NFL Week 8 Preview: Seahawks vs. Saints
Seattle takes their weary defense on the road as Jimmy Graham gets to reunite with Mercedes-Benz Superdome for the first time since the 2014 season. This game, like any other game, has the potential to be tougher than it appears. It’s an early (1:00pm EST) game. For a west coast team like the Seahawks, that certainly doesn’t help. Now, the Saints feature an utterly terrible defense, but Drew Brees is still very much Drew Brees, and when you play in his house, the conclusion is anything but foregone. I can’t be sure what exactly to expect from the defense, a week removed from grinding out 90 plays in an overtime tie against the Cardinals. This was a game where players needed help getting off the field, and fluids via IV just to shower and dress. If their performance is a bit under Seahawk standards, I’ll certainly give them a pass for that. This shouldn’t be their game anyway. This is time for the offense to shine. Therefore, I’ll be placing heavy emphasis on that below:
PROTECT THE QUARTERBACK: Regardless of how close Wilson is to 100%, this offensive line was terrible in Arizona. They got plenty of rest during that game. I expect them to play much better against a defense with only one legitimate pass rusher in Cameron Jordan, though DT Nick Fairley will be someone to keep an eye on as well. What makes things tough here is the very high likelihood of undrafted rookie George Fant filling in at left tackle for the injured Bradley Sowell. He played limited snaps in Arizona, and was not an absolute turnstile, but it’s still something to be concerned about. With that said, enough with the penalties. This line needs to get it the fuck together. This is the game for them to do that.
EXPLOSIVE PLAYS: Pete Carroll considers explosive plays to be pass plays of 16+ yards and run plays of 12+ yards. The run game has been terrible, but Christine Michael does have explosive play potential as a back. However, the Saints aren’t 2-4 for fun. They have one of the worst pass defenses in the league, further exacerbated by injuries in the secondary. We have Jimmy Graham and Doug Baldwin. Those are guys who need to be targeted early and often, especially Baldwin, who’s been slumping a bit. Tyler Lockett is getting healthier each week, and he deserves a slice of that cake too. Either way, there should be tons of opportunities for this offense to exploit the Saints defense thoroughly.
On defense, guys… just limit the explosive plays. Without Graham (hell, even with Graham), Brees is very willing to spread the ball around, which means playing disciplined pass defense every snap until the whistle. I don’t think that’s too unreasonable. In the run game, just stay as effective as always. Kam Chancellor may be back for this game, which would be huge against the pass as well as the run.
THE RED ZONE: The Saints are a bad defensive team. I’ve said this before. We have Jimmy Graham, yet our red zone offense is uninspiring. Do something with that please.
P.S. This could be Seattle’s first win against the Saints on the road in over a decade. We have the pieces on offense to make this happen. Let’s get it done.
Prediction: This game won’t be as gruesome as the one in Arizona.