The Seahawks are the first losing team in a full 16-game season to ever make the playoffs. They will look to prove they are worthy of their postseason birth by knocking out the defending champs. The Saints, meanwhile, are trying to become the first team to repeat since New England did so in 2003-04 and will likely have to do so by winning three road games, starting with this one in Seattle.
The Seattle Seahawks may vary well be the least deserving team to not only play in a playoff game, but host one as well. The Washington bunch had a horrendous regular season but snuck into the postseason from being in the mundane NFC West. They ended the regular season (7-9) after their momentous Sunday night win over the St. Louis Rams, a game in which saw the defense finally rise to the occasion. The run defense of the Seahawks has been an area of deep concern the entire year, their front four is the most porous line in the entire league. The secondary isn’t much better, they ranked 29th in pass defense and 30th in points allowed through the air. Pete Carrol has had to play a mix-and-match game all season long on the defensive front and last Sunday may have been his best attempt at putting the correct pieces together. The Seahawks are the first losing team in a full 16-game season to ever make the playoffs. They will look to prove they are worthy of their postseason birth by knocking out the defending champs. The Saints, meanwhile, are trying to become the first team to repeat since New England did so in 2003-04 and will likely have to do so by winning three road games, starting with this one in Seattle.
The Saints are not as dominant as the 2009-2010 squad but they still do pose as a lethal threat. Their offense has all of the potential as last years dominant force but they have yet to truly put it together. Regular season injuries to RB Reggie Bush and TE Jeremy Shockey have not made matters better for the men from Louisiana but they have coped nonetheless. The Saints have returned most of the pieces to their league leading offense from last season. While the numbers aren’t as good, and certainly the performances aren’t either, Drew Brees has still thrown for 33 touchdowns, 4’620 yards and completed 68.1% of his passes. Brees is a proven big game performer also having won the MVP of Superbowl XLIV last season. Brees is likely to pick on the young Seattle secondary by sending multiple receivers to his area during the game. In their previous meeting this season Brees threw two interceptions (1 to Thomas) however he also threw 4 touchdowns and to 10 different receivers in a blowout victory. Even if the Seahawks somehow manage to deal with the Saints passing game, the running game is just as dangerous. Even without Pierre Thomas, who can’t seem to stay healthy, at 100% the Saints combine the tough running of Chris Ivory with the outstanding elusiveness of Reggie Bush to destroy even the best of defenses. The Saints can win this game either through the air or on the ground on offense.
Seahawks Saints Wild Card Early Lines:
New Orleans Saints -10.5
@ Seattle Seahawks +10.5
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The spread may be a bit presumptuous on the health of QB Matt Hasselbeck and his availability. I believe as the week progresses and if Hasselbeck’s health is still a concern then we see this line increase. Whitehurst simply does not have enough to put his team in contention against the Saints and I believe this line is one that has Matt under centre rather then Charlie. The game total seems to be right where you would think. The Saints can score and the Seahawks can’t seem to stop the run so this game has the makings of a high scoring affair. Once again, if later in the week Hasselbeck is confirmed as Saturday’s starter then we may see this total shift upward.
As of right now the public is all over the Saints and the OVER for Saturday’s wildcard game at Qwest Field. A ton of money in Vegas is being poured onto the Saints covering this spread. New Orleans is 5-1 SU in its last 6 games on the road and they beat this Seahawks bunch this year handily by 15 points. Seattle is 2-5 SU in its last 7 games and is 2-5 ATS in its last 7 games. The total has gone OVER in 8 of Seattle’s last 9 games, as well the total has gone OVER in 4 of Seattle’s last 5 games at home.