On Friday night when the Seahawks and Chiefs get together it will be just the 5th time they have met in the pre-season, where the Seahawks hold a 4-0 advantage. Normally game #3 is the only one worth watching during the pre-season. Traditionally the starters play into the 3rd quarter and we get a feel for which young guys will make the squad. For the Seahawks, and Russell Wilson in particular, this game holds some extra significance. Wilson is getting his first start in the NFL and by all concerned, while it is only pre-season, he is not getting a soft landing. Arrowhead has always been considered one of the toughest places to play in the NFL. The fans are passionate and vocal, and the weather in K.C. will be around 90 degrees with isolated thunderstorms. As if that’s not enough for Russell to deal with a defense that was ranked #11 in 2011. The Chiefs have pro-bowl LB Derrick Johnson back and all reports indicate that he is already in regular season form, and Tamba Hali who finished 2011 with 12 sacks. Where Wilson and the Seattle receivers will have the most problems is in the secondary where safety Eric Berry has fully recovered from a torn ACL that ended his 2011 campaign just 4:28 into the first game. Berry has regained speed and quickness that made him the #5 pick in the draft, 9 spots ahead of Seahawk pro-bowler Earl Thomas.
What to Watch:
The Offensive Line- How well they protect Wilson will be the key. The line needs to try to keep low to limit the amount of batted balls at the line of scrimmage.
The Running Game- Will Beast Mode keep the chains moving enough to keep the Chiefs front seven from pinning their ears back and coming after Wilson. Will former UFA Greg Lumpkin continue his impressive 2012 pre-season?
Defense/ST- All I am really watching for here is that there are no injuries. If Seattle can come through this game healthy they will be in good shape heading into Arizona on September 9th.
Russell Wilson- Many believe that the starting job is Wilson’s to lose, including me. If Russell comes out and performs even adequately the starting job is his, if he doesn’t play well…then it’s 50/50.
Matt Flynn- How does Flynn take this situation, does he pout and cause a disruption or does he buckle down and come into the second off and light it up?
Pete Carroll has backed himself into a corner, If Wilson plays well he has got to name him the starter regardless of his comments to the contrary. If Wilson plays poorly and Flynn gets the nod, this chance Pete is taking may cause a rift between the two. Either way the front office is risking dividing the locker room into either Flynn or Wilson camps. Whether or not you want to admit it 12th man, what happens tonight just may set the course for the 2012 season.