The Seattle Seahawks host the number six seed New Orleans Saints at CenturyLink Field this Saturday. The game will be broadcasted on FOX starting at 4:35 ET.
The last time these two teams met, the Seahawks ended up annihilating New Orleans 34-7. Seattle dominated all facets of the game and the Saints fell off the tracks regarding the push for home field advantage. This time around, though, there’s more at stake than just a playoff seeding: playoff survival is on the line this Saturday.
As much as I’d like to see one, I don’t think we’ll get an exact replica of that Monday night game all those weeks ago. The weather forecast accounts for changes in game plans, for instance. Seattle is going to be windy and rainy with a high of 49 degrees. If the wind and rain is indeed heavy, these two teams will have to rely on their running game to move the ball effectively, and Seattle has the advantage there. Marshawn Lynch wasn’t very successful in the last meeting between these two, which was okay given that Russell Wilson had an MVP night, but give him a bunch of carries at home and he will find even meager holes that the offensive line opens up. Let’s not forget what happened to Marshawn Lynch the last time these two played in Seattle during the playoffs.
New Orleans doesn’t have a running game to rival Seattle’s. Everyone knows Drew Brees and the passing game carries the Saints’ offense. New Orleans may have had success running last week in Philadelphia, but Seattle is not Philadelphia. Mark Ingram won’t be finishing near the century mark in yards (and nor will Pierre Thomas if he ends up making it back from his injury). Not against this front seven. Not in front of the 12th man. Not at all.
Despite the weather, the teams will still have to throw the ball. Brees is less than stellar in cold weather, whereas Wilson’s gotten used to Seattle cold these past couple years. If Brees could throw a couple picks last week, another couple wouldn’t be too crazy to imagine against Richard Sherman and the Legion of Boom.
If the wind ends up being pretty gusty, the deep ball is pretty much out of the question for both signal callers. Shorter routes and receptions for a big guy like Jimmy Graham will help move the ball for New Orleans, so neutralizing Graham is a huge priority for the Seahawks.
Percy Harvin’s return is another morale boost for Seattle, who already get to play at home in front of the 12th man. Harvin will be extremely valuable on special teams and could give Russell Wilson great field position to work with. He’ll also grab a few passes, though I’m inclined Golden Tate will still be Wilson’s first look as he drops back.
At the end of the day, Seattle’s defense up against Brees as well as its relentless rushing attack is too much to be paralyzed by unpleasant weather and the Saints. While New Orleans will play better than its last visit to Seattle, the Seahawks should still take this one by double digits.
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