New Orleans at Seattle (4:30 p.m. ET, NBC): To what might be your great surprise, the 7-9 Seahawks actually have a few things going for them. Qwest Field is still one of the hardest places for visitors to win in, and traveling 2,100 miles from New Orleans to Seattle on just six days’ rest is no easy task. The Saints also have won just one postseason game away from home in their 44-year history: last year’s Super Bowl in Miami.
Finally, New Orleans is all sorts of banged up. Both Chris Ivory and Pierre Thomas are ailing, Marques Colston’s status is unknown, and safety/corner Malcolm Jenkins was injured in Sunday’s loss to the Buccaneers. If the Saints entered last year’s playoff run fully loaded, they’re a car working on just three wheels for this one.
But even with all those elements working in the Seahawks’ favor, I don’t think they stand a chance. Whether it’s Charlie Whitehurst or Matt Hasselbeck at quarterback for Seattle, Drew Brees is about to go into the same “Black Swan” mode he was in for last year’s Super Bowl run and start tearing defenses apart. Consider yourselves warned, Seahawks defensive backs.
The Vegas sports books list the Seahawks as 10.5-point underdogs. I would like the Saints to bury them early and win by an even greater margin. Which will lead to an interesting thought to ponder: Had the Seahawks lost Week 17 vs. the Rams, they would have had the eighth overall pick in the draft and been in prime position to pick one of the top three quarterback prospects. With the win, they moved down to the 21st spot and likely won’t have a shot at Jake Locker, Cam Newton or Ryan Mallett. If they lose by 20 on Saturday, was that Week 17 win really worth it?
Any football fan worth his or her salt would slap me in the face and say “Yes, yes, yes, you idiot.” But … it’s at least worth debating during the second half of this blowout.