Seahawks vs. Saints: Pressure's On the Saints In the NFC Wild Card Game

James Brown@@chasingballgameSenior Analyst IJanuary 8, 2011

GLENDALE, AZ - NOVEMBER 14:  Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck #8 of the Seattle Seahawks drops back to pass with his left wrist wrapped after injuring it in the game with the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium on November 14, 2010 in Glendale, Arizona. Seattle won 36-18. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Facing constant scrutiny over a 7-9 record, the Seahawks are getting continuous grief about making the 2011 NFL postseason.

The Seahawks won their division on the last day of the regular season by beating the St. Louis Rams and will host a playoff game despite the fact the Saints won 11 games.

The Seahawks became the first team in the history of the NFL to be crowned division champions with a losing record in the regular season.

That is just one of the many reasons why no one in the world believes that the Seahawks have a chance to advance in the NFL post season.

It comes as no surprise that online sportsbook BetRevolution has the Seahawks listed as double-digit underdogs. The Saints are 10.5-point favorites in the first game of the NFL playoffs against the disrespected Birds.

The Seattle Seahawks have nothing to lose against the Saints. No one expects them to win this game or even keep it close. If they lose by 30 points, no one will even notice and the cry to keep teams with losing records out of the playoffs will get louder.

This could play right into the hands of the Seahawks.

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They have no pressure to win this game and there are a few reasons that they can make this game closer than most people think.

Seattle has the loudest outdoor stadium in the NFL, and the crowd can often affect the visiting team and be responsible for a few false start penalties at the least. Qwest Field can be a house of horrors for opposing signal callers looking to audible.

If the Seahawks score early and keep the crowd interested, they will be a factor in this game.

Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck gets the start for the Seahawks and he brings experience playing in the postseason with a 3-1 record in his last four playoff starts. The Saints beat the Seahawks in the regular season, 34-19, but Hasselbeck was 32-of-44 for 366 yards, the most yards allowed by New Orleans at that point in the season.

The Saints have a short week to go to the west coast and play their third game in 12 days. The Saints will not be in the comfort of the dome and have had difficulties winning on the road in the postseason in the past, as they are 0-3 on the road in the playoffs.

To make matters worse for the Saints they are down to just two healthy ball carriers in the backfield.

Running backs Reggie Bush and Julius Jones will be the only backs at the Saints disposal for this game. While the Saints strength is the passing game, without a running game, the Seahawks defense can focus purely on the pass and challenge the Saints to run the ball.

Jones and Bush are both vulnerable to the fumble and the Seahawks could take advantage of a loose ball.

Before laying the 10.5 points with the defending champions, consider some of these sports betting trends going against the Saints: The Saints are 2-6 against the spread (ATS) in their last eight games as a favorite of 10.5 or greater and 1-8 ATS in the last nine games against teams with a losing record.

The football world is counting out Seattle, providing motivation for a team that is not supposed to keep this game close.

Matt Regaw is a B/R Featured Columnist and the founder of BookieBlitz.com, your one-stop shop for sports articles, previews and predictions. Feel free to contact Matt at mregaw@gmail.com.

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