NFL Playoff Predictions: New Orleans Saints vs. Seattle Seahawks

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New Orleans Saints

  • Record: 11-5
  • Offense Passing: 2nd
  • Offense Rushing: 25th
  • Defense Passing: 2nd
  • Defense Rushing: 19th

Seattle Seahawks

  • Record: 13-3
  • Offense Passing: 26th
  • Offense Rushing: 4th
  • Defense Passing: 1st
  • Defense Rushing: 7th

Keys to the Game

New Orleans: The Saints have finally won their first road playoff game in franchise history and are one step closer to the Super Bowl. Last week they kicked a last minute field goal to beat Philadelphia in a tough game. This week it doesn’t get much easier as they prepare to travel to Seattle to take on the Seahawks. The Saints will need to follow a simple game plan to win this one. First, they need to stick to what they are good at, which is passing the ball. Sure, the Seahawks have a great secondary but the game plan shouldn’t change because of that.

The Saints have a great quarterback in Drew Brees and some talented wide receivers they need to utilize early and often in order to win. Next the Saints need to stop Marshawn Lynch, better known has “Beastmode.” Lynch is a powerhouse that can wear a team out quickly. The Saints need to stop him and frustrate him throughout the game. Lastly, the Saints need to put the pressure on Russell Wilson. Wilson is a talented quarterback but he is still young and will make mistakes. The Saints have to force him to make those mistakes and that starts with bringing pressure.

Seattle: The Seahawks are considered the best team in the NFC and many know why. They have a excellent rushing attack, their defense swarms the ball, and who could forget the “Legion of Boom.” Even though the Seahawks look to be the best, they face a difficult task this coming week. They face the high flying New Orleans Saints who could be a sleeper team in the NFC. The Seahawks are a favorite on paper but they need to focus on a few things if they want to win. First, make Drew Brees uncomfortable in the pocket. I said it last week and I will say it again, Brees is a pocket passer who hates to be forced to scramble and hates taking hit after hit.

The Seahawks must attack him from all angles. Next, take away their best target, Jimmy Graham. The Seahawks have a great secondary but the Saints have a ton of wide receivers who can produce, but they have to first stop Graham. Brees targets Graham more than any other receiver so it’s an important task to shutdown his favorite target. Last but not least, the 12th man needs to come alive. This usually isn’t a problem in Seattle but this is the playoffs and any help a team can get is important. The 12th man needs to be loud the entire game to get into the heads of Brees and the Saints.

What to Watch for

New Orleans: For the Saints, I am watching Mark Ingram. Ingram ran well versus the Eagles and was quite the difference maker. He faces a stout run defense this week but if he can average 5.4 yards a carry like he did versus the Eagles, the Saints will have a huge boost in their offense.

Seattle: For Seattle I am watching the “Legion of Boom.” They are a talented group of players and need to shutdown the wide receivers. The Saints are best when they are throwing so the Legion should get tested often and I am watching to see who will win the battle.

Prediction

Just like last week this one is going to be close. Both teams are very talented and both have good defenses. It truly comes down to which defense can cause more turnovers. Once again I am going with the favorite, the Seahawks. The Saints just aren’t a road team and last week they barely won. With a much louder crowd and a better team I have a hard time seeing the Saints win again.

Final Score: Seattle 24 New Orleans 20