By Jim Moore
Might as well start with this: I'm taking the Saints. I'm not just taking the Saints and the five points that Vegas is giving them, I'm taking them to beat the Seahawks straight up Monday night.
Why? Didn't I think the Seahawks would go 19-0 and win the Super Bowl this year? They're 10-1, just one game off of that pace. Now I'm suddenly going to leave Fantasy Island and pick the Saints to win?
I just have a feeling that things are going to catch up to the Seahawks Monday night.
With Walter Thurmond (28) suspended, Seattle's secondary will be shorthanded Monday night against Drew Brees and the Saints' second-ranked passing offense. (AP)
You wouldn't think the latest off-field news would be that big of a deal, and you might be right. Brandon Browner was out with a groin injury anyway, so what if he faces a suspension for a violation of the league's substance-abuse policy? And you'd probably say that the loss of his replacement, Walter Thurmond, to the same infraction won't hurt that much since they've got capable corners behind him in Byron Maxwell and Jeremy Lane.
You could even argue, as some have, that this will have a galvanizing effect on the Seahawks – they'll manufacture a rallying cry around the fact that two of their teammates were busted and turn that into an us-against-the-world beatdown of the Saints.
The Seahawks are terrific at creating chips for their shoulders. As an example, Richard Sherman will always think he's being disrespected since he was drafted in the fifth round when the truth of the matter is that everyone now recognizes him as one of the best corners in the game.
But whatever, if it works as a motivating factor for the Seahawks and it helps them improve to 11-1 and tighten their grip on the No. 1 seed in the NFC, great. I just have a hard time believing that you can keep sustaining stuff like this and winning, particularly when you're facing a 9-2 team like the Saints.
The injuries along the offensive line were unavoidable, but substance-abuse violations are. Personally, if I were in charge, I wouldn't care if the whole team lights up, but the current rules say you can't, so what Browner and Thurmond allegedly did was dumb on so many levels.
I'm reading a lot into that one intangible aspect of this game. If you look at the tangible things, the Seahawks should win. They're playing at home, where they've won 13 in a row. Statistically, they're superior to the Saints in almost every category aside from passing offense. They also have a big advantage in a matchup that could determine the outcome – Marshawn Lynch is one of the NFL's top running backs, and New Orleans is 23rd in rush defense, allowing 111.9 yards a game.
And it calls for Seahawks weather Monday night. It will probably be in the high 30s at kickoff with a 30 percent chance of rain. When he plays in climate-uncontrolled venues, Drew Brees isn't the same quarterback that he is at the Superdome.
Most of my arguments for the Saints can be shot down, but I'm going with karma in this one. The football gods have been smiling on the Seahawks all year long, but they'll be frowning Monday night.
Prediction: Saints 20, Seahawks 17
Season record against the spread: 7-4
The Go 2 Guy also writes for his website, jimmoorethego2guy.com, and kitsapsun.com. You can reach Jim at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @cougsgo.