Monday pop quiz:
Rate these three teams in order of best to worst; Carolina Panthers, New York Giants and Seattle Seahawks?
Do you have the Seahawks above the other two teams, in the middle, or the weakest?
Why do I ask?
Because tonight, the New Orleans Saints visit Seattle to close out Week 7 National Football League action and the Saints are favored by both the point spread, which has New Orleans giving four points, and public opinion, which is just slightly siding with the visitors.
Would it surprise you to know that two teams that have beaten the Saints this year are the Panthers and Giants? Until yesterday’s victory over the Panthers, the only team the Giants had beaten this season was the Saints. They downed them three weeks ago in New Orleans, 27-20. The Panthers defeated the Saints in second week action, catching New Orleans following their season opening upset win over the Green Bay Packers, 38-3, and before Carolina won a third straight game to open the 2021 season over the Houston Texans.
The Panthers haven’t won since, dropping their last four decisions.
This means the Saints have dropped games against two teams that have a combined won/loss record of 5 and 10. Without games against New Orleans or against each other, the Giants and Panthers have a combined record of 2 wins and 9 losses. The Seahawks come into action tonight having lost four of their first six games and without starting quarterback Russell Wilson, who will miss his second game due to injury after opening his career with 149 consecutive starts.
But, before you run down to bet the home underdog tonight, know you are getting damage goods with Seattle.
In the past few seasons, Wilson has been a master of pulling wins out that can nearly in whole be contributed to his extraordinary skills. You know what a nightmare is for a defensive player? A restless night where they are chasing the elusive Seattle quarterback, seemingly ready to end a play in their favor, only to have Wilson pull off one of the plays that will be recorded in NFL lore as “unbelievable.”
When Wilson came into the league in 2012, he joined a Seattle team that had a coach, Pete Carroll, that creates partnership and teamwork like your most beloved scout leader. The team had also benefited from years of solid draft picks while the Seahawks compiled four losing years before Wilson was drafted in the third round of the 2012 NFL draft. In his first year, Wilson guided the Seahawks to the playoffs and won a Super Bowl in his sophomore season. He also guided Seattle back to the Super Bowl in 2014 and the Seahawks have not had a losing record during his ten year career.
In his early years, Wilson benefited from a solid cast of characters around him, now both that overall team strength and their future Hall of Fame quarterback are missing and the streak of winning seasons is clearly in jeopardy.
While the Seahawks enjoyed their success with Wilson leading the way, the team has been in decline around him for a number of years. Because he won games the rest of the squad’s talent didn’t deserve, Seattle never got down in the standings where they would benefit from high draft selections.
So, that brings us to tonight.
We have a Saints team playing in their first season after the retirement of Drew Brees that is capable of losing to anyone, and a Seattle team that might not be good enough to beat them without Wilson behind center.
Sometimes, like this time, it is not so much an exercise in finding a winner as much as a case of locating a loser and getting on the other side. With that in mind, there is no way I would lay points with the Saints on the road tonight.
So, take the Seahawks?
I don’t want them either.