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Weekend Look Ahead

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8 things to watch for in Bills vs. Seahawks | Week 9


1. Touchdown Makers

Heading into Sunday's game, Russell Wilson has 26 passing touchdowns and Josh Allen has 20 combined passing and rushing touchdowns this season. With these two QBs squaring off it marks just the second time since 1950 that two signal callers with 20 or more combined touchdowns each meet up in Week 9 or earlier.

The only other time it happened was in Week 9 of the 2004 season when Peyton Manning (22 TD entering game) and the Colts defeated Daunte Culpepper (21 TD entering game) and the Vikings.

Wilson's 26 passing touchdowns this season are the second-most by a player in his team's first seven games of a season in NFL history. (Tom Brady, 27 TDs, 2007). Wilson's 26 offensive touchdowns are more than 29 other NFL teams have scored this season on offense.

2. Right at home vs. the AFC East

If you thought Tom Brady enjoyed playing in the AFC East, Russell Wilson isn't far behind.

The Seahawks QB has had enormous success against AFC East opponents. Wilson is 9-1 in his career vs. the AFC East with his only loss coming against Miami in his rookie season. He has an 8:1 touchdown to interception ratio and a 120.8 passer rating in his 10 career appearances against the AFC East.

Former Seahawks LB Lofa Tatupu, who covers the Seahawks for the BLeav Podcast Network and appeared on ‘One Bills Live’ this week, doesn't see any defensive scheme as a solution against Seattle's All-Pro quarterback.

"There really isn't an answer for stopping Russell Wilson," Tatupu said. "Averaging well over 30 points per game, the only bad game you saw from Russell was his three-interception game against Arizona, but he had 472 of offense and three touchdowns, so I don't know that you call that a bad game.

"He has no shortage of weapons and I've seen teams all-out blitz him and he just backpedals and makes a decision and releases the ball. There are several teams that have tried to blitz him and when that doesn't work they drop into soft coverage. I haven't seen a scheme stop this guy. Maybe slow him down a bit, but it's a tall task."

Against the division his career completion percentage (68.6%), yards per attempt (9.3) and passer rating (120.8) are all tops among 117 quarterbacks with 10 or more career starts against the AFC East since the 1970 merger.

3. Red zone rulers

The Seattle Seahawks are the number one scoring offense in football for a host of reasons. MVP-type play from their quarterback, dynamic playmakers and a rushing attack that effectively complements their passing game.

The league's third-ranked passing attack is aided by a run game that ranks 12th in the league. The only NFL offenses who have more prolific balance are the Green Bay Packers, who rank ninth in both rushing and passing and the L.A. Chargers, who rank eighth in rushing and sixth in passing.

"He has Brian Schottenheimer as his offensive coordinator and he's very comfortable in that offense," said Tatupu. "And then the emergence of DK Metcalf has helped make Wilson an even more productive quarterback this season."

Seattle's high level of efficiency is most evident when the Seahawks reach the red zone. Wilson and company lead the league in red zone touchdown efficiency, scoring touchdowns on 88 percent of their red zone possessions (22 of 25).

The Seahawks are the only NFL club to score at least four touchdowns in every game they have played this season. Through Week 8, only two other teams have scored at least four touchdowns in five of their games (Green Bay, Kansas City).

Seattle has scored at least 25 points in all seven games this season, the longest streak in team history.

4. Allen-Diggs 2020

As much as the Seahawks passing game has flourished, we shouldn't forget that Stefon Diggs is third in the league in receptions and second in the league in receiving yards, both of which rank higher than either Metcalf or Lockett.

Diggs is also facing the worst pass defense in football as the Seahawks are surrendering almost 360 passing yards per game. Now part of that figure is rooted in their opponents being forced the throw the ball to catch up on the scoreboard.

But the Seahawks are allowing a passer rating against of 93.1 this season and a completion percentage of 68 percent, which is the eighth highest rate in the league.

"I always feel like whenever we're on the field we can compete with anybody and that's been my attitude since day one," said Josh Allen. "But we understand how well the Seahawks are playing and how well Russell Wilson is playing there and we've got no small task. We've got to make sure that we're doing our part and trying to keep them off the field as much as possible, but they've got some very opportunistic guys on defense and they're forcing a lot of turnovers, so it's going to be a four-quarter dogfight."

Allen is right as the Seahawks defense is tied for the league lead with 14 takeaways in their first seven games. Seattle has at least one interception in every game they've played and at least one fumble recovery in five of the seven games they've played.

