The Seattle Seahawks (3-7) are dangerously close to their first losing season in the Russell Wilson era. The Washington Football Team (4-6) has won consecutive games and scored at least 27 points in both of them, something this team had not done since September 2017.
Washington (3-7 ATS) is a 1.5-point favorite over the Seahawks (5-5 ATS) on the NFL odds board at many of BMR’s top-rated sportsbooks. Only the Jets (2-8) have a worse record against the spread than Washington this season, but it is impossible to argue which team has been playing better coming into this one. Seattle has some real issues.
Seattle Seahawks vs. Washington Football Team
Monday, November 29, 2021 – 08:15 PM EST at FedExField
What’s Wrong in Seattle?
You could give the Seahawks a pass for going 1-3 in the stretch of games where Russell Wilson was injured, forcing Geno Smith to start. You could even give Wilson a bit of a pass for being rusty in his return game against Green Bay, though a 17-0 shutout was still unexpected. The defense played well enough to win that one. But still playing so poorly in a 23-13 home loss to the Cardinals, who were without so many key players? The game would have been a bigger rout if the Cardinals could kick.
Somehow an offense with Wilson, DK Metcalf, and Tyler Lockett is bad. The Seahawks rank 30th in yards per drive and 25th in points per drive. Wilson’s QBR is 45.6, which ranks 24th in the league and would easily be a career-low. He has never finished a season lower than 15th (57.1 in 2016).
New offensive coordinator Shane Waldron could go down as the scapegoat, but not everything about the offense is bad this year. Seattle is tied with Minnesota with a league-low six giveaways. The Seahawks rank 14th in yards per carry. Wilson is averaging the sixth most YAC per completion and ranks 13th in on-target pass rate according to Pro Football Reference.
The big problem is an offense that relies way too much on deep pass plays to Metcalf and Lockett. Seattle does not sustain more drives because it is the third-worst offense at converting on third down (32.4%). This has been a problem throughout Wilson’s career, but things have never been worse than this season.
This is also a matchup of a Washington team that’s gone for it the most on fourth down this season (23 times) against a Seattle team that has gone for it the least, going 1-for-6 on fourth down. Seattle has won a lot of games the last decade, but things have grown stale under Pete Carroll. It does not look like this union should stand after seven more games.
Can You Trust Taylor Heinicke?
If the Seattle offense is going to wake up, it needs to be in this matchup with a Washington defense that is allowing opponents to convert third down 53.0% of the time, which would be an NFL record since 1991.
That number is abysmal, but over the last four games, the defense has gotten it down to 43.2%, which is only tied for the 11th worst this season. In the two wins over Tampa Bay and Carolina, Washington held teams to 6-of-19 (31.6%) on third down.
Meanwhile, Taylor Heinicke has been money on those downs in recent weeks, which has led to a lot of long touchdown drives. In the last two games, Heinicke has completed 77.8% of his passes with four touchdowns and no picks for a 127.0 passer rating. After watching the way Colt McCoy dinked and dunked his way on Seattle’s defense, Washington needs to let Heinicke control this game as well.
The Seattle defense ranks 30th in yards per drive allowed but still rank 10th in points per drive allowed. That is the result of great field position and not being stuck in bad spots because of turnovers from the offense. Washington has only won the turnover battle in three games this season, but it was able to do it against the Chiefs, Chargers, and Buccaneers, all better teams than Seattle right now.
It just comes down to trusting Heinicke over Wilson, which is still a tough sell for many people, but it’s never been easier to believe than in 2021.
Washington is 1-12 in its last 13 games on Monday night. Pete Carroll is 11-3 on Monday night with the Seahawks since 2010. But again, that’s the past for Seattle. The current form of the team is broken, and while it would be nice if the Washington defense had Chase Young (torn ACL), the truth is it was one of the worst units with him this year.
The Seahawks are also banged up defensively and Heinicke has been hot. I am going to trust Washington to get the cover for your NFL picks to close Week 12.
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