Three keys for New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks on SNF

Target Greg Olsen vs. LBs

A savvy tight end working over linebackers with double moves on the inside is the best way to beat the Patriots’ defense. Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos went to Owen Daniels numerous times during the 2015 AFC Championship Game, while Sean McVay let the Los Angeles Rams down by failing to get Gerald Everett involved in Super Bowl LIII.

The Seahawks have the ideal tight end to avoid McVay’s mistake. Greg Olsen is no longer the dominant force he was when catching passes from Newton in Carolina, but the 35-year-old still knows how to get open.

With all the man coverage on the outside, the Patriots trust their linebackers to lock up tight ends and running backs. Olsen makes this an obvious mismatch.

Bracket Newton with edge pressure

Newton was effective with his wheels last week, amassing 75 yards and two scores on the ground. The Dolphins struggled to keep pace but had rare success whenever they sent pressure off both edges.

Bringing a rusher from each side has obvious merits against Newton. It puts a bracket around him and makes it harder to escape the pocket.

Six-man pressure also reduces the risk of being exposed by read-option plays. Defenders attacking outside lanes will deter Newton from keeping the ball and running to the edges.

If Newton hands off for an inside run, the Seahawks will still have a four-man wall to stuff Taylor and Co.

Establish Carson

Chris Carson had two touchdowns receptions against the Falcons, but he doesn’t normally make his bones as a receiver. Instead, Carson is a battering ram who bludgeons defenses on the ground.


The Seahawks need to establish Carson early and often against the Patriots. New England’s defense is all about getting teams into 3rd-and-7 or more, situations ripe for a grabby secondary to make big plays.

A steady diet of running will keep Seattle in manageable down-and-distance situations. It’s the basis of coordinator Brian Schottenheimer’s offense.

Carson carried the ball six times last week, but Carroll is already promising a heavier workload moving forward, according to Bob Condotta of The Seattle Times.

The Patriots play the run tough, but there’s no longer a Danny Shelton or Alan Branch anchoring the middle. It means Carson and Carlos Hyde will find joy inside.

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