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Three-Down Back: A trio of things to watch for against the Seattle Seahawks

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Seattle Seahawks v Detroit Lions

At long last, the bye week is over and we can all go back to our normal routines as the Chargers get ready to head north to CenturyLink Field where Pete Carroll and his Seahawks are patiently waiting to welcome back several former members of the team, including defensive tackle Brandon Mebane and defensive coordinator Gus Bradley.

The Chargers have won four out of the last five against the Seahawks and look to continue the momentum as both team’s are riding favorable waves of momentum. I think it’s going to be a hell of a game and honestly cannot wait until game time rolls around tomorrow. In fact, i’m so impatient that I personally don’t want to make this introduction any longer than it has to be because REASONS.

Let’s skip right to the meat of it all and get this party started. Here. We. GO.

1.) This isn’t your father’s Legion of Boom

Long gone are the days where Seattle’s opponent’s would curl up in fear at the idea of having to throw against a secondary that included guys like Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor, and Earl Thomas. Only to add to the intimidation factor, opponent’s often also had to navigate a muddy pocket with the likes of Michael Bennett, Cliff Avril, and Bruce Irvin barreling down on you at a million miles per minute.

Oh, right, All-Pro middle linebacker Bobby Wagner was also on that defense just for good measure.

However, this is 2018, and the Chargers will only have to face one of the players listed above in Bobby Wagner, now one of the lone bright spots on a defense that you wouldn’t believe is just a handful of years separated from a historic performance.

Although the names on the depth chart are vastly different, the 2018 Seahawks have recently found their identity on defense as a scrappy, young, and opportunistic unit. Through the first seven games of the season, the Seahawks have forced just over two turnovers per game on defense with their total standing at 16 heading into Sunday’s match-up.

Thomas, prior to his unfortunate season-ending injury, led the team in interceptions with three. He was also rated the best-safety in the league at the time by Pro Football Focus.

Without digging too much into the stats, this mach-up didn’t seem too worrisome, but if you put in the extra work, you’ll find out that this game is as much a trap game as any other contest left on the schedule.

2.) Russell Wilson can be a one-man team when he chooses to be. How will the Chargers go about limiting the NFL’s closest thing to Houdini?

Last year, Wilson single-handedly kept his team in the light of relevancy. In 2017, Seattle’s run game was the next closest thing to a dead horse which caused Wilson to put the team and their success on his arm. He finished last year with 34 passing touchdowns and 11 interceptions while also adding three touchdowns on the ground on his way to leading the team in rushing yards with 586 yards.

After the year he had, I assumed there would be some sort of negative regression for Wilson but this is actually far from the case. Through the team’s first seven games of 2018, Wilson has 16 passing touchdowns to just four interceptions. Extrapolating his passing stats over a 16-game season, Wilson is on pace for even better numbers with 36 touchdowns and nine interceptions.

Wilson is one of those players that makes everyone around him better. His favorite weapon, Doug Baldwin, missed a couple games earlier this season and the run game had to find itself after an abysmal start to the year by their 2018 first-round draft pick, Rashaad Penny. Through it all, Wilson has kept this team alive and over .500 on the year.

Wilson is a real-life magician on the football field and the defense will have their hands full trying to stop #3 from making their game plan disappear.

3.) Who has the edge in a match-up between two of the NFL’s hottest team

The Seahawks head into Sunday with a 4-3 record after having won four of their last five games.

The Chargers are feeling themselves following a win in the UK that came down to the very last play. The victory brought their record to 5-2 and kept the team’s 4-game win-streak intact.

The Chargers are 8th in points per game with 27.9. The Seahawks are 17th in the league with 24.4.

On the flip-side, the Chargers allow 23.3 points per game on defense. The Seahawks are allowing an impeccable 18.7 which is good for fourth-best in the league.

If you take a look at both team’s schedules, the Chargers’ only two losses have come to the undefeated Rams and the 7-1 Chiefs. The Seahawks sport a close-loss to the Rams, as well, while sporting two more dropped games to the Broncos and Bears.

I think when it comes down to it, the Chargers have proven to be the superior team up to this point. They have won the games they should have while playing without two of their best players on either side of the ball.

The Seahawks are lacking in pure play-makers while the Chargers are loaded with game-breaking talent.

At the end of the day, I believe this game will be a shoot-out with the Chargers making just enough plays to come out on top.