By Jim Moore
I guess we should be worried about this game in Houston because of injuries that might prevent three starting offensive linemen from playing. Plus we all know that the Seahawks aren’t nearly as good on the road as they are at home.
They almost lost to Carolina until a game-saving fumble was recovered inside the Seahawks’ 10-yard line. Then again, even if the Panthers had scored, Russell Wilson probably would have led Seattle to a game-winning field goal by Steven Hauschka.
The Seahawks were three-point favorites against Houston early in the week but are now one-point favorites. The line was no doubt shoved down because of the Seahawks’ injury concerns, and perhaps because Houston is perceived to be a fairly good team, plus it’s playing at home.
Whatever the case, I’m not buying any of it. The Seahawks will win by 10 points or more.
Texans quarterback Matt Schaub has been sacked seven times through three games, and he may not have All-Pro left tackle Duane Brown protecting his blind side Sunday. (AP)
Why? For starters, they’re the superior team. Have the Texans dazzled anyone in their first three games? They’re lucky to be 2-1 and could just as easily be 0-3. They rallied from 21 points down in San Diego. In their home opener, they rallied from behind to beat a so-so Tennessee team in overtime. Then they lost to an average Ravens team in Baltimore 30-9, managing only three field goals against a suspect defense.
The Texans always fall short of expectations. They were supposed to be the team in the AFC last year after winning 11 of their first 12 games. What happened? They lost three of their next four to drop into the wild-card game. They unimpressively beat Cincinnati in the first round and then were knocked out by the Patriots.
I’ll give you that defensive lineman J.J. Watt will be a handful on Sunday. I’m sure he’ll be a disruptive force in Seattle’s backfield at times. But he’ll be double-teamed, which should reduce his effectiveness. And I would imagine that coach Pete Carroll and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell will design a gameplan that will keep Wilson upright and engineering enough drives to beat the Texans.
Houston apparently likes to bring an extra rusher 80 percent of the time. Terrific! Wilson is great at reading blitzes and beating them. There should be plenty of opportunities for receivers Sidney Rice, Golden Tate and particularly Doug Baldwin. Maybe not so much for tight end Zach Miller, who will be called on to block more in this game, I would think.
Texans fans should be more worried than Seahawks fans about the other team’s pass rush. Talk all you want about Watt, but what about Cliff Avril, Michael Bennett, O’Brien Schofield and Chris Clemons, who’s bound to be better in his second game back from offseason knee surgery.
Plus Wilson, as you know, is a moving target who can get away from the big uglies. As a pocket passer, Matt Schaub is more susceptible to sacks. He’s also thrown a pick-six in each of the last two games. Richard Sherman is a good bet to make it three in a row. It won’t help Schaub to know that starting left tackle Duane Brown is unlikely to play because of a toe injury.
Here’s another guess: if I’m a Seahawks defensive player, I’m thinking that I have to be at my tip-top best in this game because there might be some offensive struggles given injuries to Russell Okung, Max Unger and Breno Giacomini. That should give them extra motivation.
Also something to keep in mind: the Texans might be No. 2 in the NFL in total defense, right behind the Seahawks, but they’ve allowed opponents to score touchdowns 87.5 percent of the time they’re in the red zone. That’s the worst percentage in the league.
One more thing that would be easy to picture: Tate returning a punt for a touchdown. It happened against the Texans last week in Baltimore.
Adding everything up, the Seahawks will win in surprisingly easy fashion to move to 4-0 for the first time in franchise history.
Prediction: Seahawks 27, Texans 10.
Season record against the spread: 1-2.
The Go 2 Guy also writes for his website, jimmoorethego2guy.com, and every Monday at kitsapsun.com. You can reach Jim at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @cougsgo.