And just because top-10 lists are so overdone, I'm going to give you the top 12 reasons why the Seahawks are going to beat, defeat and maybe even pummel the Saints:
12) The Seahawks have a big emotional intangible working in their favor. Everyone across the country is mocking them, saying that a 7-9 team does not deserve to be in the playoffs, let alone host a first-round game. If I'm a player on the team, I'm thinking: "Is that right? Well, we'll see about that." This is a unifying force that more than compensates for a disparity in talent.
11) Amazing that I can come up with 12 reasons why the Seahawks will beat, defeat and maybe even pummel the Saints, but I can't come up with a single reason why they shouldn't play with a reckless abandon. The Seahawks are expected to lose, so there's no reason to be tight -- they're in a terrific position to cut it loose. All of the pressure is on the Saints -- what's worse than being the worst team in playoff history? Losing to that team.
10) Technically they're still the Super Bowl champs, but they're not that team anymore. They don't have the NFL's No. 1 offense, and they're almost as bad as the Seahawks on the ground at 28th, averaging 94.9 yards a game. Among their five defeats were losses to the Browns and Cardinals. Listen, if you can lose to Max Hall and the Cardinals, you can lose to the Seahawks.
9) Because of injuries to Pierre Thomas and Chris Ivory, Julius Jones will be the Saints' starting running back. I don't understand why Bush, for one game at least, would not be your featured back, but ESPN's John Clayton says it's because the Heisman Trophy winner and giver-backer can't run between the tackles. To which the Go 2 Guy says -- neither can Jones. It's not like the Seahawks' run defense is all that salty, but based on what you saw from Jones in Seattle, do you really think he'll make much of an impact on Saturday? Neither do I, and if the Saints can't generate a running game, it will make it much more difficult on Drew Brees.
8) Speaking of Brees, he's probably reason No. 1 on the list of why the Saints will drill the Seahawks, but he's No. 8 on this list, mainly because he hasn't been his usually sharp self this season. Make no mistake, I love this guy. Seattle reporters got a chance to talk to him during a conference call earlier this year, and I asked him the usual assortment of impertinent questions, including one about opening a Jimmy John's sandwich shop in New Orleans.
Last summer I saw Brees on the Jay Leno show, saying that the No. 9 Jimmy John's sandwich with peppers was his favorite, and I thought, what the heck, I'll have to try it, so the next day I stopped by the Renton Jimmy John's, and he's right, the No. 9, an Italian Night Club, is damn good.
He lived off of Jimmy John's No. 9's when he was at Purdue and always thought it would be cool to open a shop of his own in New Orleans, which he did a few months ago.
So we're on this conference call talking sandwiches, and I was just about to tell him that my daughter, the Go 2 Girl, works at the Jimmy John's in Pullman when a more respected journalist asked him, egads, a football question, interrupting what had been an otherwise entertaining conversation.
At any rate, for whatever reason -- coach Sean Payton thinks it has a lot to do with the Saints' dreadful run game -- Brees has thrown 22 interceptions this year, at least one in each of his last 12 games. Against the Seahawks, he was picked off by David Hawthorne and Earl Thomas. Expect the trend to continue on Saturday.
7) As a burned-out cynical sportswriter, I will never be "all in" with Pete Carroll, but I'm pretty sure if I were a Seahawks player, I would love him to death. I can't think of a better coach to fire up the troops in an "us against the world" game like this than him.
6) I was listening to "Mike and Mike in the Morning" the other day, and one of the Mikes said that on his list of first-round playoff quarterbacks that he had the most confidence in, Hasselbeck ranked eighth and dead last. (I'm guessing Whitehurst was 8B.) I presume that he based this on the simple fact that every other quarterback on the list is better than Hasselbeck, which is more than fair, though I don't know, would you rate Kansas City's Matt Cassel ahead of Hasselbeck? You would? Never mind.
The thing is, I understand that Hasselbeck has been slightly turnover-prone in his last four games, but he still went 32 for 44 for 366 yards against the Saints, suggesting good things are possible in the rematch. Another promising sign -- Brandon Stokley, who had six catches for 76 yards against the Saints and has a knack for making first-down catches, is recovering from a concussion and should play this week.
5) Dove-tailing off of reason No. 6, safety Malcolm Jenkins probably will not play because of a knee injury. I'm not going to act like I know a darn thing about Jenkins when I don't, but my ears perked up when I heard Cris Collinsworth say on the NBC Sunday night broadcast that it would be a huge blow to the Saints if Jenkins can't play against the Seahawks because he's the leader of their defense. Clayton said that Jenkins is a Pro Bowl-caliber player. So I'm putting 2 and 2 and even 1 and 3 together and thinking, well, if that's the case, that should make the Saints' secondary more vulnerable to Jeremy Bates' vertical passing game.
Shoot holes in that one if you want, but I also like the fact that the Saints aren't one of the sack-happiest teams in the league. They registered 33 sacks this year, or around two a game. That being the case, I like Hasselbeck's chances even more to have a productive day. His lack of mobility compared to Whitehurst should not hurt him against the Saints.
4) More problems for Brees. Who exactly is he going to throw to? All right, Lance Moore, but who else? Marques Colston had arthroscopic surgery to remove loose cartilage from his knee 10 days ago and just returned to practice on Wednesday. He's terrific but can't possibly be 100 percent. And the top three tight ends -- Jimmy Graham, Jeremy Shockey and David Thomas -- either missed practice this week or were limited.
3) Miscellaneous problems for the Saints…the long road trip on a short week to Seattle; preparing to play against two different quarterbacks all week and not knowing what to expect; and temperatures in the low 40s with a 40 percent chance of showers, less than ideal conditions for a dome team.
2) The Saints are fourth in the league in total defense but just 16th against the run, prompting the thought that maybe the Seahawks can keep it going on the ground after rushing for 119 yards in the second half against the Rams. Just give me enough Beast Mode and Priest Mode from Marshawn Lynch and Justin Forsett to keep those Saints linebackers honest. And while you're at it, Coach Pete, give me a liberal sprinkling of Leon Washington in your backfield -- he's your No. 1 play-maker! Get him on the field as much as possible.
1) The No. 1 reason why the Seahawks will beat, defeat and maybe even pummel the Saints -- Qwest Field. There have been other deafening games here, but I'm thinking this one will approach and perhaps overtake the ear-piercer of all-time against Carolina in the 2005 NFC Championship Game. The 12th man should be well-lubricated and ready to go. Seahawks' fans will be a disruptive force all game long. I'm thinking the crescendo starts with Walter Jones raising the 12th Man flag and, three hours later, builds to a roar after a shocking Seahawks' win.
SEAHAWKS 27, SAINTS 21
Here's a prediction: Seahawks will beat Saints
Posted January 07, 2011 - 08:17 AM
All About Tha NW
Posted January 07, 2011 - 11:32 AM
But then I heard the seahawks are gonna start Hassleback and not Charlie Whitehurst and I second guessed my pick.
imo Whitehurst>Hassleback and Seahawks upset. If they go with Hassleback hes good for atleast 2 turnovers that will equate to N.O. points.
Edited by LakersGAFan, January 07, 2011 - 11:32 AM.
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