Text Us: 870870
Studio: (504)260.1870
Toll Free: (866)889.0870
A   A   A
 Follow 
Share

Posted: Thursday, 09 January 2014 9:10PM

Five things to watch: Saints @ Seahawks



— After nearly two weeks of waiting, the Seattle Seahawks finally get a chance to prove they were worthy of the No. 1 seed they earned in the NFC.

After winning on the road in the postseason last week, the New Orleans Saints no longer have that stigma clouding their franchise history.

Less than six weeks after Seattle made a resounding claim to NFC supremacy with a rout of New Orleans, the Seahawks and Saints collide again on Saturday in the NFC divisional playoff. Since that Dec. 2 matchup where the Seahawks all but wrapped up home-field advantage in the NFC playoffs with a 34-7 win, both teams have seen some of their definitions changed.

Seattle has lost some of its home invincibility after losing to Arizona in Week 16 to snap a 14-game home win streak. And the Saints are no longer seeking a validating victory away from New Orleans after knocking off Philadelphia 26-24 last Saturday in the NFC wild-card game, the first road playoff win in franchise history.

"They're going to know what to expect from our crowd, they're going to know what to expect from us, and we're going to know what to expect from them," Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman said. "It's almost like a division game in that sense because we've just seen each other and you understand what the game is going to be and what it's going to come down to."

There's also a bit of history on the side of the Saints. Since 2005, No. 6 seeds are 5-2 against No. 1 seeds in the divisional round of the postseason.

Here are five other things to watch as Seattle tries to advance to its second NFC championship game while the Saints.

--

MORE THAN BREES: Drew Brees is not accustomed to being stifled, but that is what Seattle did in the first meeting. His 147 yards passing were a season-low by nearly 100 yards. His 3.87 yards per pass attempt was the third-lowest of his entire career.

But New Orleans has evolved over the past month. They're attempting to become more run dependent and less pass reliant. The Saints had 30 rushing attempts in their final two regular-season games, then ran the ball 36 times for 185 yards last week vs. Philadelphia. Mark Ingram rushed for 97 yards against Philadelphia, the second highest total in Saints postseason history.

"I was just hoping we have another opportunity," Brees said, "and here we are with that opportunity."

REDISCOVER RUSSELL: Russell Wilson had arguably the best regular-season game of his career when New Orleans visited in December. He threw for 310 yards and three touchdowns, ran for another 47 yards and completed 73.3 percent of his pass attempts. For Wilson, it capped a four-week stretch where his name was thrown into the MVP conversation.

The subsequent four games led to concern the Seahawks have slumped. Wilson's numbers dipped significantly. He topped 200 yards passing only once during the stretch, had only four touchdown passes versus three interceptions and his completion rate was below 58 percent. He was also sacked 14 times.

WHERE'S JIMMY?: Jimmy Graham has been such a vital part of the Saints offense that his disappearance in the first matchup against Seattle was stunning. Seattle used a combination of linebacker K.J. Wright and strong safety Kam Chancellor to shadow Graham. He finished with just three receptions for 42 yards on nine targets.

The Saints should be better able to counter Seattle's defense against Graham this time. Wright is out with a foot injury, taking away Seattle's biggest — and one of its most athletic — linebackers. That will put more pressure on Chancellor and backup linebacker Malcolm Smith.

"For us, it's not just going not be one player that will take that job on, it'll be a variety of guys in the way that we play our coverage and our style," Seattle defensive coordinator Dan Quinn said.

HELLO, HARVIN: Percy Harvin might own the award for player most written about with least number of snaps this season. He's been a constant question from the start of training camp until now, first about his ailing hip, then about his recovery, his Seattle debut in Week 11 and then about the complications that surfaced after. But the problems with his surgically repaired hip have subsided to the point that Harvin will play Saturday with no limitations.

"Everything worked out for the best," Harvin said, "and I'm looking forward to being out there and helping this team win."

