Multiple matchups are likely to be impacted by weather conditions this week but none more important than the New England Patriots taking on the Seattle Seahawks. Both teams meet at Century Link Field in Seattle with a 3-2 record as both look to stay above .500. NFLWeather forecasts an 80% chance of rain, with highs around 61 degrees and winds gusting up to 15 mph. The Patriots and Seahawks are well equipped in different areas of the game, which should make for an interesting matchup in this weather.
No one can deny the power of the 12th man at Century Link Field. The stadium canopy covers about 70% of the field but also amplifies about 70% of the fan noise. The Seahawks have faced two veteran two quarterbacks in their home stadium so far this season and have been able to frustrate their offensive capabilities. However, Sunday provides a new test for the Seahawks as they welcome Tom Brady and the Patriots powerhouse.
Last week against Denver, the Patriots ground attack proved to be the difference maker in rainy Foxboro. With the recent emergence of running back Steven Ridley, the Patriots have added another weapon to their arsenal. That’s in addition to their short air game with Wes Welker pulling in thirteen receptions for 104 yards and a score in a 31-21 victory over the Broncos. The New England offense is built for this kind of cool, slick weather that is native to the Seahawks. The Pats have small running backs and receivers with explosive speed. However, Seattle’s defense is ranked first in yards allowed (258.6) and second in points per game (14pts), led by third year safety Earl Thomas. If the Seahawks can pressure Brady and limit the passing attack, Seattle’s defense could keep them in the game.
The other side of the ball is a different story for once upon a time Patriots Head Coach Pete Carroll his Seattle Seahawks who rank close to last in every offensive category aside from rushing. Expect Bill Belichik to pressure rookie quarterback Russell Wilson and force him into mistakes. The Seahawks on the other hand will look to do what they do best, feed the beast, running back Marshawn Lynch. The key for both teams is to protect the quarterback. Expect a close, low scoring game.
Cincinatti at Cleveland
As if it wasn’t enough for the San Francisco Giants to rain on the Cincinnati Reds parade by sweeping them in Cinci, this Sunday the Bengals are the Cleveland Browns and showers are likely. These two teams met in week 2 when the Bengals secured a 34-27 win over the Browns This time in Cleveland, the Browns look for revenge against their in-state rival while also trying to break into the win column for the first time this season.
NFLWeather.com is reporting a 60% chance of showers and mostly cloudy skies with south winds climbing up to 20-22 mph. With temperatures in the 50’s, the weather will add a random element to the game plan of both teams on the soggy natural grass surface of Cleveland Municipal Stadium.
Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden leads the league with nine interceptions this season but good news for Cleveland fans is that Weeden threw for 332 yards last month against the Bengals.But, don’t look for him to repeat those numbers if the rain falls. Instead, look for première running back Trent Richardson to hold the rock. Richardson had his breakout game against the Bengals, gaining 145 total yards and two touchdowns. There is no question that Head Coach Pat Shurmur will continue feeding Richardson the ball in this inclement weather. If you were planning to start Brandon Weeden on your fantasy team, you have bigger problems.
On the other side of the state, the Bengals offense has been tremendous, led by sophomore quarterback Andy Dalton, and will be up against a Browns defense that has been struggling so far this season, giving up over 423 yards per game. However, the rain should limit Dalton’s accuracy in the air. Instead, look for the Bengals to fall back on running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis, who is averaging 3.3 yards per carry.
Dalton’s success through the air will likely dictate Green-Ellis’ offensive production. Heading into a hostile environment with hostile weather conditions, it’s going to be tough for Dalton to get things going on offense. Anything could happen in this game. If Weeden manages the game and feeds Richardson the ball, the Browns could finally break into the win column in front of their home crowd. Fantasy owners and gamblers alike are best to avoid this game.