In what most people were thinking is a preview of two playoff teams, the Saints and Seahawks battle Sunday in Seattle. This game would have been closer to a pick ’em before the Drew Brees injury. With Brees out and Teddy Bridgewater the temporary starter, this game is now heavily favored to the Seahawks.
The gameplan for Seattle will be similar to how the Rams handled the Saints after the injury: Load the box and make Bridgewater beat you. Bridgewater wasn’t up to the task, going 17 of 30 for 165 yards in relief of Brees. Alvin Kamara ended the day with only 45 yards rushing and will face similar fronts this week.
Seattle will look to remain undefeated after winning close games in each of the first two weeks. They have won by one and two points, but a win is a win. Ben Roethlisberger had to leave the game last week, and Russell Wilson controlled the game to lead the Seahawks to a 28-26 win. Wilson completed 29 of 35 passes while becoming the fifth-fastest player in NFL history to reach 200 career touchdown tosses. He threw for 300 yards and three touchdowns.
The line is at Seattle -5, and the over/under is 45. This game was listed as a pick ’em last week before the Brees injury.
New Orleans Turns To Bridgewater
Bridgewater is the highest-paid backup in the NFL. He couldn’t answer the bell in his first appearance, but things might be different for Bridgewater when he’s had a full week of practice with the Saints’ first-team offense. He averaged 205 passing yards per game as a starter with the Minnesota Vikings and has an 85.5 career passer rating.
Kamara will become the centerpiece of the offense and will face much more pressure than he had with Brees opening it up with his arm. Taysom Hill, who Sean Payton already likes to use, will see a lot more usage and probably even some regular play at quarterback.
New Orleans has never been strong on defense, but it will need that unit to step up if it wants to keep its head above water with Brees out. They have allowed 423 yards per game and 27.5 points per game, and that won’t be good enough with Bridgewater at the helm. Trey Hendrickson has three sacks to lead the team. The Saints have racked up nine sacks on the season but will need to turn the quarterback pressures into turnovers to have a chance in this game.
Seahawks 12th Man Could Be The Difference
The noise inside CenturyLink Field is tough for anyone but especially for a backup quarterback. This will be the second straight week the Seahawks have faced a backup quarterback after Mason Rudolph replaced Roethlisberger. Rudolph was able to move the ball against Seattle and threw two touchdowns.
Wilson might be off to the best start of his career. He is completing 78.2 percent of his passes and has thrown five touchdowns and no interceptions. Pete Carroll loves big receivers, and he seems to have found one in rookie DK Metcalf. Metcalf has caught seven passes for 150 yards and a touchdown. Tyler Lockett has remained steady, catching 11 balls for 123 yards and a touchdown.
Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny have shared the running back duties. Carson has rushed for 106 yards on 30 carries with a touchdown, and Perry has gone for 80 yards on 16 carries with a touchdown of his own. The pair could be in line for a big day against a Saints defense that’s allowing 5.6 yards per carry and ranks 27th in run defense.
Bridgewater shouldn’t be intimidated by this defense as the Legion of Boom is gone. Andy Dalton, Ben Roethlisberger and Mason Rudolph have combined to throw for 575 yards in two games against the Seahawks. The front seven will create pressure, as they have six sacks on the season.
CenturyLink will probably be the difference in this game. Bridgewater isn’t going to put up big numbers anyway, but especially with having to deal with the noise from Seattle’s fans.
This game moved five points because of Brees, and I think it should have moved even more. New Orleans lost its most important player, and Sean Payton’s trickery with Hill isn’t nearly as effective without Brees. I’m laying the points with Seattle here.
Seattle 27, New Orleans 20
Pick: Seattle -5
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