On Saturday, the Kansas City Chiefs face the Seattle Seahawks. According to DraftKings Sportsbook, Kansas City is favored to win. We welcome John P. Gilbert of Field Gulls — our sister SBNation site covering the Seahawks — for Five Questions with the Enemy.
1. No one had Geno Smith to the Pro Bowl on their 2022 bingo card. How solid does he feel as the Seahawks' starter for the foreseeable future?
This is one of those questions that fans have debated through much of the season — and will likely continue to debate into the offseason until there is some sort of resolution to the question. Without question, Geno has exceeded the expectations of most, but there seems to be a large contingent of fans who are not ready to pay him market rate on the back of a single quality season. Thus, the franchise tag becomes a possibility. But the tag is likely to require $32.5 million of cap space, which is more effective cap space than the team is projected to have in 2023 — and there are several other spots on the roster that need to be addressed as well. So, is it possible Smith has solidified the position for the Hawks for the next couple of seasons? Certainly, but there will likely be a significant portion of the fanbase that would be very vocal if the team signs him to a contract similar to the Russell Wilson contract they unloaded to Denver in the spring.
2. The Seahawks have been a surprise team for much of the season, but currently sit on the fringe of the NFC playoff picture. What is the current mood in Seattle about the team?
There is still some optimism about the prospect of sneaking into the playoffs this season — and lots of optimism regarding the future — but most recognize this season for what it is: a rebuilding year. Another win or two certainly wouldn’t hurt the feelings of fans — but at this point, between a defense that hasn’t been able to stop opponents and an offensive line that has struggled in recent weeks, the reality has set in for most fans: the team likely wasn’t as good as its record made it appear during the first half of the year.
3. How much will former Kansas State Wildcat Tyler Lockett be missed this week?
Between the weather and how crucial Lockett is to the offense, it’s likely to be absolutely massive. Lockett is the reliable receiver who is always open in space and can move the chains on third down. In a game that seems likely to be low scoring as a result of the weather, any and all first downs will be important — and not having Lockett available to help convert those third downs into first downs could lead to massive issues for the offense. Lockett hasn’t missed much time in his career, but when he’s been slowed by injuries in the past it has brought the offense to a grinding halt. Whether or not that will be the case again this season remains to be seen, so don’t be surprised if Seattle turns to heavy usage of multiple tight end sets on offense for both its ground and air attacks.
4. The Chiefs have defeated four NFC teams by double digits this season. What will the Seattle defense need to do to get a better outcome?
With a largely young and inexperienced secondary, the Hawks’ defense has been susceptible to coverage busts for most of the season — and my fear is that Andy Reid is scheming away in his play design laboratory figuring out how to force several more coverage busts. Add in a run defense that has been extremely porous of late and it’s a recipe for a blowout. What could keep things close for the Hawks is the cold — but even with that, if the daytime sun is enough to keep things on the field feeling somewhat warm in the early portions of the game, it would not be a surprise to see Kansas City finish out its NFC slate with another double digit victory.
5. DraftKings currently has Chiefs favored by 10.5 points. Do you think that line is fair? What is your score prediction?
Under almost any kind of normal weather conditions that is a perfectly fair line. The Seahawks are a team that has a roster filled with youth and upside potential, but the Chiefs have a roster that has been to four consecutive AFC Championship games. That’s not to say that Seattle can’t win the game, but it’s certainly not unlikely for the Chiefs to win in convincing fashion. That said, due to the weather conditions, a 16-7 game in cold weather could easily be a convincing victory.
Be sure to check out the answers I gave to their questions by clicking here.