By Matthew Asher
Both the New Orleans Saints and the Seattle Seahawks will be well-rested for their Week 13 match-up. This might be the game to decide the top seed in the NFC for the playoffs, as the 10-1 Seahawks are coming off their Bye Week and the 9-2 Saints played in last week’s Thursday night game.
Strength against strength
To quote the late Gorilla Monsoon, this should be a battle of “the irresistible force meeting the immovable object” as both teams rank in the Top 5 in not just scoring offense, but also score preventing defense.
This is one of those games where it very might come down to whoever has the final possession in the game has the best chance to win. Seattle has the slight advantage as far as rankings go in both scoring categories. New Orleans scores 27.7 points a game and gives up just 17.8, the 3rd and 5th best, respectively, while Seattle puts up 27.8 points a game against just 16.3 on defense, the 2nd best in both categories.
Limit the Saints passing attack
About 76 percent of the Saints 415 yards of offense each game comes through the air. The 317.3 passing yards each game is the third most in the league. Drew Brees has completed 68.3 percent of his throws for more than 3,600 yards, 28 touchdowns and just eight interceptions for a ridiculous quarterback rating of 107.3.
Tight end Jimmy Graham leads the team in receptions, yards and touchdowns with 65, 946 and 11, respectively. Running backs Pierre Thomas and Darren Sproles are second and third on the team regarding receiving stats. The two backs have combined for 104 catches, 869 yards and five touchdowns. Marques Colston is the top wide receiver for New Orleans with 43 grabs, 569 yards and two touchdowns.
Run the ball down New Orleans throat
New Orleans has a lock-down passing defense. Surrendering just 198 passing yards a game, only the Houston Texans and the Seahawks give up fewer yards through the air. The one thing New Orleans has trouble doing is stopping the ground game of their opponents.
Seattle has the third best rushing offense in the league, averaging 147.9 yards on the ground each game. New Orleans still ranks in the top half of the league at run prevention, but the 111.9 yards given up ranks them at 14. A healthy dose of Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch running the football should give Seattle the best chance to win their 11th game of the season.
With the season winding down, whoever wins this game is in the driver’s seat regarding the No. 1 seed in the NFC standings. A win by the Saints ties them with Seattle as far as records go, but if both teams win out from there, New Orleans gets the nod because of the head-to-head match-up. A win by Seattle and they essentially have a three game lead with just four games left in the season. The Monday Night match-up is scheduled for a 5:30 pm PDT kickoff time.
For more Seahawks news and updates, visit Seahawks Central.
Matthew Asher is a freelance journalist. From an early age, sports have played a major role in his life. He graduated from Emory University with a B.A. in Journalism. After college he spent 2 years working with CNN Sports and still occasionally writes sports articles for several publications both in the United States and Canada. His work can be found on Examiner.com.