Thursday, January 18, 2018
Sports

Bucs opponent preview: Seahawks, Week 12

When they play: Week 12 (Nov. 27) in Tampa

2015 record: 10-6, wild card, lost to Carolina, 31-24.

Last time vs. Bucs: The Bucs lost at Seattle 27-24 in overtime in 2013, this after leading 24-7 in the third quarter. Seattle tied the game with 1:51 left. Mike James rushed for 158 yards that day; he has 174 in the rest of his career.

2016 outlook: Seattle stumbled to a 5-5 start last year, then went 5-1 to make the playoffs. Russell Wilson, still only 27, has been immensely successful, but Marshawn Lynch is gone, as is DT Brandon Mebane and OLB Bruce Irvin. Their best postseason runs have had home-field advantage, and they'd have to catch the Cardinals to get even one home game.

Player to watch: How good is Wilson? In 64 regular-season games, he's had more than one interception just five times, and still went 4-1 in those games, the lone loss coming in the first month of his rookie season. Last year's numbers -- 68 percent completions, 34 TD against 8 INTs -- will be hard to match.

Rookie to watch: With J.R. Sweezy going to the Bucs, Seattle has first-rounder Germain Ifedi starting in his place at right guard in a retooled offensive line. The Seahawks had the No. 3 rushing offense in the NFL, but gave up 46 sacks last year, sixth-most in the NFL.

Key matchup: Seahawks vs. Cardinals, Dec. 24: We think there could be playoff implications on Christmas Eve -- Seattle won 36-6 in Phoenix in the last meeting, but lost in Seattle last year. If Seattle wants any kind of shot at postseason home games, they probably need to win on their home field here.

Familiar face: You may have heard this, but the Bucs let DE Michael Bennett get away after nine sacks in 2012. He's had 25.5 sacks in three seasons in Seattle. Lesser case of one that got away: S Kelcie McCray, traded to the Chiefs by the Bucs for spare parts in preseason 2014, had 37 tackles last season for Seattle.

Cool stat: Seattle had the NFL's No. 1 scoring defense last year, allowing 17.3 points per game. There's a wild split though -- they allowed only 10.0 points on average in their 10 wins, but 29.5 points in their six losses. They had nine games holding teams to 13 or less, with a 10th in the playoffs as well.

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