Seahawks vs. Broncos time, odds, prediction, keys, TV, live stream: Russell Wilson takes on ex-team on ‘MNF’

For 10 years, the Seattle Seahawks walked like Russell Wilson. Ever since the team selected him in the third round of the 2012 NFL Draft, he’s become one of the faces of the franchise; and especially as the years went by, their success became increasingly dependent on his exploits.

Well, that’s no more. The Seahawks traded Wilson to the Denver Broncos this offseason, and in the first game of the post-Wilson era, they face…Wilson and the Denver Broncos. In the first Monday Night Football game of the season, we took on a double revenge game: Russ versus the Seahawks. Seahawks versus Russ. That will be funny.

Before we break down the matchup, here’s how to keep an eye on the game.

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Date: Monday 12 Sept | Time: 8:15 p.m. ET
Location: Lumen Field (Seattle)
TV:
ABC | Electricity: fuboTV (click here)
Consequences: CBS Sports App
Opportunities: Broncos -6.5, O/U 44.5

When the Broncos have the ball

The big question here is: what the heck is this offense going to be like?

The Seahawks tried putting Wilson into a Kyle Shanahan/Sean McVay-style offensive system last season by hiring former Rams assistant Shane Waldron as their new offensive coordinator, and it mostly didn’t last. The Broncos’ new head coach, Nathaniel Hackett, comes from a different branch of the same coaching tree, and how he connects his ideas to what Wilson loves to do will be one of this NFL season’s most intriguing subplots. Can Hackett Get Wilson To Play Point Guard Style As Quarterback? How will his improvisational skills feed into the overall offensive design? These are questions to which we still have no answers.

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But not only this offensive will look different, but also the defense of Seattle – at least structurally. One of the most passionate four-down, single-high, man-and-cover-3 defenses of the past decade, Seattle brought in former Bears defensive coordinator Sean Desai, named Clint Hurtt as defensive coordinator, and added the former Alabama defensive line and Vikings added back coach Karl Scott to their staff. They’re all proponents of a very different style of defense, with weirder fronts, two-high shells, match zone covers, and just a completely different philosophy. Pete Carroll’s willingness to overhaul things on his side of the ball bodes well for the team’s future, but those changes may not work immediately due to the staff in place.

Using Jamal Adams in deeper coverage, for example, could create opportunities for the Broncos in the field — particularly tight end Albert Okwuegbunam, who will see plenty of Adams due to his height. The Seahawks will also likely roll out two rookie corners for a non-negligible number of defensive snaps and count on Tariq Woolen and Coby Bryant to have real roles in their first career games. With Courtland Sutton on the outside, Jerry Jeudy on the court and KJ Hamler moving all over the field to test the defense deep, she and Sidney Jones, Artie Burns and Justin Coleman will have their hands full.

The idea that Seattle is putting a lot of pressure on Wilson also seems pretty far-fetched. Shelby Harris (part of the Wilson trade) will help up front, but Uchenna Nwosu and Darrell Taylor don’t make the most imposing duo to edge. While Denver’s offensive line tends to be pretty good as elite, it should be good enough to fend off that pass rush group. Wilson occasionally stays on the ball too long and gets into trouble every now and then, but there should be enough clean pockets in this matchup to pick apart an uninspiring backend.

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Meanwhile, the Javonte Williams-Melvin Gordon backfield duo is one of the best in the league, and the new offensive design should put them in a better position to move up the field quickly and decisively. Wilson has often been at his best making deep play action shots after a power run game, and the group he works with on this team should allow him to do just that.

When the Seahawks have the ball

It’s hard to see the Seahawks moving the ball so consistently against what is actually a very good Denver defense.

Seattle’s offensive line will count on rookies at both tackle spots — a dangerous proposition against edge-rushing duo Bradley Chubb and Randy Gregory. There aren’t many teams that actually have the different corner body types needed to compete with the likes of DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett, but the Broncos do – thanks to the presence of Patrick Surtain II on the outside and K’Waun Williams in the slot – are one of them.

New defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero will likely retain many of the Vic Fangio-style concepts the Broncos have used in recent years, but it also wouldn’t be surprising if the Broncos pushed the line of scrimmage a little more than they did in this contest do the rest of the way. Rashaad Penny was an efficient and explosive runner when healthy. Geno Smith has never been particularly effective at throwing the ball — especially in downfield. It might be appropriate for the Broncos to get Smith to hit them with throws on the fringes and deep parts of the field, confident they can either pressure him or force him into an error.

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We may see a different looking Seattle offense than in years past, especially with Wilson gone. More under-center snaps and play action, more timing-based concepts and throws across the middle of the field. But the defensive style the Seahawks are playing against this week is one specifically designed to take away those types of throws. The rise of two high cover and deep zone cover shells came in response to the Shanahan-style offenses based on crossers and deep shots from barrel fakes.

forecast

Latest Odds:

Denver Broncos -6.5

Because of this break in style and the relative lack of talent up front and under center, we envision the Seahawks fighting for much of this competition.

Prognosis: Broncos 24, Seahawks 13

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