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Patriots' up-tempo O vs. Seahawks' D is must-see TV

Sunday's affair between the San Francisco 49ers and New York Giants vibes like two agitated heavyweights preparing for battle. That game will grab the headlines, but the most fascinating matchup of the week is the New England Patriots at the Seattle Seahawks.

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Bill Belichick's boys roll into Seattle with the NFL's most exciting and top-rated offense. The Seahawks -- in their frenzied coliseum -- will attempt to slow down Tom Brady with the league's No. 1 defense.

The Patriots average 33 points and 439.4 yards per game, but the story here is play count. New England rattled off an astonishing 89 plays in a win over the Denver Broncos. They've experimented with five individual schemes in as many weeks, and what we saw Sunday had Oregon coach Chip Kelly's fingerprints all over the game plan.

Kelly traveled to New England to counsel Belichick on the scheme, and the result is something wild: The Patriots have increased the amount of plays they've run in every game dating to the Super Bowl, and what they accomplished against the Broncos could change the future of pro football.

Brady operates a fevered, no-huddle attack that trades in ponderous play calls for one-word directions. The rapid flow of snaps left the Broncos struggling to substitute players and packages in Week 5. Denver was a step behind all afternoon.

"There's nobody in the league that's close, at this time," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll told Comcast SportsNet New England. "But there will be. (The Patriots) will affect other people, I'm sure, because they've had so much success already."

Seattle's upstart defense has wreaked havoc on quarterbacks this season. Lost in the Monday night debacle against the Green Bay Packers was the eight sacks Aaron Rodgers endured against a Seahawks defensive line that uses speed and athleticism to punish opponents.

"They play a unique system that's really exclusive to the Seahawks," ESPN's Jon Gruden told The Seattle Times. "They can dominate you on defense if you're not ready. They can hand it to you."

Carroll's assessment is, well, completely Carroll-esque.

"Basically it's a bunch of young guys that are big and strong and they run real fast and they're playing together. It's a pretty new group," he told WEEI-AM, via

So much in football is borrowed. Nothing is new. But New England's offense against Seattle's defense is a matchup crafted carefully in football-nerd heaven. What we're seeing on both sides of the ball are innovations and concepts that won't be so original a year from now or beyond. These two success stories will be examined, copied and implemented on the field by teams all over the league.

Follow Marc Sessler on Twitter @MarcSesslerNFL.

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