Broncos vs Seahawks: Picks, Prediction, Spread for Monday Night Football
Aaron Ontiveroz/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images. Pictured: Russell Wilson.
- The Broncos are -6.5 tonight on Monday Night Football against the Seahawks.
- Russell Wilson begins his Broncos career facing his former team in his former home city.
- Stuckey breaks down the game and makes his betting pick below.
Broncos vs. Seahawks Odds
As usual, NFL schedule makers knew exactly what they were doing in Week 1. To cap off the opening week slate, we will get to see Russell Wilson return to Seattle following a tumultuous split after 10 seasons.
It’s a brand new start in Denver with a new head coach, coordinators, assistants and ownership with newfound optimism in large part due to Wilson providing a massive upgrade.
New head coach Nathaniel Hackett previously served as the Packers offensive coordinator. He brought in a new offensive coordinator (also from the Packers) and a new defensive coordinator from the Rams. It’s a young staff manning high-level positions for the first time.
While the trade for Wilson dominated headlines, the Broncos made other moves to replace a couple of key defensive losses. They added stud nose tackle DJ Jones after losing Shelby Harris (now with Seattle) and surprisingly acquired Randy Gregory (from Dallas) to help replace Von Miller.
From an injury standpoint, Gregory and new starting right tackle Billy Turner are both expected to play. Wide receiver K.J. Hamler could be on a snap count, while linebacker Josey Jewell (the quarterback of the defense) may miss Monday night’s opener.
For Seattle, cornerback Sydney Jones looks like a go, while rookie running back Kenneth Walker III does not. Starting left guard Damien Lewis remains questionable with an ankle injury.
Broncos vs. Seahawks Matchup Analysis
Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how the Broncos and Seahawks match up statistically. (Stats from 2021-22 season.)
Broncos vs. Seahawks DVOA Breakdown
The biggest advantage for the Broncos lies at the most important position: quarterback. Denver now has Seattle's ex-future Hall of Famer, while the Seahawks will roll with Geno Smith, who led the offense to 10 total points in two full halves over the final pair of preseason games.
Both QBs have dynamic wide receivers, but Smith will have to operate behind an offensive line that will start two rookie offensive tackles, only the third team to do so in the opener since the merger in 1970.
I’m actually a fan of both inexperienced OTs, but things could get shaky in their debuts against Gregory and Bradley Chubb. Seattle likes its guards but will also have a new center anchoring this inexperienced unit that lacks continuity. If the Seahawks fall too far behind, it could get ugly if Smith has to deal with constant pressure in obvious passing situations.
If this doesn't get out of hand, I expect Seattle to lean heavily on its run game, while taking occasional shots to Tyler Locket and DK Metcalf against a Denver secondary that heavily relies on second-year pro Patrick Surtain II. The two interior linebacker positions could leave the Broncos vulnerable to power rushing attacks, especially if Jewell is inactive.
We don't know what the Denver offense will look like, but I assume we will see a heavy dose of outside zone runs, play-action and plenty of deep shots with built in scramble drill routes to take advantage of Wilson’s improvisation skills and elite deep ball.
Denver will try to isolate Courtland Sutton in single coverage against a very raw Seattle secondary. With Tre Brown still out and Artie Burns nursing an injury, per the most recent depth chart, the Seahawks will start CB Mike Jackson, who has only played in four games for three teams as a fifth-round pick in 2019, and Tariq Woolen, a rookie fifth-round draft pick out of UTSA.
Additionally, rookie Coby Bryant may start in the slot, meaning Seattle's three starting cornerbacks would have zero career NFL starts combined. It's not like Seattle excelled in pass coverage last year (26th DVOA), but relying on rookie corners usually doesn't end well.
The Seahawks fared well against the run in 2021 but will transition to a 3-4 multiple scheme under new coordinator Clint Hurtt and assistant Sean Desai, who put together a solid game plan against Wilson last year as defensive coordinator in Chicago.
Neither team showed much in the preseason, which creates added uncertainty. The Broncos also have a new defensive coordinator in Ejiro Evero, who has stated they will run a similar scheme to former head coach Vic Fangio.
It's reasonable to expect early growing pains for the Broncos offense in front of the 12th man. Per my numbers, this early non-conference matchup in primetime will mark one of the strongest home-field advantages of the season.
I expect both teams will establish the run early while feeling each other out. The Seahawks likely want to play keep away with a significant quarterback disadvantage. Plus, Pete Carroll just has a general propensity for pounding the rock.
Meanwhile, Denver will likely run to set up the pass with favorable matchups on the outside. Therefore, I envision a lower scoring first half, which means the first-half under should warrant consideration.
From a spread perspective, I see value on Seattle +7 since the Denver preseason hype train has gone too far, in my opinion.
Relying on rookies at cornerback against Wilson and tackle against a solid pass rush with Smith under center certainly gives me pause. However, I ultimately trusted my projections and pulled the trigger at the key number of +7. I would not go any lower than that.
Seahawks nation, let's ride.