NFL Week 7 Best Bets: Saints vs. Seahawks Monday Night Football Picks

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Jameis Winston #2 of the New Orleans Saints. Patrick Smith/Getty Images/AFP

The New Orleans Saints (3-2) and Seattle Seahawks (2-4) will meet on Monday night with both teams facing an identity crisis without their long-time franchise quarterbacks. Jameis Winston and Geno Smith are certainly not drawn Brees and Russell Wilson, but that just means these teams must find a different way to win this year.

Which team is the right NFL pick against NFL odds? Let’s dig in.

New Orleans Saints vs. Seattle Seahawks

Monday, October 25, 2021 – 08:15 PM EDT at Lumen Field

The Saints are a 5-point favorite at many of the top sportsbooks. Head coach Sean Payton is 8-6 SU in his career following a bye week in the regular season, but he is only 1-3 in road games. The Seahawks covered last week as a 5-point underdog in Pittsburgh, losing 23-20 in overtime.

Saints: Who Dat?

No, seriously. What is this team in 2021? For 15 seasons, we could count on the Saints to be a high-flying offensive team led by Brees and Payton with a defense that often left a lot to be desired. With Brees in retirement, the Saints turned to a prolific passer in Jameis Winston, but this team has thrown the fewest passes (120) through five games of any NFL offense in the last 11 seasons.

The run game is being leaned on more than ever, but Alvin Kamara is averaging a career-low 3.9 yards per carry and his per-game receiving averages of 3.0 catches, 22.6 yards, 68.2% completions, and 5.1 yards per target would all be the worst of his career.

Meanwhile, the defense has been elite against the run (second in yards, first in yards per carry) and the nine interceptions rank third in the league despite the Saints already having a bye week. New Orleans only has eight sacks, which ranks ahead of the Chiefs (seven) for 31st in the league. I think the defense will regress to the mean once the Saints start playing better offenses. The only real test was Green Bay in Week 1, and we know that was a weird game played in Jacksonville, and Week 1 can be the most random one of the year. Otherwise, the Saints have feasted on Mac Jones and Taylor Heinicke while actually getting shredded by Sam Darnold and Daniel Jones.

Fortunately, the defense draws Geno Smith instead of Russell Wilson this week, but the Saints are going to have to start showing more scoring capability like we’re used to seeing from a Payton-coached offense. The Saints rank 30th in yards per drive but 12th in points per drive thanks to the best average starting field position in the league.

That is not sustainable. The Saints also go three-and-out on 26.9% of their drives, the third-highest rate in the league. Seattle ranks 31st in that stat, so this could be a game filled with punts and commercial breaks.

Seahawks: Another Beastquake?

The last time the Saints were this heavily favored in Seattle, Marshawn Lynch unleashed a Beastquake and the 7-9 Seahawks upset the defending champion Saints in the 2010 playoffs.

This is less of a challenge than that game, though the strength of the 2021 offense – Wilson’s deep passes to Tyler Lockett and D.K. Metcalf – looks to be gone for now. Geno Smith could not complete a pass longer than 14 yards to Metcalf in Pittsburgh. The Seahawks are going to have to open up the playbook more for him in his second start with the team.

Where Seattle found success in its rally in Pittsburgh was on the ground. Alex Collins looked great in rushing for 101 yards and a touchdown. That could be hard to repeat in this one as the Saints have really thwarted the run this year. However, the Saints did allow a season-high 131 rushing yards to Washington, albeit 40 of those yards coming on scrambles by the quarterback (Heinicke).

Smith took five sacks in Pittsburgh, though he should get better protection in this matchup as the Saints do not have a T.J. Watt. The Saints have eight sacks on the season. Turnovers are where Smith will need to be careful when targeting this secondary and standout corner Marshon Lattimore, who is allowing 41.9% completions this season. If Geno can protect the ball again, the Seahawks should be in this one in the fourth quarter.

Prediction

Before you say Seattle’s cover last week was thanks to playing a Pittsburgh team that plays down to the competition, keep in mind that Payton’s Saints are no strangers to losing games they are expected to win. Since 2006, the Saints are 80-30 SU (.727) as a favorite of at least five points. The 30 losses are the most in the league and the rest of the NFL wins those games 77.2% of the time. The Saints have already lost at home this year as a 7-point favorite against the Giants.

Meanwhile, Pete Carroll is 11-2 as the coach of Seattle on Monday night. All but one of those games had Wilson at quarterback, but I still think he’s a good enough coach to have this team ready to play at home. For my NFL pick, I like the Seahawks to keep it close in a lower-scoring game.

NFL Pick: Seahawks +5 (-109) at Heritage Sports (visit our Heritage Sports Review)

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Seahawks +5 (-109)
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*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.