Tale Of The Tape: Seattle Seahawks At Houston Texans
- QuarterbackRussell Wilson is not a system quarterback. While he is a perfect fit for Pete Carroll’s offense, Wilson would be a solid quarterback in any offense because he is smart, decisive, athletic and he has more than adequate arm strength. While he lacks height, he’s got more than enough charisma and moxie to lead his team to an exceptional performance nearly every week.Matt Schaub is a skilled quarterback with a proven track record. He has the arm strength, the field vision and the accuracy to take over a game and light up the scoreboard. He stays calm under pressure, but he does not always seem to rise to the occasion when the Texans face a big moment. Playing the Seahawks is a big moment.
- OffenseThe Seahawks are an aggressive and physical team that likes to soften opponents up with a powerful ground game. The Seattle offensive line is one of the best in the league and running back Marshawn Lynch enjoys running over tacklers. Wide receivers Golden Tate and Sidney Rice can go downfield and get the ball or go over the top of the defense.The Texans are coming off a poor offensive game against the Ravens. Arian Foster is normally one of the top three running backs in the league, but he could not get untracked against Baltimore as he was held 54 yards. Wide receiver Andre Johnson is battling a nagging shin injury that cuts down on his speed, while tight end Owen Daniel is reliable.
- DefenseThe Seahawks take pride in having a shutdown defense in an era when offenses can light up the scoreboard. Middle linebacker Bobby Wagner is one of the most underrated linebackers in the league. He had 9 tackles and an interception vs. the Jaguars and he plays with speed and purpose. Cliff Avril is a solid pass rusher who can turn the corner and cause havoc.The Texans have perhaps the best defensive lineman in the game in J.J. Watt. He can dominate against the run, sack the quarterback and bat passes down with his long arms. Whitney Mercilus has excellent range at linebacker while Danieal Manning is becoming one of the best safeties in the league as a result of his athleticism and on-field intelligence.
- Special TeamsThe Seahawks have outstanding coverage units on punt and kickoff returns. Steven Hauschka has adequate leg strength and has proven reliable in the clutch. Jon Ryan is not a great distance kicker but he gets height and can drop the ball inside the 20.Special teams were a major issue last year for the Texans and their coverage teams don’t seem much better this year. Randy Bullock is an unproven placekicker at this point, while former Oakland Raider Shane Lechler remains one of the best punters in the league.
The Seahawks appear to be the best team in football right now. While they have two consecutive dominant wins at home, they barely squeaked by Carolina in their only road game. Houston could provide a major test here. -Steve Silverman, CBS Local Sports contributor