Big Chief: Seahawks have the edge for the Battle in Seattle
by Deke Bellavia, firstname.lastname@example.org, @dekebigchief,posted Dec 2 2013 7:19AM
Okay folks this has the makings for a classic. All the right things have been said from both teams, compliments have been passed out like a Black Friday sale flyer and, now it's game time! The two best teams in the NFC meet in prime time.
New Orleans, which used to be a flat out loser on MNF, has become prime time king. QB Drew Brees is 9-0 in his last nine starts on Monday Night Football, with a QB rating of 123.6 in those nine previous games.
Okay with the extra time and the long holiday weekend, there have been more breakdowns for this game than any other this weekend. Honestly this is a huge game, but next week's game against Carolina is even bigger for the Black and Gold. If any team could afford a loss here it is the Seahawks.
Seattle is nearly invincible at home with a perfect mark of 5-0 at CenturyLink Field this season. Seattle has one of the most difficult venues an opposing team can face in all of professional sports. They have won their last 13 games at home.
I won't get all deep on you. I'll give you what I think are the 3 big spots to look for in this game.
1. Can the Saints protect the football? The Seahawks feed off turnovers, as they are +11 this season... which is good for second in the NFL. Seattle blows teams away when they create turnovers. If the Saints protect the football, they will win this game. I'm not saying that the Saints have to win the turnover battle, but I know that they can't lose it.
2. To the left, to the left! No, I'm not singing Beyonce's hit tune. What I am doing is giving much love and mad respect to the Seahawks defense, particularly the left side of their defense. At left DE are two of the best in the game today. Red Bryant and Michael Bennett are beast. Both can stop the run and wreak havoc on QB's. These two guys get off the ball as fast as any DE's in the league, and if they have big games that is not good for the road team. Weakside LB Bruce Irvin is also on the left side of the Hawks defense. Although Irvin has just two sacks this season, he does a good job of hurrying the QB and he is considered one of the toughest in the game today.
3. Run through the defense! The Seahawks have the 2nd best defense in the NFL, and their rushing attack is a big reason why. Seattle allows 112.9 rushing yards per game, which is 12th in the NFL. However, let's look at what teams have done as of late. In their last four games, the Seahawks have not been as good defending the run. In their last four games against St. Louis, Tampa Bay, Atlanta and Minnesota; Seattle allowed over 130 rushing yard in three of those four games, with St. Louis and Tampa both gaining at least 200 yards rushing. Seattle has given up 601 yards on the ground in their last four games, with an average of 4.8 yards per carry to their opponents. Should the Saints average 4.8 yards per rush, they will win this game. Bet on dat!
The Big Chief Says:
Okay the Saints are a very good team, but they are not good against the spread. In eleven games this season, New Orleans is 6-5 against the spread, including just 1-4 against the numbers on the road.
Both teams get great play from the QB's, and both QB's should be able to do some good things in this game. Brees will look to exploit a thin Seattle secondary that was hit by the league last week when both Brandon Browner and Walter Thurmond were suspended for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy. How will this affect the game?
"It is certainly a concern from a depth standpoint. The Seahawks have enough players to cover things right now. But there is not much depth there with the loss of those players," said Brock Huard. Huard once played QB for Seattle and now he is an analyst for the Seahawks.
So if anything, things seem a little even with both teams adjusting to defensive secondary issues. The Saints lost Jabari Greer two weeks ago, and the Seahawks have some problems of their own.
Folks in the past, even under Sean Payton, I would not be as confident as I am right now. The confidence that I carry is solely due to the way the Saints defense plays. When you have a consistent defense like New Orleans has, you will be in every game you play... as long as you don't give things away.
The Saints defense is good enough to keep them in and help them win in any environment. Even if the Saints were playing the Dracula's in Transylvania, I'd give them a good chance to win due to their defense.
I think the Saints play well and make this a four quarter game. It's hard to go against New Orleans, but if this game were played in the Superdome I'd go with the Saints.
Since it is in Seattle I'll give the edge to the Seahawks. Take the points, but the Saints come up short here.
