Monday Night Football Preview: New Orleans Saints at Seattle Seahawks

Grant Mitchell

Despite their recent success, both teams have gotten off to starts below their usual standard and will see the game as an opportunity to move up in the playoff picture, currently controlled by the undefeated Arizona Cardinals. 

Geno Smith will be tasked with replacing one of the league’s top-performing quarterbacks in Russell Wilson against an incredibly sound New Orleans defense when the two NFC foes go toe-to-toe on Lumen Field this week, with the victor earning a major boost for the rest of the season.

The New Orleans Saints

The New Orleans Saints have sneakily compiled impressive rankings in many of CHFF’s major statistical categories, most notably leading the league in the Intelligence Index. This is a reflection of the team’s overall ability to control the scoreboard, which they have done an excellent job of on both sides of the field.

The main question heading into the season was how the team would perform in the first year of the post-Drew Brees era and the first of Jameis Winston’s tenure as a headliner in New Orleans. So far, the former first-overall pick ranks 31st in passing yards per game, though he is tied for 10th in touchdowns, the latter of which has helped boost the team to third in Real Quarterback Rating.

The defense has been totally dominant at the line, leading the league in Defensive Hog Index, while they are also second in Defensive Real Quarterback Rating and 10th in Defensive Rusher Rating. Facing a team that is without its franchise player under center, expect the Saints to tee off and bring the pressure against Geno Smith even more than they usually do.

The Seattle Seahawks

The Seattle Seahawks have had a very difficult start to their campaign, dropping four out of their last five contests. This is not to say that they have been playing easy opponents, because they have not, but they are still on the outside looking in at the playoffs through six weeks and will not face a break in the schedule until they meet the Jacksonville Jaguars in week eight.

The shining star for this team had been at QB, as the Russell Wilson-led offense had climbed to fourth in Real Quarterback Rating; although Smith was not outright poor in his first start of the season last weekend, he did only produce 209 passing yards and one touchdown. While the Saints can be inconsistent at times, it is safe to assume that Seattle will need a greater offensive output to hang with the visitors.

Defensively, the Seahawks have left much to be desired; they have recently climbed to eighth in Defensive Rusher Rating, which should help them slow down Alvin Kamara, though they are bottom-10 in Defensive Hog Index and Defensive Real Quarterback Rating. Jamal Adams’ laughable dropped interception last week potentially cost the team the game and was an indictment of the inconsistencies that have plagued this squad throughout the young season.

Final Thought: Go With Experience

Here is how the game shapes up when broken down to its simplest form: one team is totally QB-centric and is playing a backup at the position, while the other one, despite a slightly above average record, is among the statistical leaders in nearly every category. Now it seems pretty simple, does it not?

If the Seahawks pull off the upset, it will come as nothing short of a miracle. The Saints' numbers show that they are actually an elite team in the league, even without Drew Brees, and they have a great chance to turn some heads when they take the field Monday night.