Through four games, the Seattle Seahawks have a top five offense in the league, but one of the worst defenses. The games that they have played the last two weeks are projecting right now what a lot of their season might be playing out like.
Assuming that this week’s NFC Offensive Player Of The Week Geno Smith stays healthy and continues the pace that he has right now, they will be in a lot of games because of their offense, but their defense will keep other teams in these games, as well. If they want to be in playoff contention in December, they will need this defense to get better, and the sooner the better.
It will be fascinating to see if this offense can sustain itself, and if the defense can catch up. If Geno Smith carries forth this level of passing efficiency, and this defense can just get to become a middling one, Seattle could become a very dangerous team to play in December, and that would be fun.
In terms of the New Orleans Saints, it appears like the opposite might be happening for them. They have a top ten defense, but their offense feels closer to third tier right now. Also, their special teams has been a struggle.
Special teams between Seattle and New Orleans might prove a big determining factor this Sunday. While the Seahawks have had a couple special teams mishaps (oddly, each involving a Tyler Lockett punt return), they appear to be perhaps the better unit.
If I were to predict a likely scenario for how Dennis Allen will want to attack Seattle’s struggling defense, I would say the he will want to get Alvin Kamara going early and often against Seattle’s linebackers, and then take shots down field against the rawness of the corners that Pete Carroll has been riding with. Until Cody Barton and Jordyn Brooks become a better tackling tandem, and Tariq Woolen, Michael Jackson, and Coby Bryant prove that they can play cleaner against receivers down field, I would expect any offense featuring a quality running back and receiver to test these areas of the Seattle defense. The Saints have both in Kamara and rookie receiver Chris Olave who is averaging 16 yards per catch right now.
In fact, as it stands, I kinda see another shootout in this one. I don’t think it matters whether Jameis Winston or Andy Dalton is starting at quarterback for the Saints, both are capable enough quarterbacks to test this Seattle defense, but I also see Seattle’s offense continuing to hum with Geno, as well.
I suspect that the entire Seattle offensive unit will play with confidence against this tougher Saints defense after pulling off that big shoot out win in that hostile and loud environment in Detroit, and I think the coaches know that they need to keep this offense wide open in order to win. Having played New Orleans last year in Seattle, Geno is likely more aware of the challenges they brought with their coverages, and might well have a better sense of what will work against that particular brand of man coverage. DK Metcalf could have another big day. So could the running backs.
Both teams have a lot to play for in this one. Therefore, I expect both clubs to lay a lot on the line.
The Saints are desperate to avoid a 1-4 start to their season in a division that features Tom Brady, but the Seahawks on in a four way tie for first place in the NFC West, and a win against on the road against the Saints puts them in a nice spot next week with hosting the Arizona Cardinals. Beating the Saints with a chance to top the Cardinals in order to climb ahead in their division feels pretty incentivizing.
So, I’m going to be a homer again this week, and say that my Seahawks seize the day in the Big Easy, and pull off a 31-27 win in another hostile environment situation on the road.
I think we are going to see better play out of the Seattle defense this week. Coach Carroll has already indicated some personnel changes likely happening with going back to the steadiness of Ryan Neal at safety, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a change up at a couple other spots this week, as well. I get the sense that Seattle is still sorting through its personnel to get the best eleven guys not he field together. I suspect that they have figured out that Neal is a better safety than Josh Jones is right now, and they might be losing patience with the youth movement at corner some.
I also thought the run defense actually played better in Detroit until they hemorrhaged that busted run to Jamaal Williams in the third quarter. Also, Detroit is a better offensive team than New Orleans. So with all of that, I am sensing a better overall outing for the Seahawk defenders this weekend, but if all of this reasoning appears to be wishful feebleness to you as a reader, I totally understand.
In terms of the Seattle offense, I think this is a week that they get the run game going more again with the quick passing attack filled with man beating concepts. The Saints appear to be good against the pass, but have struggled more the the run. I see Geno softening up their defense in order to set up explosive run plays by Rashaad Penny, and Ken Walker III. Also, I suspect the Seattle will have looked at how Justin Jefferson of the Vikings exposed the Saint defenders downfield in London, and will look to do their own exploiting as the game progresses with DK and Tyler Lockett.
In the end, I think we see pretty balanced attacks from both offenses, but something is going to happen (perhaps on the special teams) that will provide a path to victory for Seattle.
At least, this is what I think will happen.
Also, it’s my birthday weekend, and therefore, the Seahawks have to win.