The Seattle Seahawks Are Set To Take On The Kansas City Chiefs In A Cold Winter Matchup.
Despite already clinching the division, this matchup is crucial for the Chiefs. Due to the head-to-head loss to the Buffalo Bills, they are half a game behind Buffalo for the one seed in the AFC. Kansas City must win out in order to get the first round bye week. The first step to winning out is beating the Seahawks.
A likely key to success for Kansas City comes by running the football. The Seahawks have one of the worst run defenses in the NFL. They have the second most rushing yards allowed (2,256) and are tied with the first most rushing touchdowns given up at 19. The only team that’s worst in these categories are the Houston Texans, a team the Chiefs were able to move the ball on last week.
Both of the Chiefs running backs have been on a roll recently. Over the last five games, Isiah Pacheco has dominated running the ball, averaging more than five yards a carry. He has done so despite going up against some difficult defenses, like the Broncos and Chargers.
Third down back Jerick McKinnion has been effective in both the running and receiving game. McKinnon has averaged 7.6 yards per rush and 9.5 yards per reception over the last four games.
The Chiefs have seen most of their success when running design screens and passes to the running backs.
Attacking the short game with the backs has also set up the play action well. Last week against the Texans, the Chiefs had a near perfect game using play action. Patrick Mahomes had 11 completions on 12 attempts. The only incompletion was a drop. He had 125 yards, averaging more than 10 yards per attempt with one touchdown.
The ability to run the ball, especially against bad rushing teams, will open up the pass game. With the game start time weather hovering around single digits, the play action could see extensive use.
Going into the game, the Chiefs are a very healthy team. There are only two players that are either already ruled out or doubtful for the matchup. Jody Fortson is out with an elbow injury and Khalen Saunders is doubtful with an illness.
Contrarily, the Seahawks are very injured football team. Star receiver Tyler Lockett is out with a hand injury. DeeJay Dallas, Marquise Goodwin, and Noah Fant are all questionable. The Seattle offense is going to rotate around wide receiver DK Metcalf. If the Chiefs are able to contain Metcalf, they will be able to stop the entire offense.
Unfortunately, the Chiefs have had issues containing big wideouts. Mike Williams, Mike Evans and other number one receivers in the league have had great days against the Chiefs backfield.
The Seahawks will be playing for a playoff spot. With their loss to the 49ers last Thursday night, they are out of contention to win the division. However, they are still in the hunt for a wildcard spot. With little room for error they need to win out. They have been a good team and will likely come out hot from the gate.