The New Orleans Saints, fresh off a bye, will host the Seattle Seahawks. The Seahawks are coming off a 36-18 win over the Arizona Cardinals, while the Saints last beat the Carolina Panthers, 34-3. The Saints come into this game well rested and ready to play, and that should help them win this game.
New Orleans had the run of the division in 2009, but this year things are different. Both the Falcons and the Buccaneers are playing good football and the Falcons may be the top team in the NFC right now. Can the Saints change that by winning out and taking their division back from the Falcons?
Beating the Seahawks would be a great way to gain better position in the division and regain their dominance. Seattle could also be just the right team for the Saints at this time.
So who will win? How will they win and why will they win?
Let’s find out in this extended preview of the Saints vs. the Seahawks game this Sunday in New Orleans.
When the Saints Have the Ball
The Saints offense started to get back on track during their last two games and should be even better with running back Reggie Bush returning to the lineup. In their three losses this season, it was evident that the lack of a solid running game (which they had last season) hurt them, so with Bush returning, hopefully the opposing defense takes that threat to heart and doesn’t put so much pressure on Brees.
The Saints are averaging about 93 yards on the ground this season and are sure to get more with Bush returning to the lineup. Seattle is allowing teams an average of 104 yards per game, so that works out pretty well for the Saints.
Of course, the Saints passing game has always been their bread and butter, and in recent games, their passing attack has flourished. New Orleans is averaging around 276 yards per game and that number is only going to increase as the season goes on. So far in 2010, Brees has attempted 374 passes, completing 261 for 2,587 yards with 18 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.
Brees’ interception total is up, but without a good running game for most of the season, Brees was forced to try to do too much and had to take some chances. He has worked hard to eliminate those mistakes and has succeeded in the last two games.
The Seahawks are letting teams gain 272 yards per game through the air, so this should suit the Saints just fine. Look for the Saints to pass early and often to build a lead and take the Seahawks out of the game early.
When Seattle Has the Ball
Seattle has been hot and cold on offense this season, but is starting to find a little bit of a groove. They are still manned at quarterback by Matt Hasselbeck, who has thrown 270 passes with 157 completions for 1,744 yards, seven touchdowns and seven interceptions. It’s possible that the Seahawks could use backup Charlie Whitehurst if things get out of hand.
Seattle is averaging around 200 yards through the air per game. The Saints defense is allowing teams to gain 165 yards per game. The New Orleans defense has also collected 19 sacks on the season and has been able to get some good pressure on opposing quarterbacks. Seattle has allowed opponents to get to the quarterback 24 times, so the Seahawks have had some trouble protecting their quarterbacks.
Can the Saints take advantage of this? They should be able to with the kind of pass rush that they have developed over the last couple games. Look for them to try to get some pressure with their defensive line, and their blitz at times as well. They have to keep the Seahawks passing game from beating them.
When it comes to running the ball, the Seahawks rushing attack is lead by both Justin Forsett and Marshawn Lynch. Seattle is getting 86 yards on the ground per game, which isn’t cutting it for this team. The Saints are allowing teams to gain 110 yards per game on the ground, so Seattle may be able to find some running room Sunday.
Special teams have come back to bite the Saints at times this season, and if this is a close game and they need their kicker to come through, then they will be hoping that happens. The Seahawks have great return units and their primary return specialist, Leon Washington, is as dangerous as they come. His returns can not only give Seattle good field position, but he is a threat to break a long return and score.
On paper, it would appear that the Saints have a considerable edge in this game. They have the better offense, their defense is better and they are playing at home. The Seahawks are definitely a better team than they appear to be and have surprised several people this season. Their head coach, Pete Carroll, is an inspirational leader and will have his team ready.
The Saints know that they have to win this game to keep pace with the Falcons for the lead in the division. New Orleans will be well rested coming off a bye, and this will help them out in this game.
New Orleans will have their passing game going and their defense up to the task. As long as they don’t make any special teams mistakes and don’t allow Hasselbeck to work some of his old magic and lead the Seahawks to a win in this game, they should do well.
The Saints are well rested, playing at home and eager to get back into the lead in their division, so they will be ready for this game. Look for them to win this game and keep pace with the Falcons for the lead in their division and a playoff spot at the end of the season.
New Orleans 28, Seattle 17