INJURY WOES: The Saints were already without safety Kenny Vaccaro, cornerback Jabari Greer and linebacker Jonathan Vilma to injuries in the second-half of the regular season. Then linebacker Parys Haralson went down with the torn pectoral against Philadelphia and cornerback Keenan Lewis suffered a concussion. Lewis was adamant this week he intends to play against Seattle.

Meanwhile, the Seahawks might get more than Harvin back. Tight end Luke Willson could play two weeks after getting carted off the field with an ankle injury. And if the Seahawks advance, Wright could be ready next week.


Read more here: http://www.tri-cityherald.com/2014/01/09/2766716/the-sequel-saints-and-seahawks.html#storylink=cpy

A   A   A
 Follow 
Share
Deke's Blog
Deke: A look at the SEC, Part 4: Arkansas, Texas A&M, and Georgia
Arkansas Razorbacks: After leading the Wisconsin Badgers to three straight Rose Bowls, Brett Bielema is not used to winning only three games in a season. Arkansas was 3-9 in 2013, but his second year brings better expectations and likely more wins for...
Read More
Deke: NFC South training camp preview
As the Who Dat Nation no doubt knows, Saints training camp starts this week! As the Black and Gold head out to West Virginia, let's take a quick look at how the other teams in the NFC South are shaping up. Atlanta Falcons: The Falcons will hold camp...
Read More
Deke: A look at the SEC, Part 3: Kentucky and Mississippi State
As SEC Media Days continue this week, let's take a look at two more teams. How will the Wildcats and the Bulldogs fare in 2014? Kentucky Wildcats: After a dismal 2-10 record in the first year under Coach Mark Stoops, there is nowhere to go but up...
Read More
Deke: A look at the SEC, Part 2: South Carolina and Tennessee
People sometimes ask me how come I know so much about college football. My response is that I read, look, listen and watch. Not to follow the nation's toughest conference is flat out dumb. But hey, to each his own! Today was day two of SEC Media Days,...
Read More
Deke: A look at the SEC, Part 1: Florida, Auburn and Vandy
Today, the nation's toughest conference began their annual week of media days, where coaches from every SEC school address the media. Today, I'll take a look at what officials from Florida, Auburn and Vanderbilt had to say. Florida Gators:...
Read More
Hokie's Blog
Bobby's Blog
Kristian's Blog
Kristian: Two Saints start camp on PUP list
According to the league transaction report, the Saints have placed nose tackle John Jenkins and Linebacker Cheta Ozougwu on the PUP list (Physically Unable to Perform). A player can be removed from that list at any point in training camp prior to week...
Read More
Kristian: Cornerback spot is one to watch at Saints camp
The Saints might have one of the deepest teams on paper, and certainly one of the more talented rosters in the NFL. However, with some changes on defense and offense, there are some pretty interesting battles shaping up in camp. Several other teams are...
Read More
Kristian: Mickey Loomis for MVP!
Yeah, yeah, general managers are never in the running for Most Valuable Player in the NFL, and Saints GM Mickey Loomis isn't a player in the traditional sense. He doesn't block, he doesn't tackle, he doesn't catch or throw touchdowns....
Read More
Kristian: With Graham wrapped up, what's next for Saints salary cap?
Prior to the Jimmy Graham contract, New Orleans had about $1.7 million in cap room. After the Graham contract, the Saints saved roughly $3 million in cap space with Graham's cap hit for this season sitting at roughly $4 million dollars. The Saints...
Read More
Kristian: Graham appeals Burbank ruling with 24 hours to go
The NFL Network has reported that Saints tight end Jimmy Graham will appeal the ruling from arbitrator Stephen Burbank, with less than 24 hours to go before the deadline to reach a long-term deal with the Saints. Andrew Brandt, an NFL Business analyst...
Read More
Training Camp

Team News
Saints Schedule
Team Leaders
Division Standings
NFC Standings
ADVERTISEMENT

FACEBOOK

1 Thing

Contact Us

Contests

WWL iPhone App

Powered By InterTech Media, LLC™