Every week, we up our prep on the Patriots’ next opponent with our “5 questions…” feature where we check in with a writer who covers New England’s next opponent. For this week’s game against the Seahawks, we talk with longtime beat man, ESPN Seattle's Danny O'Neill. Check him out on Twitter here. Thanks to Danny for his time.
1. A lot of people are worried about is this game even going to happen on Sunday night with the wildfires and everything. Bill Belichick talked about it, I think Pete Carroll talked about it, that the weather report is looking good. But sort of what's your sense of what's going on there in Seattle? And do you think this game goes off without a hitch on Sunday night?
The game will go off. Most of the weather reports are looking good, you're hoping for some kind of storm either some wind or some precipitation to come through and that is expected to happen. It's obviously something that's affected the entire West Coast right now and it's a trend we've really seen for the last three or four years. I do think that the air quality index today was 175 is what I've heard and it needs to be below 200. If it gets above 200 at game time, they wouldn't play but I do think that it is going to be okay for them. And I think they'll be able to play.
2. So the Seahawks played their opener last weekend at Atlanta ... from being a long-time observer with this team, did anything stand out from that game against the Falcons, something that's a little different or anything that caught your eye? What's your general impressions about what you saw in the opener?
I think they're going to have a more air-oriented approach early in games this year. I think last year in the first quarter think it was like 38% of their first-quarter plays were passes, it was the lowest percentage of any team in the league. This past game that was up at 60% — seven of their first 11 plays were passes. I think that's part of what we're going to see is a trend. They're not going to certainly steer away from running the ball, but they're going to try to use that later in games. I think they're going to try to