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Ask the Expert: Clare Farnsworth

Reggie Roberts:  Many NFL experts think the Seahawks are the League's most complete team.  Are the Seahawks the NFL's most complete team?

Clare Farnsworth:  If the Seahawks were "complete" I might agree with that. They have talent and depth across the roster. But they've played the past six games without injured starting tackles Russell Okung and Breno Giacomini, and they won't have either of them on Sunday, either. It has created protection problems for Russell Wilson, who has been sacked 27 times in nine games after being sacked 33 times all of last season. And that No. 2 defensive ranking includes a run defense that has slipped from No. 6 to No. 19 after giving up 405 rushing yards the past two games – almost twice what they yielded in the previous three games. The Seahawks have the best record in the NFC, but even coach Pete Carroll admits, "We're a work in progress."

RR:  Seattle RB Marshawn Lynch is having a monster season.  What's been the key to his success at the halfway point of the 2013 season?

CF:  That mentality that comes with his Beast Mode persona. He just does not give up, regardless of the odds or number of bodies stacked up to stop him. He's now No. 2 in the league in rushing, but that's also been a rollercoaster ride. He's gone from tied for No. 27 after the opener, to No. 11, to No. 8, To No. 6, to No. 3 (for two weeks), to No. 2, to No. 4, back to No. 2. One the "secrets" to his success, as fullback Michael Robinson puts it, is that Lynch is one of the strongest players Robinson has ever seen on one leg. That's one of the reasons it's so hard to bring him down.

RR:  How good are the Kansas City Chiefs and are you at all surprised that the Chiefs are the NFL's lone undefeated team?

CF:  I was "raised" by Chuck Knox, so the Chiefs are the best team in the league until someone beats them. But with that said, they have not played the toughest of schedules and how long can they count on the defense outscoring the offense? So yes, I am surprised. And I'll be even more surprised if they're still undefeated after facing the Broncos and Chargers twice and also the Colts down the stretch.

RR:  Nobody is running away with the NFC East, but the Cowboys are 5-4 and experts who cover the League say Dallas QB Tony Romo is playing his best football.  What's your take on Romo and the Cowboys?

CF:  I'll become a believer in Tony Romo and his team when they make me a believer. We've been down this "The Cowboys are poised to make a run" road too many times in recent seasons, only for it to be a stop trip.

RR:  Speaking of quarterbacks, Seattle signal-caller Russell Wilson is playing at a very high level.  Give us a few reasons as to why Wilson has avoided the sophomore slump in 2013?

*CF: *As Wilson also says, "The separation is in the preparation." This kid gets it. His study habits are off the charts, and it extends to his teammates. He gets in so early on Mondays that he's watched the video and has left the receivers notes – detailed notes – about routes that might work against the upcoming week's opponent. Sidney Rice said the first time he saw the notes last season his first thought was, "Who does this guy think he is?" Then, after examining the notes, his response was, "Damn, this is pretty good." But the sign on the QB meeting room might say it all. It's been changed to read: Office of Russell C. Wilson. On the field, Wilson has an uncanny knack for not only sensing pressure, but being able to whirl away from it to find a receiver. And, he's tougher than he looks. Wilson has taken some shots in recent games, but gotten right back up.

RR:  The Falcons, winners of 13 regular season games in two of the past three seasons, are off to a 2-6 start in 2013.  What's your take on the Falcons and why are they struggling this season?

CF:  It has to start with the injuries. Playing without Julio Jones and Roddy White is like playing with both hands tied behind your back. And losing Steven Jackson also was a blow. I watched him for all those seasons with the Rams and thoughts his skills were just what the Falcons offense needed, but haven't had enough of this season.

RR:  And finally, give us a prediction and score for Sunday's game.

CF:  Well, the records tell us this one should be a mismatch of a rematch. But the Seahawks needed a deflected fourth-down pass in the end zone on the final play against the then 3-4 Rams to escape with a 14-9 victory. Then, they needed the biggest comeback in franchise history to win in overtime against the winless Buccaneers. So…Seahawks 24, Falcons 17.

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