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Seahawks vs Saints Preview: 4 key matchups for Sunday’s battle

The Seahawks are coming off of a thrilling 48-45 win against the Detroit Lions last Sunday. On the day, Detroit’s offense averaged 5.8 yards a carry whilst the Seahawks defense only registered one sack and they allowed T.J. Hockenson to pick up 179 yards and two scores. Despite those shortcomings, Seattle was able to pull off the win thanks to a tremendous offensive play in which they racked up 555 yards of offense and did not punt.

Seattle was an underdog last week in victory, and this is something Pete Carroll’s team is going to have to replicate this week, as they are heavy underdogs against the New Orleans Saints. The home team currently sits as a 5.5-point favorite on DraftKings Sportsbook. As always it is a game that is going to feature some important matchups in the same areas as last week’s game and if Seattle wants to get back over .500, they are going to have to win those battles.

Cam Jordan vs. Seahawks Offensive Line

Cam Jordan is one of the more complete edges in the NFL. He is stout against the run as well as having a toolbox of pass rushing moves that allow him to get to the quarterback.

Four of Jordan’s last five seasons have resulted in 12 or more sacks as well as 13 or more tackles for loss. This video from New Orleans’ game against the Minnesota Vikings last Sunday highlights everything that the former All-Pro brings to the table. On the second play Jordan utilizes a fantastic chop swim move which quickly allows him to beat the tackle and get home for half a sack. The third play does not result in any type of pressure, but it shows the power that Jordan brings as he knocks the right tackle over with a strike to the chest. The first running play was a mismatch as 7-time Pro Bowler was being blocked by a tight end, which is never going to end in the offense’s favor. On the second play Jordan does a great job of extending his arm and using his length to control the blocker which allowed him to disengage once the running back entered his gap.

The edge - Cam Jordan - There are not too many tackles in the league who would hold an edge over Cam Jordan, so this does not speak directly to the Seattle offensive line, mainly its tackles in Charles Cross and Abe Lucas. Cross and Lucas have played well but have shown some rookie growing pains thus far, and that is probable to continue to some extent with Jordan. Seattle will likely try to chip Jordan as much as possible with tight ends and running backs to prevent him from being on an island with either rookie tackle.

Alvin Kamara vs Seattle’s Front Seven

Alvin Kamara has been one of the best running backs in the league since he was taken in the third round of the 2017 NFL Draft. The former Tennessee Volunteer already has 67 touchdowns to his name in just 75 games as a pro. Kamara has been beaten up this year battling through rib injuries, but when he is playing, he is one of the most dangerous offensive weapons in the league. It is expected that Kamara will play this weekend after missing the Vikings game.

The first video shows Kamara’s shiftiness in the open field. He gets the defender to open their outside hip slightly, which allows him to cut it inside and easily make the defender miss. At that point it then becomes a foot race between Kamara and the rest of the Jets defense which, despite stumbling slightly, he still wins. There is not too much to say about the second video outside of it is one of the best single game running back performances that we have seen in a recent memory. He ran for 155 yards on 22 attempts whilst rushing for six touchdowns as well as picking up 3 catches for 17 yards.

The edge - Alvin Kamara - Seattle has been getting killed on the ground this season and that is something I expect to continue in this clash. Seattle is tied for the third worst mark in rushing yards allowed per attempt in addition to allowing the fourth most rushing yards per game. Even if Kamara is not at 100% for this game due to his rib injury it is difficult to envision him not having a big game against this Seahawks front.

Chris Olave vs the corners

Chris Olave has arguably been the best rookie receiver this season and the early front runner for Offensive Rookie of the Year. The former Ohio State Buckeye has made a seamless transition to the pro level as he ranks ninth across the league in receiving yards with 335. Olave is the type of wideout that can be used all over the formation lining up as the team's “X” receiver or in the slot. The video provided which features plays mainly from Sunday’s game against the Vikings highlights everything that he brings to the table as a receiver. He can smoothly run any route in the tree, gets in and out of breaks with ease and can create natural separation at the stem of the route.

The edge - Chris Olave - This is a tough call for me. Fellow rookie Tariq Woolen has slowly been breaking out this season which was highlighted by his 40-yard pick six against the Lions last Sunday. Although, on the flip side despite only having four games under his belt Olave is quickly becoming a true problem for defenses to deal with. Although, I am going to lean Olave because of the overall struggles of the Seahawks cornerback room. Already this season six different pass catchers have had 60 or more receiving yards against this group, and I expect Olave to become the 7th to hit that number and he will likely pass that number with some cushion.

Marshon Lattimore vs DK Metcalf

Even with his accolades as a top-tier cover guy, Lattimore is one of the NFL’s more inconsistent corners. He has games where he looks like he can shut down any receiver in the league, but on the flip side he has plenty of head scratching moments too. Sunday’s game against the Vikings exemplified that; in the first half he looked great but in the second half it was a different story. He allowed Justin Jefferson to create consistent separation with relative ease.

On the first play it looks like Lattimore is selling out for a go ball, which allows Jefferson to create a ton of separation at the stem of the route. On the second play Lattimore allows Jefferson to get a free release off of the line despite playing tight to the line. This allows the wideout to get up to his top speed in a few steps which allows him to run right by the Lattimore.

The edge - Metcalf - Which Lattimore shows up will dictate a large portion of this game. If he is able to lock down Metcalf, we might see Seattle lean on the running game a bit more. However, Metcalf is the type of big physical receiver that Lattimore has traditionally struggled with, so I expect Metcalf to have a big game this week.

Week 4 recap

Aidan Hutchinson vs the offensive line

Predicted edge - Hutchinson - Actual edge - The offensive line

Despite registering five combined tackles and 2 QB hits on the day, Hutchinson did not make the impact in this one that I was expecting him to, so the edge goes to the offensive line. The Seahawks offensive line is holding up a lot better than I think a lot of us expected coming into the season. Geno Smith has only been sacked 6 times through four games and the running game is averaging 5.2 yards per attempt which is tied for the fourth highest mark in the league.

Lions running game vs the front 7

Predicted edge - Lions running game - Actual edge - Lions running game

The Lions rushed the ball 25 times for 145 yards which was good for 5.8 yards a tote. Despite Jamaal Williams accounting for 51 of his 108 rushing yards on the day on a single carry he was consistently able to gain 4 to 5 yards a rush outside of that long run. Seattle’s rushing defense is looking more and more concerning as the season progresses. If this team wants to have any shot at making the postseason it is something they are going to have to figure out sooner rather than later.

T.J. Hockenson vs the secondary

Predicted edge - The secondary - Actual edge - Hockenson

Hockenson had a massive day on Sunday going for 179 receiving yards and 2 touchdowns on 8 catches. His longest reception went for 81 yards and featured multiple missed tackles by the Seahawks. I thought with a weakened passing attack with the absences of Amon-Ra St. Brown and D.J. Chark, Seattle would be able to focus on Hockenson a bit more, but unfortunately, they were unable to.

(All advanced stats cited provided by Pro Football Reference)