As Week 11 nears the Seattle Seahawks hold a full game advantage in the loss column over the New Orleans Saints in the race for home field advantage in the NFC. The Seahawks are 9-1 for the first time in franchise history and sit two games ahead of the division rival San Francisco 49ers in the loss column after the Carolina Panthers dropped the Niners 10-9 Sunday. That win by the Panthers put the Seahawks in a great position. They can be far from perfect over the final six games and still nail down the NFC West title and the top seed in the conference. Suggesting they are in the driver’s seat is a massive understatement.
While the Hawks are preparing for the 2-7 Minnesota Vikings, who bring Adrian Peterson to CenturyLink this Sunday, the No. 2 seed Saints host those same 49ers in the matchup of the weekend. Provided they take care of their own business, the Seahawks gain ground on one of their biggest competitors no matter who wins at the Superdome.
If the Saints prevail — and they are 5-0 at home in 2013 — the 49ers drop to 6-4 on the year and would need to beat Seattle December 8 and get help from the Saints on December 2, and then two of the Giants, Cardinals and Rams to end the season. Yes, if the Saints win Sunday over San Francisco, the Seattle Seahawks would need to lose four of their final five to lose the division to the Niners.
If the Saints beat San Francisco and the Seahawks beat New Orleans on Monday Night Football in three weeks — coming off their bye week — Seattle would then be 11-1 and hold a two-game lead on the Saints for the No. 1 seed.
The Saints’ schedule down the stretch is not easy, either. While Pete Carroll’s clan heads to East Rutherford to play the New York Giants and then host the Cardinals and Rams to finish out the regular season, the Saints play surging Carolina twice in three weeks, and a date with St. Louis on the road in between, where Jeff Fischer has his Rams playing pretty well right now.
If Week 13 hits with such a scenario at hand, the Seahawks would need one Saints loss or two wins over the final four weeks to clinch home field advantage throughout the NFC Playoffs. It would earn them a first-round bye, and guarantee them exactly zero trips outside the city of Seattle for six weeks. Oddly, the Hawks’ visit East Rutherford December 15 to play the Giants and with home field advantage would not hit the road again until the Super Bowl — again at East Rutherford, New Jersey’s MetLife Stadium — a six-week span.
Considering the fact that the Niners, the defending NFC Champions, have the more favorable schedule plus a meeting on their home field with the Seahawks, this Sunday’s Saints game is one Seahawks fans should be pulling for the home team. A Niners win makes their December 8 matchup with Seattle a crucial game for both teams. A Saints win this Sunday renders that game darned near meaningless.
Russell Wilson has never lost at CenturyLink Field. The team is getting healthy, starting this week with the activation of wide receiver Percy Harvin and the expected return of center Max Unger, right tackle Breno Giacomini, left tackle Russell Okung and defensive end Red Bryant, and they are coming off their best performance in weeks, a 33-10 thrashing on the road versus the Atlanta Falcons.
All is rosy in Seahawks land, the chance it gets even rosier is a better bet than the contrary. It all starts with taking care of their own business and securing home field advantage throughout the playoffs and forcing San Francisco, New Orleans, Carolina and anyone else who makes it through the Wild Card and divisional rounds to travel to Seattle and face the 12th Man.
– Jason A. Churchill, 1090 The Fan
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