensive line. If you can do this in the first half and hang in there, you stand a much better chance of breaking out in the second half -- 180 of Arian Foster's yards were in the second half last week, for example. I don't expect that, but we need the run game to set up the play action pass and force their defense to hesitate rather than react. Think: Aaron Curry on almost every play, but without the meanness and skill.
- Exploit their O-Line. As troubled as our OL is, the Broncos are in worse shape. With two rookies who were not expected to start and an injured left tackle who probably shouldn't be starting (2.5 sacks last week), the Broncos are in a bit of trouble. The Seahawks will rely heavily on the front four getting pressure today, with Red Bryant possibly adopting a more important pass rush role than one would expect from the largest man on the line.
- Aaron Curry. We put a lot of pressure on Curry, but you sort of have to, right? The time has come for the free passes to stop and for him to earn his praise. He outruns plays too often, he seems to think too hard on plays rather than just react, and he has routinely been just barely missing. Time to turn the misses in to hits and the hits into strip-sacks. This is a great week to do it -- mediocre offensive line, average quarterback with poor mobility. Do your thing, AC.