As the Baltimore Ravens (6-2) prepare to travel to the great northwest to face the Seattle Seahawks (2-6), we had a chance to spend a few moments with Danny from SB Nation's Seahawks blog, Field Gulls. We traded five questions with them and below are his responses to my questions on the upcoming game.
1. What is the main reason for the Seahawks disappointing 2011 season?
Youth and inconsistency are the main things that come to mind but that being said I don't know how many rational fans expected the Seahawks to be a significantly better than 2-6 at this point. The Seahawks have had some major holes, and it has started with the offensive line. It's a very young group that hasn't worked together prior to this season, and their struggles have trickled down and affected the whole offense. The Hawks' quarterback situation has been a big point of contention for fans and Tarvaris Jackson has been inconsistent, albeit exciting at times. The run game has been mostly invisible and injuries have taken their toll on the team.
2. What or who is their bright spot so far this year?
The defense, most definitely. Pete Carroll and John Schneider have put together a young group of players that can compete with most offenses. They're near league-leading in their run defense and despite some major injuries to their secondary, they're defending the pass better this season. Things are looking up as the Hawks are led on defense by Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor, Brandon Mebane, and David Hawthorne.
3. Who is the one player on the Seahawks that Ravens fans should keep an eye on?
At this point, I'd have to say Earl Thomas. He's the best playmaker on the defense and getting Joe Flacco to make some mistakes is just about the only way the Seahawks can hope to win this one. He plays all over the field, blitzing, guarding the slot, playing the run, and playing over the top, and if he can make a big play or two the Hawks could hang.
4. Is the Seahawks' "12th Man" advantage as loud as it is reputed to be?
Not that I can say I've been to many other NFL venues, but yes, it is very, very loud in the CLink. The stadium was specifically engineered for containing the crowd noise and that has meant more opponent false start penalties in the last six seasons than any other field in the NFL, by a wide margin. Just in general though, the Seahawks tend to play much better at home (as most teams do), and the 12th man takes a lot of pride in getting in the opponents' heads.
5. Give me your prediction on the final score?
I'm going to say 23-10, Ravens. Would love to see my Seahawks pull off the upset, but I don't think the Ravens will have another letdown game like Jacksonville or Tennessee, they're just too good.