But Allen has faced just one team currently ranked in the bottom five in pass defense this season (NY Jets). Allen completed almost 71 percent of his passes in two games against the Jets, averaged almost 310 yards passing as the Bills averaged 22.5 points per game and he had a 97.5 passer rating.  

Seattle's top two cornerbacks are also nicked up as Quinton Dunbar (knee) and Shaquill Griffin (concussion/hamstring) did not practice earlier this week.

Diggs has at least six receptions in each of his last five games.

5. Dynamic duo

Seattle's DK Metcalf has been grabbing most of the headlines this season, but the big-play receiver has a very capable running mate in Tyler Lockett. In fact, Lockett leads the team in receptions, while Metcalf leads the team in receiving yards and both have seven touchdowns apiece.

"They're both very talented players and they got an extremely talented quarterback to be able to throw them the ball," said Jordan Poyer. "You've got a guy like DK, who's big, strong and can take the top off and make contested catches and the same with Lockett just really differences in size. Lockett is a speed guy, quick, shifty guy inside and also able to take the top off. So a very good offense and we'll have to be on top of our stuff and execute at an extremely high level."

Metcalf had the breakout game last week with a career-high 12 receptions for a career-best 161 yards and two touchdowns. The 6-5, 237-pound wideout leads the NFL with 10 receptions of 25 yards or more, tied for first in receiving touchdowns, second in yards per catch and fourth in receiving yards.

Lockett had a 15-catch game in Week 7 at Arizona for 200 yards and three touchdowns, making the Seahawks the first team in league history to have two different players with at least 12 receptions, 150 yards and two touchdowns in consecutive games.

6. First down success

Part of the reason for Seattle's offensive success is due to their ability to get consistent positive gains on first down. Through their first seven games, the Seahawks are second in the league in first down efficiency, gaining close to seven yards per play on first down (6.67).

Seattle passes on first down at a rate of 39 percent, which is the fourth-highest rate in the league.

The Bills, however, are right behind Seattle in first down success at 6.51 yards per play on first down ranking third in the league.

That success on first down has helped Buffalo lead the league in third down conversion rate at just over 51 percent (51.6%). But the same can't be said for Seattle, which is a surprising 26th on what players call the "money down."

Seattle is converting on third down at a rate of just 39.2 percent.

Scroll through to see the best photos from Buffalo's practice as they prepare for Week 9 against the Seattle Seahawks.

7. Banged up backs

The Seahawks offensive backfield is in rough shape with three of their top four running backs dealing with injuries. Fourth-string RB DeeJay Dallas had to carry the load for Seattle last week with starter Chris Carson (foot), Carlos Hyde (hamstring) and Travis Homer (knee) all sidelined.

Carson and Hyde are question marks for Sunday's game against the Bills, which means the bulk of the run game could again fall to Dallas and Homer if he can return from injury.

Meanwhile Rashaad Penny, who suffered a torn ACL late last season is close to returning. Head coach Pete Carroll called Penny, "really close" and said, "he's doing a lot of stuff." Whether Penny is activated off the PUP list remains to be seen.

8. Safeties return, Dunlap debut

Bills head coach Sean McDermott confirmed that S Micah Hyde is out of the concussion protocol after he returned to practice on Thursday this week. He missed last week's game against the Patriots.

"He's out of the protocol now so that's a good transition for him and for us," said McDermott. "It looks like he's in a good spot and ready to go."

Hyde is expected to start Sunday.

Seattle S Jamal Adams, who has played in six career games against the Bills, has not played in a game since Week 3 due to a groin injury, but he has a chance to return to the lineup Sunday.

The Seahawks are pacing him through the practice week in the hopes of having him back in the lineup on Sunday in Buffalo.

Safety Jamal Adams a "full-go" in practice. "He's practicing today, he's full-go," Carroll said. "I'm really excited to tell you that. He's gotten all the way to the point—he was close last week and would have had a chance last week, couldn't get him caught up—but he's ready to go and pumped, and we are too, really looking forward to it."

To augment their lagging pass rush, the Seahawks made a trade for Cincinnati DE Carlos Dunlap. He's expected to play Sunday against the Bills.

"He's been practicing, preparing, playing games, all that," said Carroll. "So no concern about anything other than how he handles the learning part of it. I don't see any restriction at all on him playing this week."

In seven career games against the Bills, Dunlap has 18 tackles, three sacks, eight quarterback hits, four tackles for loss and two forced fumbles.

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