Moore: Injuries will make it hard for Seahawks to keep up with Chiefs
The Chiefs are 11-3, and their three losses were by a combined seven points to teams with a combined record of 31-11. They lost by three points to New England and the Rams each, and by one point to the Chargers last week. They come to Seattle as 2 1/2-point favorites over the 8-6 Seahawks, who are typically terrific as home underdogs.
In this matchup, the Chiefs have the much better offense, but their defense is the worst in the league. Specifically, the Chiefs are 26th against the run, allowing 127 yards a game, while the Seahawks are the NFL’s best at 155 rushing yards a game. I’m guessing Seattle will have to rush for 180 to 200 yards to beat the Chiefs. Not only will that type of yardage move the chains, it will give the Seahawks a big advantage in time of possession, lessening Patrick Mahomes’ opportunities.
One of the strangest things about the Chiefs is this – they’re second in the league with 46 sacks but are last in the league in pass defense. How is that possible? Wouldn’t a pass rush like that help the back end of your defense? Apparently not in Kansas City.
But free safety Eric Berry returned from a foot injury last week and played for a half against the Chargers. In that first half, Los Angeles scored only seven points. Berry had not played all season before that game, but you’d expect the Chiefs to ramp up his playing time even more this week. When he’s on the field, the Chiefs don’t have the worst pass defense in the league.
When you flip it around, the Seahawks will be at a decided disadvantage trying to stop Mahomes, Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce. All three have produced crazy numbers this season. If Mahomes throws for 437 yards in his last two games, he’ll have a 5,000-yard season. Hill and Kelce have combined for 171 catches, 2,524 yards and 21 touchdowns.
The Seahawks’ pass defense has been shaky at times, even at full strength, and this week they might have to play without Bradley McDougald, who’s in doubt because of a knee injury. If he can’t go, second-year player Delano Hill is expected to get his first NFL start at strong safety. If that happens, the Seahawks’ pass defense goes from decent to subpar. And subpar won’t cut it against the top passing offense in the league.
And when you flip it around again, if D.J. Fluker misses his third straight game with a hamstring injury and Ethan Pocic starts in his place, I’m thinking the Chiefs will be in Russell Wilson’s face all night, and it will be difficult to generate a consistent passing attack, especially with Berry back.
When you add it all up, it looks like the Seahawks will have to wait until next week to clinch a playoff berth. Chiefs 38, Seahawks 20.
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