Moore: Seahawks’ D too vulnerable to stop Ravens’ high-powered offense
I looked back on my predictions for the first six Seahawks games and saw that I’ve only picked Pete Carroll’s team to win twice, against Cincinnati and Arizona. I was right on those two games but wrong on the pointspread.
The only other pick I got right was New Orleans, correctly thinking the Saints would beat the Seahawks, and they did, 33-27.
So overall, I’m 3-3 straight up and just 1-5 against the spread, which isn’t good at all. But hey, there are 10 games left. If I go 10-0, I’ll be 13-3 straight up and 11-5 against the spread. What is the chance of that happening? Less likely than the Dolphins winning a single game.
But based on the comments I’ve seen about these posts, I feel like I’m doing my own little part to help the Seahawks win the NFC West. Most readers and listeners seem to think I’m wrong with almost all of my predictions so if I keep picking against the Seahawks, they’re guaranteed to win.
I can honestly say that that line of thinking does not have anything to do with my handicapping of Seahawks’ games. I’ve picked their opponent to win four times because I lean more toward the Seahawks being a flimsy Super Bowl contender than one that should be taken seriously in the Lombardi Trophy conversation.
I still think they have just as good a shot as any other team in the NFC to make it to the Super Bowl, however. No one in the NFC looks all that great, really. If you put your 12-ness aside, I think even Seahawks fans would have to admit that the 49ers have the best NFC team right now, and anyone who says otherwise must not have seen San Francisco’s defense or the team’s 5-0 record.
Granted, probably like you, I suspect that the Niners will start to lose pretty soon, maybe even as early as this week – for some reason, I think the Redskins might pull off the upset over a San Francisco team in a letdown spot after a big win over the Rams.
After the 49ers, you’ve got three 5-1 teams – Green Bay, Seattle and New Orleans – that have different flaws, and two 4-2 teams – Carolina and Minnesota – that might make a run to the top of the conference the way they’re playing of late.
I will again disrespect the Seahawks this week when they face the visiting Ravens mainly because I don’t think Russell Wilson, even playing at an MVP rate, can continue to compensate for a vulnerable defense. As a reminder, the Seahawks have just five sacks in the last five games. So as you know, there are lingering questions about the defensive line and that newcomers Jadeveon Clowney and Ziggy Ansah might not be as impactful as we thought when they arrived. The return of defensive tackle Jarran Reed from a six-game suspension should help, but I’m thinking he’ll need a game or two to shake off the rust and really make a difference.
Everyone knows the Seahawks’ linebacking corps is one of the best in the league, although Bobby Wagner is not having one of his best seasons, or at least not playing up to the $54 million contract he signed in July. I’m most troubled by the secondary – the Seahawks’ pass defense is 23rd in the league, and look at who they’ve faced: Andy Dalton, Ben Roethlisberger for a half, Mason Rudolph for a half, Teddy Bridgewater, Kyler Murray, Jared Goff and Baker Mayfield.
Only Roethlisberger is elite, and most telling is that Dalton threw for 400 yards against the Seahawks and Goff threw for 395. The next week against the 49ers, Goff threw for 78 yards. Brock Huard believes the secondary is not fast enough. Or maybe it’s the DBs’ philosophy of keeping everything in front of them and not wanting to get beaten over the top. Maybe it’s a combination, but whatever it is, I’m not seeing a secondary that’s equipped to help keep the Seahawks playing at their current pace.
On Sunday they’re facing Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson, who has rapidly gone from questionable draft pick to elite NFL quarterback. Everyone knows about his running ability, and with 460 yards this year, Jackson is on a pace to become the all-time single-season QB rushing leader, topping Michael Vick (1,039 yards in 2006).
And problem is, he can’t be expected to be erratic throwing the ball anymore either. Jackson is completing 65 percent of his passes, becoming a dual threat. He’ll be a three-hour headache for the Seahawks.
Can the Seahawks match the high-scoring Ravens? That’s definitely possible, especially since the Ravens blitz 49 percent of the time on passing plays, and Wilson has a 141.8 rating when opponents bring extra pass-rushers. But Wilson won’t have one of his best receivers. Will Dissly tore his Achilles in Cleveland last week and is out for the rest of the year.
I don’t think we’re going to see many punts in this game – I’d put the over-under at 5 1/2 and probably take the under. I feel like both defenses are comparably below average, but the Ravens have the better offense, rating No. 1 in the league in total yards (451 per game), rushing (205) and points (30.7). That will be the difference in a high-scoring affair at Century Link Field.
Line: Seahawks by 3.
Prediction: Ravens 41, Seahawks 34.
More Seahawks coverage
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• Dissly may have shorter recovery due to ‘minimally invasive’ surgery
• Seahawks’ O-line may be just fine with Jones and Fant filling in
• Rost: 3 concerns about Seahawks despite 5-1 start
• Groz: Why fans will appreciate Earl Thomas in his return
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• Wyman looks at a pair of big plays the Seahawks’ defense gave up
• Clayton: If Hawks are going to win division, pass rush must get going
• Moore: Ravens safety Earl Thomas set for Seattle return