Jim Moore Predicts: Why you can’t assume a Seahawks win over Brees-less Saints
The Seahawks are 2-0 while I’m off to an 0-2 start, wrongly predicting they would beat the 9 1/2-point spread against the Bengals in their first game and picking the Steelers last week. Seattle won 28-26 in Pittsburgh, which means I’m in lock-step with the Dolphins, still having a chance to go 0-16 this year.
Here’s what I don’t understand about Sunday’s game against the Saints – New Orleans will play without Drew Brees, who injured his thumb in last week’s game against the Rams and will be out six to eight weeks. I think we can all agree that the Saints with Brees are dramatically better than the Saints with Teddy Bridgewater at quarterback.
Yet the Seahawks are favored by only 4 1/2 points against a team that’s lucky to be 1-1 – the Saints needed a 58-yard field goal at the buzzer to beat the Texans in Week 1.
But here’s the thing: Whenever I see a line that appears out of whack, it makes me feel like Las Vegas knows more about the perceived differences between the two teams than anyone else. In other words, unless I’m really, really mistaken, in the last two minutes of Sunday’s game at CenturyLink Field, I’m guessing the Saints will be within striking distance of covering the spread or even pulling off the upset.
Bridgewater’s career passer rating is only 85.5, but the Saints thought he was good enough to offer him a $7.2 million contract to be Brees’ backup. And he might be good enough to cause problems for a suspect Seattle secondary.
The Saints could also throw the Seahawks a curve by giving some snaps to Taysom Hill, who could make an impact in a wildcat formation, though truth be known I hate that wildcat stuff. More often than not, I feel like the wildcat doesn’t work as well as just leaving your starting QB in the game. He’s your starter for a reason – he’s better than the guy you’ve got in there running the wildcat. And when you run the wildcat, you know what’s coming – a running play. But I guess if you’re down to your backup, there’s not as much of a dropoff to a guy like Hill, so why not go with the changeup if you’re the Saints.
The Saints might not have Brees but they’ll still have game-breaking play-makers Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara providing defensive issues for the Seahawks.
Flip it around and you’ve got a Saints defense that led the NFL through two weeks with nine sacks. And we all know that pass protection is the biggest weakness for the Seahawks’ offense.
One would expect the Seahawks to go back to what worked against the Steelers last week – a quick passing game to keep Russell Wilson upright. But I also think we’ll see plenty of play-action opportunities against a Saints defense that is susceptible to the run, allowing a whopping 5.6 yards per carry. Maybe this will be the week when the Seahawks look like the No. 1 rushing offense from a year ago.
It certainly looks like the Seahawks have the edge, particularly playing at home. But I’m going to tip my cap to the guys in Vegas and take the Saints in a low-scoring game.
Prediction: Saints 20, Seahawks 16.