Free NFL Pick: Seattle at New Orleans 11-21-2010

November 18, 2010

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Seattle Seahawks at New Orleans Saints

Sunday November 21st, 2010 4:05 PM EST

Line: New Orleans -12

Overview:

The Seattle Seahawks were not the odds on favorite to win the NFC West last week. Now it looks like they might run away with it. At 5-4, they are a game ahead of the Rams, but have a fairly easy road ahead of them and have complete control of the division, though any team could really take hold of the division with excellent play throughout.

They will look to get a bit more cushion by knocking off the 6-3 New Orleans Saints. The Saints have won three of their last four and are coming off of a bye week. New Orleans is chasing the Atlanta Falcons while trying to fend off the pesky Buccaneers. The NFC South is a three man race for first. One false move and the defending Super Bowl Champions could find themselves unable to come away with a wild card spot.

Keys to the Game:

  • Reggie Bush is finally back from injury. The Saints are a passing team, but they still rely on the run game to complete their offense. They have sorely missed having Pierre Thomas and Bush in the backfield, though Chris Ivory has done a decent job filling in. Bush will probably see his snaps limited, but he will provide not only another threat in the backfield, but also another target for Drew Brees.
  • The Seahawks have a rookie left tackle and have been playing the o-line shuffle all season. The poor play on the offensive line has lead to their starting quarterback’s injury and an underachieving offensive line. Matt Hasselbeck will be back in the lineup this week, but I wouldn’t expect him to make it through the year given the state of things. Hasselbeck is already injury prone. Now that he doesn’t have Walter Jones protecting his blindside, he is an injury waiting to happen.
  • Nobody is better than stopping the pass than New Orleans. They are stingy against the pass, which makes up for their middle of the road run defense. The Seahawks have struggled running the ball and throwing the ball, but have shown flashes of brilliance through the air at times. Wide receiver Mike Williams resurrected his career this year. Williams 11 catches for 145 yards last week showed just how explosive of a receiver he can be, but he should be held in check this week.

Key Matchup

Drew Brees Vs Earl Thomas

  • Drew Brees is among the NFL’s best quarterbacks. Brees has struggled in two games this season, but remains one of the most consistent field generals in the game. He has an array of weapons at his disposal. The Saints won the Super Bowl last year by taking advantage of mismatches. Brees is going to be going up against an inexperienced secondary on Sunday, which could be disastrous for Seattle.
  • Pete Carrol knew he needed help in the secondary. In a surprise move, he went with Earl Thomas over Taylor Mays, who he had coached for four years at USC. The move seems to be paying off. Thomas has four interceptions already this season. Though sometimes he looks lost in coverage, he is stout against the run and makes plays all over the field. Drew Brees throws picks regularly, so don’t be surprised to see Thomas come away with one.

Wrap Up:

While I do not think Seattle can compete with the Saints, twelve is a huge spread here. Seattle is fighting to remain atop the NFC West. They aren’t going to roll over and quit with Matt Hasselbeck at quarterback. The offensive line is shaky, but I think they will be able to salvage two scores, which should put them in a position to cover.

Free NFL Pick: Seattle +12


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