-Seattle’s rushing offense is 3rd in the league in total rushing yards and 6th in the league at 4.5 yards per attempt. They are facing a Saints defense that isn’t too used to stopping the run and when the’ve been asked to it hasn’t gone too well. They are allowing 4.8 yards per carry this year which is 29th in the league. This should be a huge advantage for the Seattle Seahawks, as Lynch and Wilson could do some real damage on the ground Monday night. The Seahawks need to run effectively to win, and there is little reason to think they won’t be able to do so here.
-For the Saints passing offense it’s not about quantity, but quality. Seattle is 31st in the league in passing attempts, but sit 8th in TD’s, 2nd in fewest interceptions and 5th in net yards per attempt. The Saints Defense has played very well this year versus the pass, but they will have to deal with a pretty good unit here. Rarely are the Seahawks in 3rd and long situations thanks to their really good rushing game and that has limited Seattle’s mistakes. The Saints rely on those mistakes as teams are typically playing from behind and forcing passes against them. If Seattle can maintain a lead, they won’t need to rely on their passing game and it will neutralize the Saints biggest defensive strength.
-The Seahawks have the 16th ranked run defense, but could be catching a break today versus a streaky Saints running offense. The Saints are 23rd in total rushing yards and 25th in yards per attempt. They’ve just cracked 100 yards rushing in only four games this season. The Seahawks should have the distinct advantage here and be able to limit the Saints from doing much on the ground. Not only does this make the Saints more predictable, but it also means that they are likely to be facing more 2nd and 3rd and long situations throughout the game.
Seattle defense: 2nd fewest pass yards allowed vs Saints offense 2nd most passing yards
-This seems like it’s strength versus strength but there are a couple of factors here that could really change things for both teams. The Seahawks will be missing starting corner Brandon Browner due to injury and his back-up Walter Thurmond due to suspension. On the flip side the Saints are playing outside in the cold something they aren’t really good at. While the loss of Browner and Thurmond hurts the Seahawks Defense, I don’t think it balances out how much worse the Saints passing is outdoors versus indoors.
The Seahawks have played without Browner some already this year,and though the loss of Thurmond on top hurts, that is just one part of their passing defense. They still have their top corner Richard Sherman to lock someone down, a pair of talented safeties, and a front seven that can generate some pressure. The Seahawks Defense may be not at 100%, but they are still a top unit even without Browner/Thurmond.
The Saints though outside have just been a very different passing team. Drew Brees has just an 84.6 QB rating outdoors this year compared to a 121.4 indoors. Brees just hasn’t been as effective in these scenarios and combining that with a strong defense and this is a bad recipe for the Saints today.
If this game was in New Orleans it might be easy to think otherwise, but this looks to be a Seattle victory in this match-up. Seattle has a significant advantage running the football and their defense, particularly outdoors should limit the Saints offensive output. The Saints are built to defend to protect a lead, and have a strong passing defense, but they just aren’t made to handle Marshawn Lynch 25 times a game. If New Orleans can’t get an early lead, it is likely that Seattle walks away with the victory here.
Prediction: Seattle over New Orleans: 24-17