The second Sunday Night Football of the NFL season features a rematch of one of the most exciting Super Bowls in recent history as the Seattle Seahawks host the New England Patriots. The two teams met in Super Bowl XLIX in February 2015, with Malcolm Butler’s last-gasp interception on the goal line giving the Patriots a 28-24 win and burying the Seahawks’ dreams of winning back-to-back Super Bowl titles.
Both teams got off to a winning start this season, with the Patriots defeating the Miami Dolphins 21-11 at home in Week 1, while the Seahawks won 38-25 on the road against the Atlanta Falcons.
Here’s all you need to know ahead of Sunday Night Football.
- Kickoff time—The Seahawks host the Patriots at CenturyLink Field in Seattle, Washington. Kickoff is scheduled for 8:20 p.m. ET on Sunday, September 20.
- TV channel—NBC
- Live stream—NBC’s digital platforms, the NBC Sports website, fuboTV and in selected markets on SlingTV.
- Odds—FanDuel has the Seahawks as a four-point favorite and 19/20 to cover the spread, while in moneyline terms Seattle is a 1/2 favorite and the Patriots are 42/25 underdogs. The over/under line in terms of points scored is set at 44.5.
- Series history—The Seahawks lead the all-time series 9-8 and have won the last two games against the Patriots.
Week 1 of the NFL was a tale of two quarterbacks for the Patriots and the Seahawks. In his debut for New England, Cam Newton rushed for 75 yards and two touchdowns, completing 15 of his 19 passes for 155 yards as the Patriots defeated the Dolphins. While one game is a small sample size, the 2015 MVP took a first significant step in quelling fears over his fitness after two injury-plagued seasons, displaying the swagger of old and was not afraid of putting his body on the line.
As expected, the Patriots offense in the post-Tom Brady era looked completely different from the pass-oriented system that had been the staple of the franchise over the past two decades. New England called 13 designed runs for Newton on Sunday, with the former Carolina Panthers quarterback running the ball on a career-high 42 percent of his offensive plays. While the latter figure illustrates the stark contrast between the Patriots’ offense compared to its predecessors, it could present a conundrum for New England this season.
Newton has recovered from serious foot and shoulder injuries and running the ball as often as he did in Week 1 could expose him to big hits, particularly against teams with better defenses than the Dolphins.
While the Patriots moved away from a pass-heavy game to allow their quarterbacks to run, Seattle went in the opposite direction as Pete Carroll at long last allowed Russell Wilson to pass the ball far more often than in the past. Carroll has been something of an anomaly in the modern-day NFL remaining staunchly committed to the run even in an era when the game has shifted dramatically towards passing instead, but in Week 1 he let Wilson cut loose.
Wilson completed 31 of his 35 attempted passes for 322 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions and a total quarterback rating of 87.5. According to Pro Football Reference, it was only the second time in NFL history a quarterback has completed at least 30 passes, thrown for at least four touchdowns and had less than five incompletions.
The Patriots defense has lost key players with safety Patrick Chung and linebacker Dont’a Hightower both opting out of the season due to concerns related to the coronavirus outbreak, but New England should be a tougher defensive nut to crack than Atlanta.
Whether Carroll will continue to—to borrow a refrain that has become familiar in the NFL—”let Russ cook” or whether he will revert to a more conservative approach remains to be seen.
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