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Setting the scene: Patriots-Seahawks

10.14.12 at 10:32 am ET

It will be a typical day in Seattle as the Patriots look for their third straight win over the top-ranked defense in the NFL.

Overcast skies and showers are expected for the 4:05 p.m. ET kickoff at CenturyLink Field as the 3-2 Patriots do battle with the surprising 3-2 Seahawks. It will be a fairly mild day with temperatures in the low 60s are in the forecast. It figures to be a breezy day as well as winds out of the south at 17 mph are expected.

The game features the Patriots’ top-ranked offense against Seattle’s top-ranked defense.

The Patriots are averaging just over 439 yards per game and 33 points per game, both tops in the NFL. The Seahawks are allowing just 258.6 yards a contest and only 14 points a game. The yards allowed leads all NFL defenses while the 70 points allowed is second in the entire league.

The big injury news this week for the Patriots involves who is expected to return. After spraining his right ankle in a loss to the Cardinals at Gillette Stadium on Sept. 16, tight end Aaron Hernandez made the trip to Seattle and is expected to return after a three-game absence. However, his role could be very limited, as he did not practice Friday, and his activation for the game will depend on whether he handles pregame warmups with no setbacks.

With Hernandez out, the Patriots have rediscovered their running game, rushing for more than 200 yards in each of their last two games – both wins – against the Bills and Broncos. In fact, the Patriots are averaging 165.4 yards a game on the ground, good for third-best in the entire NFL.

Four Patriots players were ruled out before Sunday, as receiver Julian Edelman (hand), safety Steve Gregory (hip), linebacker Tracy White (foot) and rookie linebacker Dont’a Hightower (hamstring) were all ruled out before the inactives came out. Edelman injured his hand against the Ravens on Sept. 23 and has missed the last two games while Gregory was injured in the win over the Bills on Sept. 30 and will be missing his second straight game.

With Seattle’s crowd noise being among the very loudest in the NFL, the Patriots have prepped all week for the expected conditions, blaring music during practice. They did so with success in preparing for the loud environments in Baltimore and Buffalo. They had the Ravens crowd out of the game for the first three quarters before losing the game in the fourth. They scored 52 points in Buffalo, including 45 in the second half, taking the crowd out of the game in both instances.

The Patriots and Seahawks played 12 times in a 14-year span from 1980-93 – when both were in the AFC – but have played just twice since. The Patriots have won both of those meetings, a 30-20 win at Gillette in 2004 and a 24-21 come-from-behind win in 2008 in the same building they’re in today. In the 2008 win, Matt Cassel led the Patriots to the victory, as New England outscored Seattle, 11-0, in the fourth quarter.

Tom Brady is quarterbacking the Patriots in Seattle for the first time. Entering today, Seattle is one of just three NFL venues Brady hasn’t played in during the regular season. San Francisco (his hometown) and Tampa Bay are the others. Brady played the Buccaneers in a “road” game in 2009 but the game – like the Rams this year – was played in London.

The Patriots are wrapping up a stretch in which they’re playing four of their first six games on the road. After playing the Jets next week at Gillette, they will conclude October with a trip to London for a game against the Rams.

The Seahawks, meanwhile, are beginning a stretch of three games in 15 days. After today’s contest, they travel to San Francisco for a game against the 49ers before heading cross-country for a game in Detroit against the Lions.

Read More: Aaron Hernandez, Julian Edelman, Matt Cassel, New England Patriots



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