JOE FANN

Fann: 3 questions that will dictate Seahawks’ chances vs Chiefs

Dec 23, 2022, 12:04 AM | Updated: 12:04 am
Seahawks DK Metcalf...
Seahawks WRs Marquise Goodwin and DK Metcalf jog during a game against Carolina on Dec. 11, 2022. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

The Seahawks are on the road this weekend to take on the Chiefs on Christmas Eve. Seattle is a massive 10-point underdog for the Saturday matchup and faces an uphill battle just to remain competitive.

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There’s no avoiding the reality that everything has to go right for the Seahawks in order to win this game. Still, I think there are specific areas that will dictate whether or not the Seahawks will remain competitive for all four quarters.

I’ve boiled those aspects to the matchup down to three questions.

1. Can Geno Smith (and DK Metcalf) be great?

Not good, great. That’s what will be required to hang around at Arrowhead Stadium on Saturday. The opportunity should be there to do so. Kansas City’s defense ranks 22nd in passing yards allowed this season. The Seahawks rank ninth in passing yards while Smith still leads the NFL in completion percentage (71.4%).

Beyond that, the Chiefs are allowing the most fantasy points to an opponent’s top receiver this season. Obviously this isn’t fantasy football but the production is relevant all the same given Metcalf’s need for a big game in the absence of Tyler Lockett.

Metcalf posted six catches for 52 yards on 12 targets against the Rams last season in the lone game that Lockett missed. The good news is he won’t have Jalen Ramsey shadowing him this time around.

While Seattle has been able to move the football for most of the season, the Seahawks rank tied for 20th in red zone touchdown percentage at 52.27%. Conversely, the Chiefs rank sixth at 66.1%. Field goals won’t get it done on Saturday.

2. Can the Seahawks keep Chris Jones from dominating the game?

Jones is in the top tier at his position, and he leads all defensive tackles in pass rush win rate, per ESPN. He’s a physical force capable of wracking the pocket on every drop back. His 11 sacks are by far the most on the team, with Frank Clark up next at five.

Of note, the revenge game narrative is very real this weekend when it comes to Kansas City’s pass rush as Clark and Carlos Dunlap will be facing their former team.

3. Same question as No. 2, only replacing Jones’ name with Travis Kelce’s

Kelce is far and away the best tight end in the NFL, and he’s going to arguably be the greatest of all-time when he decides to hang them up. He has continued to amaze this season with 91 receptions for 1,144 yards and 12 touchdowns.

There’s a chance Kelce could feast on Saturday against a Seahawks defense that has allowed the second-most fantasy points to tight ends this season.

Seattle has given up 62 catches for 919 yards and eight touchdowns to tight ends. Just last week, San Francisco’s George Kittle torched the Seahawks for four receptions, 93 yards and two scores while Tyler Kroft pitched in with one reception for 28 yards.

You know Kelce is going to get his. It’s impossible to remove him from the game completely given his individual excellence and chemistry with Patrick Mahomes. But avoiding the explosives will be paramount.

Last Sunday, Kelce posted 10 receptions for 105 yards against the Texans. While the numbers are impressive, those are averages that Seattle can live with on Saturday.

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