All that stands between the Seattle Seahawks (2-0) and a 3-0 start is a home victory against the Drew Brees-less New Orleans Saints (1-1). Similar to Week 1, when the Cincinnati Bengals came to town without A.J. Green and Cordy Glenn, this is somewhat of a must-win for Seattle.
The NFC West is setting up to be incredibly competitive with three teams sitting at 2-0, and Seattle needs to take advantage of the break they’ve gotten by missing Brees. Sean Payton has been mum on who will start under center for the Saints, but I’d be shocked if it wasn’t Teddy Bridgewater. New Orleans made him the highest paid backup in the league this offseason. Taysom Hill will be sprinkled in as well.
Here are five Seahawks players who might make or break Seattle’s chances of winning.
1. Ziggy Ansah
Ansah’s long-awaited Seahawks debut is finally here. The Seahawks opted to give Ansah’s shoulder a few extra weeks. H should be good to go without being on any snap count because of that patience. Unlike Jadeveon Clowney, Ansah spent the entire offseason in Seattle which should help from a mental standpoint. That pass rush tandem should improve as the season goes on, but nobody would argue with getting the instant gratification of seeing them terrorize the Saints offensive line on Sunday.
2. David Moore
Moore gives Brian Schottenheimer another deep threat to deploy. Jaron Brown’s reps are likely to be diminished with Moore’s return from a shoulder injury. Brown is yet to see an official target through two games despite playing 99 snaps. Moore, and maybe even Malik Turner, should see snaps ahead of Brown in three- and four-receiver sets.
3. Poona Ford
Seattle will be thrilled to get Ford back into the lineup after he missed one game with a calf strain. He’ll be crucial in the Seahawks efforts against Alvin Kamara and Latavius Murray. With Ford and Ansah active in Week 3, don’t be surprised to see L.J. Collier as a healthy scratch on Sunday.
4. D.J. Fluker
Fluker missed 20 snaps in Week 2 after suffering an ankle injury before returning and finishing the game. Not only do the Seahawks need him to be healthy, but they need him to improve as well. Fluker gave up two sacks in the first quarter against the Pittsburgh Steelers. It’s imperative that the offensive live takes a step forward against the Saints pass rush that leads the NFL with nine sacks.
5. Akeem King/Jamar Taylor
Tre Flowers is questionable to play with an ankle injury. I’m of the belief that Flowers won’t play against the Saints, which means either Akeem King or Jamar Taylor will be starting in his place. Given that the Seahawks don’t have their corners shadow receivers (ie. Shaquill Griffin following Michael Thomas), New Orleans may decide to attack King/Taylor’s side of the field with Thomas. Will they be up to the task?