1. Long drop from the top After winning the NFC West last season and making the playoffs for the fifth consecutive year, the Seahawks have been one of the worst teams in the NFL this season. It’s not exactly the kind of swan song head coach Mike Holmgren was looking for in what he has said will be his final season. They are coming off a 34-9 thumping at the hands of Dallas on Thanksgiving and have lost five in a row. Seattle’s only wins came against teams struggling almost as much in the Rams and 49ers.
2. Defense must set the tone New England’s defense has played poorly the past few weeks, but it figures to catch a break this weekend. The Seahawks have one of the worst offensive units in the NFL, ranking 26th in scoring (18 points per game), 31st in yards (257.3), and 31st in passing (148.8). They do have a decent running game (21st in the league, 108.5 yards per game) behind Julius Jones, who has rushed for 674 yards. T.J. Duckett has been a short-yardage weapon with six touchdowns. Seattle also has quarterback Matt Hasselbeck healthy. The Xaverian High and Boston College graduate has started only seven games this season while battling a back injury, and has thrown just five touchdown passes while getting picked off 10 times for an NFL-worst quarterback rating of 57.8.
3. Attack through the air The Seattle defense has also scuffled and will likely have a difficult time containing New England’s spread passing attack. The Seahawks are 25th in the league in points allowed (25.9 per game), 30th in yards per game (386.7), and last in passing yards (265.2). The defense also boasts a local product in King Philip High graduate Lofa Tatupu, who is the son of former Patriots fullback Mosi Tatupu. The middle linebacker anchors Seattle’s run defense (22nd in the NFL, 121.5 yards per game) with 74 tackles, along with outside linebacker Leroy Hill, who leads the team with 84 tackles.