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Jim Moore Predicts: Why the Broncos are a lock over the Seahawks

Denver's Von Miller could give Russell Wilson and the Seahawks' O-line trouble. (AP)

Welcome back to your best source for predictions on the Seahawks, Huskies and Cougars. Some of you might think I’m the worst source, and if that’s the case, I’d still argue that I’m your best source because if you think I’m so bad at picking games, all you have to do is go in the opposite direction and take the other team.

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But I’d like to point out that “The Smokin’ Lock of the Week” segment on our show has improved each season. I know that Danny and Dave like to mock my selections, but last year I hit around 50 percent of the picks, better than the year before when I was the Mike Zunino of prognosticators, rarely hitting anything. Last I recall, I gave you the Eagles and the over in the Super Bowl, a double-winner.

Whether you agree or not, I’m on a roll. My dice are hot. And the Seahawks-Broncos pick might be the greatest “Smokin’ Lock” I’ve ever had. I have a feeling it will be a popular pick because many think I’m so terrible with football predictions that they never want me to take the Seahawks, as if a sports-talk show host could possibly jinx an NFL team.

But if that’s how you feel, I have good news! I’m going with the Seahawks’ opponent on Sunday. The “Smokin’ Lock of the Week” is Denver -3. I like the Broncos so much that you could call it the “Smokin’ Lock of the Year,” even the “Smokin’ Lock of the Decade.”

By the time you’re done reading this post, even though you really want the Seahawks to win, you’ll be thinking: “Yeah, Moore’s probably right, the Broncos are going to cruise to an easy victory.”

I don’t want this to happen, but when you consider all of the different factors and look at the game objectively, everything points to an Orange Crushing of the Seahawks.

Ben Baldwin’s article in The Athletic this week really pushed me toward Denver. Baldwin noted that the Broncos are 27-4 in their last 31 home games in September, including the last 11 in a row. It has more to do with atmospheric stuff than superior personnel. You’re a mile high in Denver, playing at altitude, and it makes it worse for opponents when they’re not acclimated to it.

When we look back at the outcome of this game on Monday, we’ll say that Pete Carroll should have taken the Seahawks to Colorado on Wednesday or Thursday instead of the day before the game like they did. What magnifies the altitude factor is heat, and according to Baldwin’s article, an increase in temperature generally causes a decrease in air density, leading to oxygen deprivation. Or something along those lines anyway.

And guess what? It’s supposed to be 87 degrees in Denver on Sunday. Remember the last time the Seahawks played in severe heat in September? They withered down the stretch and lost to San Diego 30-21 in 2014. And that was at sea level.

If I were the Seahawks, I’d take a page out of Mike Leach’s playbook and quickly get beet juice into some protein smoothies for my players. Beet juice apparently helps performance at altitude. Studies have been done on this, and the Cougars drank that nasty-sounding stuff before they played Wyoming in Laramie last Saturday. It might have helped and couldn’t have hurt – the Cougs won 41-19.

Then we can throw in more tangible factors if you want – as much as we’d like to be optimistic about what we’ve seen in the preseason, the regular season is a whole different deal. I don’t expect the Seahawks to magically run the ball all that well in their first game, particularly one on the road. I also don’t expect the passing game to be lights out with Von Miller harassing Russell Wilson all day long. The right side of the line is iffy at best with J.R. Sweezy, who didn’t played in the preseason, replacing the injured D.J. Fluker at guard, and Germain Ifedi trying to prove his many doubters wrong at tackle.

Flip it around and you’ve got a questionable pass rush with Seattle along with one rookie starter at linebacker in Shaquem Griffin and possibly another at right cornerback in Tre Flowers. If projected starter Dontae Johnson can’t go because of a hip injury, Flowers or Neiko Thorpe will get the nod, and either way, it will be a weak spot that Case Keenum will exploit.

But more than anything else, the weather and altitude will be the biggest factors. While you’re watching the Seahawks cramping up and taking oxygen in the fourth quarter, I’ll be patting myself on the back for correctly seeing the future.

Broncos 31, Seahawks 13.

North Dakota at Washington (-45)

When they wrote “Heaven help the foes of Washington” in the Husky fight song, they were thinking about teams like North Dakota. I’ll be pulling for the Fighting Hawks, but it will be ugly early and ugly late.

Huskies 70, Fighting Hawks 0.

San Jose State at Washington State (-34)

I was pleasantly surprised by the Cougs in their season opener, and they should breeze past the Spartans, but it will be interesting for a half before WSU pulls away.

Cougs 45, Spartans 17.

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