The Seahawks aren’t bad.
We know that much six games into this season.
Bad teams don’t win two of their first four road games as the Seahawks have. A bad team doesn’t hold five of six opponents to fewer than 20 points as Seattle has.
The Seahawks are one of eight teams in the league to rank in the top half of the NFL in both yards gained and yards allowed. They are clearly not bad.
We don’t know how good they are yet, though. Three of their four victories have been against demonstrably awful teams, which brings us to Sunday’s game against the Texans.
The Texans aren’t bad, either. They’re 3-3 even after the injuries to all-world defensive lineman J.J. Watt and the suspension of linebacker Bryan Cushing. The Texans have a good offense. At least they do after shelving Tom Savage halfway into the first game. They’ve scored 30 or more points in four successive games.
Like Seattle, Houston ranks in the top half of the league in both total offense and total defense.
The Texans also have a rookie quarterback, though, which usually spells trouble for anyone coming to Seattle.
Rookie quarterbacks are 2-9 2-10 when starting at CenturyLink Field going back to when the stadium opened in 2002. No rookie has won here since Andy Dalton did it with Cincinnati back in 2011 when Charlie Whitehurst started for Seattle.
Back then, the Seahawks were bad. We know they’re not bad this season, but are they good? Because a good team doesn’t lose at home to a rookie quarterback even if it is a really good rookie quarterback.
The Seahawks win if: They hold Lamar Miller to fewer than 60 yards rushing. The Texans’ starting running is averaging 62 this season and has yet to hit triple digits in a game. The Seahawks run defense has been pretty good except for two plays. Then again, there are plenty of teams who could be called pretty good except for a couple mistakes. If Seattle can keep the Texans from running the ball, it will pile up the pressure on Watson, which is exactly what you want. He won’t be intimidated by the crowd noise. He has played in too many big college games to be cowed by noise, but this defense should be fast enough to give him fits.
The Texans win if: They have more takeaways than turnovers. Seattle was so much better than the Giants last week that the Seahawks won by 17 points even after spending most of the first 30 minutes shooting themselves in the foot. That’s not going to be the case this week. If the Seahawks can’t get out of their own way, and fritter away possessions, this Texans team has more than enough offensive horsepower to make them pay. Turnovers will be the quickest way for Seattle to short-circuit.
Prediction: Seattle 34, Houston 17. It won’t be easy. It will be close at halftime because it’s always close at halftime in a Seattle game, but the Seahawks are poised for their most complete game of the season.
|Rookie quarterbacks facing Seahawks at CenturyLink Field (opened in 2002)|
|Jared Goff, LAR||2016||SEA 26, PHI 15||13-25 (52%)||135||0||0||67.9|
|Carson Wentz, PHI||2016||SEA 26, PHI 15||23-45 (51.1%)||218||2||2||61.2|
|Derek Carr, OAK||2014||SEA 30, OAK 24||24-41 (58.5%)||194||2||2||66.5|
|Mike Glennon, TB||2013||SEA 27, TB 24 (OT)||17-23 (73.9%)||168||2||0||123.1|
|Andy Dalton, CIN||2011||CIN 34, SEA 12||18-29 (62.1%)||168||2||2||72.2|
|Sam Bradford, STL||2010||SEA 16, STL 6||19-36 (52.8%)||155||0||1||52.4|
|Jimmy Clausen, CAR||2010||SEA 31, CAR 14||18-34 (52.9%)||169||0||1||54.7|
|Max Hall, ARI||2010||SEA 22, ARI 10||4-16 (25%)||36||0||1||13.5|
|Josh Freeman, TB||2009||TB 24, SEA 7||16-26 (61.5%)||205||2||1||95.8|
|Matt Stafford, DET||2009||SEA 32, DET 20||22-42 (52.4%)||203||2||5||42.2|
|Troy Smith, BAL||2007||SEA 27, BAL 6||16-33 (48.5%)||199||1||0||77.7|
|Alex Smith, SF||2005||SEA 41, SF 3||9-22 (40.9%)||77||0||1||31.8|