Seattle 24 - New Orleans 20
What they're saying
Saints Defensive Coordinator Rob Ryan on Seahawks QB Russell Wilson
"I'll tell you what. I think we played him the second game he ever played quarterback in this league. Right now the guy is one of the star quarterbacks in the league. He does so many excellent things with his feet first of all, and then you can see the intelligence out there. I know it's documented how smart he is, but it looks like he loves to play the game. He is so accurate, especially when he's on the move, running around like he does making plays. He's tremendous at that. He's probably the best scrambler in football (in my book). I think the guy is outstanding. We got our work cut out for us. The receivers are extremely talented. This is a well-coached team. They've got a hunter-killer back there running the ball. This is what you get, I guess, this time of year and this will be a hell of a challenge."
Saints Coach Sean Payton on if more emphasis is being put on this game compared to other games
"No. We would try to, every week, prepare as if that type of game is of that same magnitude. In other words, it's the next challenge and certainly it's a big challenge. It's not like you do additional this (or that). Guys are working late, players are practicing, studying, and preparing just like we did on a short week last week, just like we did the week before last week before Dallas. That's just the nature of the work week and the schedule. We feel like we've got a pretty good itinerary. This one was a little unique in that it fell after a Thursday game and then Thanksgiving week and then Monday Night Football. Seattle had a bye week with Thanksgiving this week and a Monday night game. As coaches and players you quickly lay down the itinerary, you get adapted to it, and you follow the process of getting acclimated as quickly as you can to the opponent. That's how you treat it. After this game, we'll treat the next week the same week. So to answer your question, no."
Seattle Seahawks Coach Pete Carroll on how big the game with
"Every game we play is a championship game. You never know which one is going to be the one that you look back on and say, ‘Boy, if we'd have got that one, we would've had this or that.' We play every one of them like it's the biggest game in the world. It's the championship game every time we go. This happens to be against a great opponent and a well-balanced football team and a winning group and all of that. They will pose us all of the challenges of anybody we've played, so we're going to have to play at our best, which is what we try to do every week. So if you're asking me if this is a bigger game than the others, no it isn't. It's the biggest game we can possibly play this week and we're going to try to make the most of it."
New Orleans Saints (9-2) @ Seattle Seahawks (10-1)
Monday December 2 7:40PM Kickoff on WWL Radio, ESPN TV
Last week's Results: New Orleans beat Atlanta 17-13 and Seattle had their bye week
Series History: The teams have met a total of 12 times with the series tied 6-6
Big Chief: Seahawks have the edge for the Battle in Seattle
Please Enter Your Comments Below
Got to disagree
Check all the Media guys, no one is picking the Saints....why, Seattle at home........Well, it's time for the Hawks to go down and it will be OUR mean defense that will do it along with OUR running game and the Brees 12 guage shooting down the Hawks...
Saints 24 Seattle 17 Believe dat!!
Saints Cover for Vegas Sports Books
This is the only game in town with all the big money going on The Seahawks. Russell Wilson shows he's over rated playing against Rob Ryan's Saints Defense. Saints allow bail out the bookies in Vegas big time 38 to 20!
Deke - don't publish your lack of faith. It will be a tight, hard fought win but the the Saints will Win!
Who Dat!! Who Dat!
Legion of BOOM is now The Legion of Choom. Saints better against the run, better against the pass, WAAAAAAAAY better passing. Unless the 12th man can play corner SAINTS WIN!
Seahawks by 20
Saints arent even a good match for the Seahawks. The Seahawks are too good. Saints = FAIL
works both ways ole davie boy. Just like YOU think nobody can win against the Saints at home, at least the Seahawks back it up, they have not lost a home game since 2011, 14 straight wins -- tonight will be 15. Booyahhhhhhhhhh!!!!!
Saints flop again, so much for preperation. Saints are out of their league when playing quality teams. Once they realize that the abilities of several of their players are not that of a competitive player in the NFL, then maybe they will be able to not embarrass themselves as well as our beloved city.