NFL Picks: Seattle Seahawks vs. Kansas City Chiefs

Pre-season week 2 Free NFL Picks– Friday games

Seattle Seahawks @ Kansas City Chiefs -3

Seattle were defeated in last week’s opener at home vs Denver, and will look for an improvement on the offensive line tonight in Kansas City. The Seahawks gave up seven sacks, two which stood out the most led to a Russell Wilson fumble and an injury to backup QB Tavaris Jackson.

There will be changes on the line, Justin Britt is set to move from RT to LG and backup tackle Garry Gilliam is starting at the opened up RT spot. Center Drew Nowak is getting the start this week ahead of Lemuel Jeanpierre, as they continue their battle to replace Max Unger.

The only unchanged players will be Russell Okung starting at LT and J.R Sweezy keeping his spot at RG. Coach Pete Carroll said if all goes well, this could be the starting offensive line to start the regular season “We need to see them play well, work together and communicate really well. Things looked very good in practice”.

The line issues last week made it tough for the young skill players to showcase their talent vs Denver, and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell was aware of this. He said “If we can get the line shored up, that will enlighten us a little bit more about what our run game is like, what the pass game is like, and be able to move forward”. The players looking for roster spots include tailbacks Christine Michel and Thomas Rawls and wide receivers Kasen Williams, Kevin Smith and B.J Daniels.

The main area of focus tonight is expected to be consistency. The coaches know that the regular starters can bring it repeatedly, but who out of the young group of players can take that step?

Rookie d-lineman Frank Clark was great last week, but may not play vs Kansas City due to an arm injury. Tyler Lockett was incredible in the return game vs Denver, so doesn’t need to live up to the same hype, but does need to show consistency and take care of the ball to show that last week wasn’t a one-off performance.

At this time of year, teams are filled with great talent from top to bottom of their rosters. The thing that separates these players is the ability to keep bringing their best, play after play, and game after game.

Kansas City had one of the most convincing wins of pre-season week 1, and the stand out performance was backup QB Chase Daniel. Daniels was more effective with the two’s than Alex Smith was with the starters, and his 17 completions on 21 throws with 189 yards and three TD’s eclipsed Smith’s efforts, he only managed one scoring drive, which ended in a field goal. Smith also threw a bad interception in the exhibition win.

Andy Reid has said that the starters will play close to a half tonight, and QB Alex Smith has stressed what he is looking for. “Obviously not to turn the ball over, that’d be the one. You want to go out and execute, have some success and score points”.

The offensive line depth is a slight concern, with injuries to starting tackles Jeff Allen and Eric Fisher. Look out for the battle to replace them tonight, Donald Stephenson and Paul Fanaika. Stephenson will be moving to the left side, where he played two years in college, so could feel more comfortable there. Fanaika has been praised by Reid, and has talked of his strong punch and strong hands. He will need to show improved footwork tonight to show he is capable to play on the edge.

Second year player Laurent Duvernay-Tardif is expected to play tonight, and will replace Zach Fulton at right guard. LDT has great strength but needs to show much more talent if he is hoping to unseat Fulton in the starting role.

There will be many debuts tonight, including wide receiver Chris Conley, defensive end Mike Catapano and fourth round rookie Ramik Wilson at the inside linebacker position. Reid has already ruled out starting LB Josh Mauga due to a heel injury, so this will be a big night for Wilson, who will be starting next to Derrick Johnson.

Receiver Chris Conley is huge and athletic, but missed last week’s win due to a knee strain. He has practiced consistently since then though, and should have a big game tonight.

Finally, look out for Eric Berry, who didn’t get a ton of work last week, but will be looking to play his way back into shape for the start of the regular season.

Marco D’Angelo’s “Marco’s Minute”: Dealing with a Losing Streak

Marco D’Angelo (@MarcoInVegas on Twitter) from talks about his “Handicapping a Losing Streak” in this segment of “Marco’s Minute”.

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