After winning last week in Arizona, the 5-4 and first place Seattle Seahawks have nothing to lose this Sunday in New Orleans.
They take on a Saints team that seems to have overcome their Super Bowl hangover and is hoping to get one of its offensive weapons back in time for the game. But since Seattle took care of business in the desert last week the pressure is off. This is a game they can kick and not have it derail their playoff aspirations.
Now, nobody would suggest to an NFL team that they don’t have to worry about winning and to just take it easy. The contrary is in play here. Since they won a big game last week, and are huge underdogs against a team with more talent, they can play loose. This is a week to just let it all hang out, play free, take gambles, and see where the cards fall. They may fall flat on their face, but so what. This was a game that most fans, pundits, and maybe some players circled as a loss before the season began. On paper this game is a mismatch, so why not pull out all the tricks you have?
The Seahawks have some things working for them Sunday. Matt Hasselbeck will play as his broken left wrist hasn’t bothered him in practice, and he is coming off his best game in two years. Their no-name, and in some cases no-talent, offensive line is coming off two solid games protecting the quarterback. In addition it appears that first round draft pick Russell Okung will return. In the limited time he has played this year they have shown an ability to run the ball that is non-existent without him. On the other side of the ball the run defense, with the return of Brandon Mebane, seemed to snap back to its normal self last week.
Then there are the Saints. The Saints lit up the league last year with a dazzling offense that could and would strike from anywhere on the field, and a defense full of ball hawks that always found a way to make a big play. This year their offense hasn’t quite been as potent and they have had trouble running the ball due to injuries. Pierre Thomas and Reggie Bush have missed most of the season, and the Saints have become desperate enough to give former Seahawk Julius Jones the ball. There is a good chance that Bush returns Sunday to an offense that in recent weeks seems to have found that spark on offense, and despite a poor history of coming off the bye week they have had two weeks to think about Seattle.
So Seattle has a chance, albeit a slim one. They will have to get the running game going and take time off the clock to keep Drew Brees and the Saints offense off the field. If Seattle gets into a pass happy shoot out with the Champs they will be doomed. Defensively, as every week, they need to get pressure on Brees to give the secondary a chance. The Superdome is a loud and raucous place – which the Hawks will have to contend with as well.
Nobody is giving Seattle a chance in this game and therefore they have nothing to lose. They will be competitive in this game through three quarters, but will succumb to the more talented Saints in the end. Drew Brees should be able to have a good day against an inconsistent Seattle pass defense and that could prove to be the difference.
New Orleans 27Â Seattle 17