NFC Playoffs: The Saints Go Marching Into The 12th Man Territory


Last week the New Orleans Saints went into Philadelphia and barely beat the Eagles 26-24. Drew Brees had 250 passing yards but the real MVP was running back Mark Ingram who rushed for 97 of the Saints’ 185 rushing yards. Leading the way for the running backs are pro bowl guards Jahri Evans and Ben Grubbs.

Drew Brees had another magnificent season as he threw for 5,162 yards and 39 touchdowns, each of those was second best in the league behind Peyton Manning. Brees’ main weapon is tight end Jimmy Graham who had 1,215 receiving yards and 16 touchdown catches. A surprise weapon is Kenny Stills who averaged 20 yards per catch on the season.

Mark Ingram wasn’t the only good back. Pierre Thomas and Darren Sproles were both impressive this season not only running the ball, but also catching it. Thomas finished with 642 yards after the catch, which is good for best in the NFL while Sproles finished ninth with 507 yards after the catch.

The Saints defense which is led by defensive coordinator Rob Ryan catches a break this week as it looks like Keenan Lewis will be able to play after suffering a head injury in last week’s playoff game. Cameron Jordan finished fifth in the league with 12.5 sacks. In last week’s playoff game he sacked Nick Foles 1.5 times.

Punter Thomas Morstead is eighth in the league with a 46.9 punt average. The Saints will need to control field position if they are going to have any chance against the Seahawks.

Russell Wilson has never lost a home game in the NFL. He is very efficient, with the league’s seventh best pass rating, but he is also surrounded by many great defenders.The Seahawks defense does not give up very many yards. This season, they allowed the fewest passing yards and the seventh fewest rushing yards. Cornerback Richard Sherman led the league with eight interceptions and was named a first team All-Pro. Joining him on the All-Pro team is safety Earl Thomas. On the second team is another safety, Kam Chancellor. Joining them is Byron Maxwell, who has had four interceptions in the last four weeks. He is quickly becoming another great Seahawk defender.

The big story this week is that Percy Harvin is practicing and is going to play this week after appearing in only one game this season due to injuries.

Marshawn Lynch has had another great season. He ran for 1,257 yards and led the league with 12 rushing touchdowns.

The Seahawks have one of the best special teams units in the league between Golden Tate and Steven Hauschka. Tate ranked second in the NFL with 585 punt return yards on an 11.5 average. Hauschka ranked second in the league with a 94.3 field goal percentage.

I think that the Seahawks should win this game without a problem because of how dominant they have been at home. The Saints were destroyed the previous time they played Seattle this year. The game will get away from the Saints very quickly if they start the game with a few turnovers.

You can follow Thomas Frey on Twitter: @ThomasFreyRP

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