Seahawks vs. Steelers: Keys to an upset victory on Sunday night

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The Seattle Seahawks are underdogs by 4.5 points for tonight’s road game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. With their starting quarterback and best rusher on IR and their defense malfunctioning on the back end, it’s not difficult to see why the oddsmakers and the vast majority of the experts are predicting a win for Pittsburgh.

If the Seahawks are going to stage an upset, here are some keys to the game they’ll need to follow.

Offense: Keep Geno Smith clean

Winning on the road with a backup quarterback and a poor defense is tough enough. Doing it with a QB2 under consistent pressure is a very tall order indeed, which is why it’s critical to keep Geno Smith clean in the pocket. Smith can help himself by making quick reads and keeping his release time down. However, the pass protectors up front have to pitch in and contain a front-seven that ranks fifth in pass rush win rate, especially T.J. Watt.

Defense: Try something different

You don’t need to be an NFL coach to see this defense broken. Seattle can’t stop the run, can’t cover and isn’t getting pressure often enough to make up for it. Defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. has to try something different this week, especially against a diminished QB who prefers to take all the underneath stuff this defense has been allowing willingly all year. We’d like to see more blitz attempts for Jamal Adams and more aggressive coverage in general, plus more snaps for Ryan Neal and Darrell Taylor and a legitimate look at rookie cornerback Tre Brown in his debut.

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