Game Overview ::
By Mike Johnson >>
- Both teams are in the thick of the playoff hunt and fighting for seeding purposes.
- The Seahawks are playing on extra rest after last Thursday’s loss to the 49ers but have mounting injuries on their offense.
- This is the only game this week where both teams rank in the top 10 in the NFL in pass rate over expectation.
- The Chiefs are likely to control this game, especially if Kenneth Walker is unable to play for Seattle.
How Seattle Will Try To Win ::
The Seahawks have dropped four of their last five games to fall from the top of the NFC West to a fight for their playoff lives. They will finish off the season with very winnable home games against the Jets and Rams, but this daunting matchup with the Chiefs stands in their way and threatens their playoff hopes. They will still be alive if they lose but a surprise victory here would have them in a prime position to lock up a playoff spot in what has been a surprisingly successful season after Russell Wilson’s departure. The Seahawks have extra rest on their side for this critical matchup after falling to the 49ers (and effectively losing any chance to win the NFC West) last Thursday night at home.
Seattle has turned over the keys to the car to Geno Smith, who has rewarded them with the highest completion percentage and second-highest QB rating in the NFL through 15 weeks. The Seahawks have opened things up, as they operate at the 11th fastest pace in the league and throw the ball at the 6th highest rate. This week against Patrick Mahomes and the high-powered Chiefs offense, much of the Seahawks approach will depend on the health of rookie running back Kenneth Walker. The Chiefs rank 18th against the run and 25th against the pass but playing in Kansas City, the Seahawks would likely prefer to keep the ball out of the hands of Mahomes as much as possible and slow the game down for their overmatched defense. However, that approach is complicated by the fact that Walker is still dealing with an ankle injury that held him out of practice on Tuesday and threatens his availability. In the last game without Walker, the Seahawks turned to Travis Homer for a 90% snap share. Homer is a pass-catching specialist and this scenario would likely force Seattle to be more focused on the short-area passing game as a way of moving the ball. Other issues are creeping in as well with Tyler Lockett set to miss this game with a finger injury and tight end Noah Fant dealing with a knee injury. DK Metcalf will be the clear focal point of this offense if Walker is indeed out, although the Chiefs will likely know that as well and dedicate a lot of attention Metcalf’s way. The Seahawks offense will likely try to win this game by slowing things down early but should be forced to pick up their tempo and aggressiveness due to their offensive personnel and defensive efficiency issues.
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