The Seattle Seahawks enter Week 9 on the heels of what was arguably their ugliest win of the season against the Cleveland Browns. They got off to a flying start scoring 17 points in the first quarter. From there, the offense hit a screeching halt as their next points didn’t come until the final 38 seconds of the fourth quarter, when Geno Smith found Jaxon Smith-Njigba for the game winning touchdown. In the seven drives between their third and fourth scoring drives, Seattle had four 3-and-outs, two interceptions and an 8-play drive that resulted in a punt.
Now Seattle’s reward for that offensive showing is to face potentially the league’s best defense in the Baltimore Ravens, in Baltimore for a 10 AM PST kickoff. Because of those offensive struggles, paired with it being an early kickoff road game, the Ravens are a heavy 6-point favorite in DraftKings Sportsbook. There are points expected to be scored in the matchup of the birds, as the over/under of 44 points is the fifth highest mark of the week.
Baltimore pass rush vs the Seattle offensive line
This blitz (and sack) by Patrick Queen was next-level pic.twitter.com/9H3xhKLbGH— Kevin Oestreicher (@koestreicher34) September 15, 2021
Just two totally normal pressure packages from Mike Macdonald.— Jonas Shaffer (@jonas_shaffer) October 23, 2023
1⃣ Travis Jones and Broderick Washington drop into hook/curl zones as Arthur Maulet comes from the slot
2⃣ Michael Pierce drops into a middle hook as Marlon Humphrey and Brandon Stephens come from opposite corners pic.twitter.com/r5rTBtT6uH
Two things the Baltimore Ravens defense does better than anybody else in the league is get their linebackers involved in the pass rush and exotic pressures. The Ravens starting interior linebackers, Patrick Queen and Roquan Smith, have combined for 5 sacks and 8 QB hits. Defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald gets them involved through stunts, delayed pressures and Cover 0 blitzes. On the first play we can see a delayed blitz by Patrick Queen where he gets his shoulders parallel to the line of scrimmage at the snap. He does this to give the appearance that he is going to be dropping back in coverage. But then at the snap he comes downhill unaccounted for by the offensive line for the easy sack.
In the second tweet, on the first play, we can see one of the exotic pressures Macdonald throws at offenses. Right before the snap the Ravens show six potential blitzers in their three linebackers and three down linemen. But Patrick Queen and Michael Pierce drop into coverage, which confuses both the quarterback and offensive line. Then, the extra blitzer they do bring on the play, Arthur Maulet, who is coming off of the slot gets home on Jared Goff.
Ravens secondary vs the Seattle pass catchers
Marlon Humphrey on playing shallow crossing routes ".. you can put your hand on his back as he's going forward.." pic.twitter.com/0tbEbM5Qac— DB Tips (@dbtips101) October 21, 2023
Kyle Hamilton. pic.twitter.com/5sfRPf5zQC— Houston Sports God Mode (@HoustonSprtsGod) October 25, 2023
The Ravens secondary has quietly been one of the best units in the league. They’ve struggled with health with key starters Marcus Williams and Marlon Humphrey each missing multiple games. They’ve only allowed one passer to amass more than 250 yards against them this season. That QB was Jared Goff, who picked up the majority of his 284 yards well after the game was decided.
The unit is led by the aforementioned Humphrey who has consistently been one of the league’s cornerbacks. He has struggled through his first four games thus far allowing a passer rating of 105.3, but that’s only come on 12 targets. When Humphrey is right he is a true cover corner who brings a ton of physicality with him. On the first play we can see that blanket ability as he is able to stick with Odell Beckham Jr. on a whip route which, is one of the many routes Odell has mastered over the years.
In the second tweet we see Kyle Hamilton, a do-it-all safety cover rookie tight end Sam Laporta with absolute ease. On third-and-long, Hamilton, who is playing in off coverage, stays patient throughout the course of the route and uses perfect leverage. He breaks off his shuffle right at the time Laporta snaps off his route which allows for Hamilton to stay attached to Laporta’s hip and pick up the PBU.
Baltimore rushing attack vs the defensive line
In week 2, the Ravens used more under center run plays than they ever have in a game with Lamar Jackson as their starting QB.— Nate Tice (@Nate_Tice) September 18, 2023
15 of the Ravens designed run plays were from under center against the Bengals. With 8 of those runs resulting in efficient gains. pic.twitter.com/57JAQltUrS
If the Ravens have been known for one thing over the past few seasons it’s a vaunted rushing attack, which is headlined by former MVP quarterback Lamar Jackson. This year they are second in the league in rushing yards, rushing first downs, tied for second in rushing touchdowns, and are first in rushing attempts. Under new offensive coordinator Todd Monken, Lamar has been used less in the designed running game this season, but that has not stopped him from being deadly as a runner. He is tied for sixth in rushing yards per attempt and his rushing success rate of 54.1 percent is 10th, one spot behind starting RB Gus Edwards. Where Lamar makes his money as a runner is when pass plays break down and he is able to take advantage of open space, as highlighted in the first tweet.
After years of being a heavy pistol offense, the Ravens are finally starting to utilize more traditional under-center running plays. This has allowed for them to become a more complete and dynamic offense as they are able to keep opposing defenses guessing. Gus Edwards has been especially dangerous on these running plays due to his ability to run downhill and attack gaps with his power.
Seattle has been one of the best run defenses in the league this year, but Baltimore is going to far and away their most difficult test of the season.
Zay Flowers vs the Seattle secondary
This ROUTE by Zay Flowers— NFL Rookie Watch (@NFLRookieWatxh) August 15, 2023
Flowers has reportedly been “cooking” Commanders DB’s in their first joint practice together.
Marlon Humphrey (Ravens CB) said recently that one of the toughest things about football is “trying to guard” Flowers.
Flowers said in a recent interview… pic.twitter.com/vjsqT7gHq6
Ravens rookie WR Zay Flowers with a big catch and run, flashing that speed for 46 yards.— Seven Rounds in Heaven (@7RoundsInHeaven) October 22, 2023
Flowers gets open over the middle on a dig, Lamar Jackson with a nice ball, and Flowers shows off his ability in the open field making guys miss on his way down inside the 20. pic.twitter.com/6nXH5Odf34
Zay Flowers has quietly been one of the more dynamic pass catching weapons in the league this year. He is only averaging 10.5 yards per reception which is tied for 76th, but that has not stopped his impact from being felt. He is used heavily in the short passing game as he runs multiple bubble and smoke routes a game. However, he is an advanced route runner who offers a true threat at all three levels of the field, which we can see on the first play where he snaps off a fantastic curl route. On the second tweet we can see Flowers run a very good dig route where he is able to find a soft spot in the zone coverage. Lamar Jackson is able to find him and Flowers turns on the afterburners for a 46 yard reception.
The Seahawks have their own first-round rookie receiver in Jaxon Smith-Njigba. Seattle’s defense will be alert to stop Baltimore’s first-round talent.