Ah yes, a Geno Smith-led Seahawks squad versus a Saints team led by Jameis Winston. Just what the schedulers were anticipating!
Keeping jokes aside, the Seattle Seahawks (2-4) will close out their three-game run of primetime slots by hosting the New Orleans Saints (3-2) on Monday night without their star QB, Russell Wilson, under center. It would be irresponsible of this writer to surgarcoat the situation at hand: The Seahawks are in trouble.
Seattle has already fallen into the basement of an extremely competitive NFC West division and desperately need this win to keep any playoff hopes alive. However, a defense that is one of the worst in the league as of week 7 and no Russell Wilson to patch the flaws of the offense (Chris Carson is also out) means Seattle has a daunting task ahead of them against a Saints squad that looks different from previous years but is still efficient when “on”.
I love Geno Smith as much as the next guy, but it’s hard for me to fathom how Smith and the offensive line will beat Cameron Jordan (12 QB Pressures) and the rest of the Saints defensive line. Outside of Duane Brown this Seattle O-line will struggle to protect Smith as he’s progressing through his reads. The Saints secondary has some vulnerability if the QB doesn’t throw to Marshon Lattimore’s direction, but Smith won’t have many “comfortable” opportunities to take shots downfield. The receiver duo of Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf should take some pressure off Smith as other receivers like Freddie Swain have shown they can make big-time catches.
It’s never a good thing for a team to depend on their opponent to make a mistake to win the game, but the Seahawks will need Saints QB Jameis Winston to make a few of those to win on Monday. Winston has protected the ball better this year than in years past, but that is also because before their week 6 game against Washington he’d only had 23 pass attempts at most. He threw a “big-time” 30 passes in the game against Washington. It’s clear that Saints head coach Sean Payton does not trust Winston to the same degree he trusted his longtime QB Drew Brees.
I would say the way to beat the Saints is to force them to pass and draw Winston into a mistake, but there are two problems with this solution. One, the Saints have one of the most dynamic running backs in the league in Alvin Kamara to lead their rushing attack. Two, the Seahawks are simply not good at stopping the run. They are even worse at stopping the passing attack. The secondary did upgrade their corners by dismissing Tre Flowers for Sidney Jones, but that is like fixing the damage a pipe leak causes without fixing the pipe itself.
My overall confidence level for this Seahawks squad is about as low as it can get. They don’t have their superstar quarterback to bail them out of poor defensive play and questionable play-calling. Although the Saints are a flawed team, they have better (modern) coaching and have shown that they can work around their good, not great quarterback to minimize mistakes and wear down their opponents with solid offensive line play and a generational talent in Alvin Kamara.
This could get ugly folks.
Final prediction: Seahawks: 20 Saints: 34
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