KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Seattle Seahawks and Kansas City Chiefs are in many ways mirror images of each other.
The Seahawks have a dominant ground game led by Marshawn Lynch, the Chiefs a potent ground attack led by Jamaal Charles. Both teams have stingy defenses, mobile quarterbacks and rosters not made up of high-priced acquisitions but of unheralded and late-round draft picks.
Even their records are the same.
Both are 6-3 entering today’s game at Arrowhead Stadium.
None of this should be that surprising, though. Seahawks general manager John Schneider and Chiefs counterpart John Dorsey spent years working side-by-side under Ron Wolf and Ted Thompson in Green Bay, both of them basing their own roster-building beliefs on the Packers model.
“We all have different ways on how to build a team,” Dorsey said. “It’s no secret John and I both started in Green Bay, groomed under Ron, groomed under Ted. So there’s like-mindedness in how you go about certain ways, but everybody’s personality is a little bit different.”
Sure, there are subtle differences in the rosters. But the results have been similar.
The Seahawks are coming off a Super Bowl victory, and Schneider has built a team that is the envy of many executives in the NFL. Meanwhile, the Chiefs are coming off an 11-5 mark in Dorsey’s first season, a nine-win improvement over the team he inherited.
Not surprisingly, Dorsey turned to the Seahawks when he was rebuilding his roster.
In a waiver-wire spending spree last season, Dorsey signed former Seattle defensive back Ron Parker, defensive tackle Jaye Howard and tight end Sean McGrath. Parker is still on the Chiefs, evolving from an unknown prospect out of tiny Newberry College into their second-leading tackler.
“We’re excited to see him getting a lot more playing time this year,” Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman said. “We still call him and talk to him. We’re still happy for him.”
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said that Parker’s release last season came down to numbers, but acknowledged that the big, speedy cornerback fit perfectly in their defense.
Then again, a lot about the Seahawks would fit with the Chiefs. And vice versa.
“If you’ve got the right guy at quarterback, with Alex Smith there, accomplished, dependable, you know exactly what you’re going to get, and our guy (Russell Wilson) does the same, you have a chance,” Carroll said. “I know they’re committed to the running game, and we are, and we both play defense, we think that’s the best way to long-term success.”
So if the two teams are so evenly matched, what could make the difference? Here are some story lines that could become key factors on Sunday:
STOPPING THE BEAST
Lynch ran for 140 yards and a career-best four touchdowns last week against the Giants. He’ll be facing a rush defense that has not allowed a touchdown on the ground this season. “The way he runs, physical style, man, more of Earl Campbell than the modern day,” Chiefs defensive tackle Kevin Vickerson said. “We’ve got some big guys over here as well.”
STOPPING THE SPEED
Charles has yet to run for 100 yards in a game this season, but he’s still been productive with six touchdowns rushing and two receiving. Charles will be going against a Seahawks defense that lost defensive tackle Brandon Mebane to a season-ending hamstring injury. “They have some explosive athletes,” Sherman said. “Charles can go the distance at any time.”
HOUSTON VS WILSON
Chiefs linebacker Justin Houston was held without a sack by the Bills last week for the first time since Week 2. He still has 12 on the season, more than two entire teams, and got to elusive Jets quarterback Michael Vick twice. “Everyone is staying in their rush lanes,” Houston said, “and it makes it real easy for me to do my job.”
AIR IT OUT
The Seahawks will be pitting the league’s third-ranked defense against a Chiefs offense that ranks 30th in the league in passing offense. But that doesn’t seem to bother Alex Smith, who has only eclipsed 250 yards passing once this season. “I’m not getting caught up in that,” he said. “First and foremost, we’re trying to win the game.”
OLD AFC WEST
The Chiefs and Seahawks are meeting for the 51st time, but just the fourth since the 2002 realignment put them in difference conferences. Kansas City has won two of the past three, including a 35-28 victory at Arrowhead Stadium on Oct. 29, 2006.
at KANSAS CITY (6-3)
Sunday, noon, FOX
OPENING LINE — Chiefs by 1
RECORD VS. SPREAD — Seattle 4-5, Kansas City 8-1
SERIES RECORD — Chiefs lead 32-18
LAST MEETING — Chiefs beat Seahawks 42-24, Nov. 28, 2010
LAST WEEK — Seahawks beat Giants 38-17; Chiefs beat Bills 17-13
AP PRO32 RANKING — Seahawks No. 8, Chiefs No. 10
SEAHAWKS OFFENSE — OVERALL (10), RUSH (1), PASS (31).
SEAHAWKS DEFENSE — OVERALL (3), RUSH (4), PASS (8).
• CHIEFS OFFENSE — OVERALL (22), RUSH (5), PASS (30).
• CHIEFS DEFENSE — OVERALL (7), RUSH (20), PASS (1).
• STREAKS, STATS AND NOTES — Former AFC West rivals meeting for 51st time but just fourth since 2002 realignment. Chiefs have won two of last three in series. ... Seattle visiting Arrowhead Stadium for first time since Oct. 29, 2006. Kansas City won 35-28. ... Seahawks ran for franchise-record 350 yards last week against Giants, most in NFL since Kansas City ran for 352 against Indianapolis in 2012. ... Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch had career-best four TD runs vs Giants. He has league-leading 12 TD runs this season. ... Seattle has run for at least 100 yards in seven straight games, third-best streak in franchise history. ... Seattle DT Brandon Mebane was put on IR this week with hamstring injury. He ranked fifth in NFL among DTs in tackles since 2011. ... Chiefs have won six of seven since 0-2 start. ... Kansas City is 4-0 when leading at halftime. ... Chiefs are only NFL team that has not allowed TD rushing. Several teams are tied for second with four allowed. ... Kansas City is third in NFL in third-down conversions at 48.7 percent. ... Chiefs LB Justin Houston leads NFL with 12 sacks. ... Kansas City allows 205.3 yards passing per game, best in NFL. ... Rookie K Cairo Santos has made 10 straight field goals for Chiefs. He is 12 of 14 on season.
Kansas City Chiefs
Kansas City, Mo.