With kickoff less than 24 hours away, let’s define the three basic types of fans. There are those Saints fans that are predicting a blowout, there are the Seahawks fans and much of the national media that believe the Seahawks are going to dominate and give the Saints no chance at a victory, and then there are the fans and the media that understand this is a playoff game in the NFL and the strong bias for one team or another is founded more in the fanatical thinking of fans than it is in realistic thinking.
As I have said all week, I think the stage is perfectly set for the Saints to beat the Seahawks Saturday in Seattle. I know how motivation is derived from being an underdog, and that is more powerful than being the expected favorite in football – or in life. I am also confident in all the ways Sean Payton uses the underdog status to motivate the Saints. But I have also been quick to remember that blindly thinking that your team is the only team that has a chance to win is not only shallow, but it also sets one up for great disappointment should the outcome be different from the unwavering prediction.
At this level of play in the NFL, it is often the intangibles more than the records and the match-ups that determine which team wins a game. There are countless documented cases of individuals gaining an unprecedented ability beyond their capacity in responding to certain dramatic situations. This demonstrates the power of the human factor of emotion and this is what I think the Saints have over the Seahawks in this playoff game.
However, the Seahawks are a young, intelligent team with a talented quarterback in Russell Wilson. The Saints are led by a tested record-setting veteran QB in Drew Brees. With the pressure of the playoff game in Seattle in front of their 12th Man crowd that expects the Seahawks to win, I see Rob Ryan’s defense throwing Wilson out of sync, while the experience and talent of Brees prevails. I also envision our running game, led by Mark Ingram’s newfound passion, to shock the Seahawks defense and open up the passing game. Brees did not have a good game against the Eagles last weekend and I don’t expect him to have two consecutive sub-par games.
But the Seahawks are a very talented team in all phases of the game and their 13-3 record proves just that. The motivation of the crowd at CenturyLink Field gives the Seahawks the same advantage the Saints have when they play at home in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Saints have also suffered key injuries and a few key players are fighting pain as they play.
If you are part of the Who Dat Nation, the healthier way to approach this playoff game in Seattle is to cheer for the Saints and hope they win, but do not set a definite outcome based simply on what you want to happen.
Fans can never demand their team win; fans can only demand a good game, and I think that’s a definite guarantee tomorrow!
It's not always the better team on the stat sheet that wins the game! Sometimes, it's the teamthat had the most to prove and the one that wanted it the most. Seattle in all of its glory this season had nothing to prove but we'll just have to see how bad the Saints really want it. Geaux Saints!
Peter from Pensacola
Nice piece. I've always wondered, "How did you come away with the nickname, 'Scoot?'"