Several years later, it’s still a tale of a high-powered offense meeting a stellar defense when the New Orleans Saints and Seattle Seahawks clash on Sunday. Three straight meetings have found Pete Carroll’s squad on the winning end, as the Seahawks have won two playoff matchups and a regular season Monday Night Football game in which they dominated.
However, those were all in Seattle. Believe it or not, Week 8’s game will only mark the sixth time Seattle comes to town since their franchise was established in 1976. The last time the Seahawks visited New Orleans in 2010 saw the Saints as 34-19 victors. Naturally, a lot has changed since then.
Here’s a few areas that will be key to a Saints victory.
Controlling the Seahawks pass rush
Cliff Avril comes to town red-hot, as his last three games have produced 4.5 sacks, 10 QB hits, two tackles for loss, two pass breakups, and two forced fumbles. Right tackle Zach Strief will have the task of guarding against arguably the Seahawks best pass-rusher on Sunday.
He’s done pretty well this season for a guy that many fans were fed up with last season. The 33-year-old veteran has been among the team’s Top 5 graded offensive players in each of the team’s six games this season. He has a tall order on Sunday, and we just hope this isn’t the game he chooses to break down in.
- Week 1 - 80.3 (3rd)
- Week 2 - 78.0 (3rd)
- Week 3 - 79.6 (1st)
- Week 4 - 83.8 (3rd)
- Week 6 - 79.5 (4th)
- Week 7 - 74.7 (5th)
The Saints, mainly a hobbled Terron Armstead, caught a major break by not having to face Michael Bennett (knee). Both Andrus Peat and Senio Kelemete are questionable entering tomorrow’s game, and the offensive line needs them. The fact is the Seahawks have 20.0 team sacks (T-3rd) heading into this game, and the Saints offensive line has been pretty consistent in protecting Drew Brees. It’ll obviously be one of the major focal points for this game.
Getting after Russell Wilson
The Seahawks offensive line has allowed 11 sacks and 40 quarterback hits on Russell Wilson to this season. In last week’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs, the Saints only managed three hits on Alex Smith after 13 on Cam Newton the week before. This is a game where the Saints really need Cameron Jordan and the Saints pass rush to elevate their game against a porous Seahawks line.
Wilson is already dealing with a few injuries, and is playing despite being banged up. Dennis Allen’s defense is at the bottom of the barrel in the NFL with their 9.0 sacks (T-28th), but have been able to be a bit more efficient at getting to the quarterback with their 38 QB hits through 6 games.
As bad as the Seahawks offense has been this season, this can’t be the game you let them break out and go off. Of course, don’t forget the whole Jimmy Graham coming to town storyline.
Brees, BMW finding holes in the Legion of Boom
No Kam Chancellor is a big gift for the Saints in Week 8, but they’ll still have their hands full with an extremely talented Seahawks secondary. Brandin Cooks, Michael Thomas, and Willie Snead have helped Drew Brees average 421.3 passing yards per game at home. However, according to research the Seahawks have been the NFL’s top passing defense since Pete Carroll arrived in 2010.
The Saints wide receivers have been exceptional and fairly consistent all season, and this could be a game where the route-running and timing needs to be perfect. I know Sean Payton will want to keep things honest by attempting to establish a run game with Mark Ingram, and it worked last week against the Chiefs.
As he has been, Brees will need to be meticulous in his decision-making. Aside the 34-7 2013 Monday Night Football massacre in Seattle, Brees has had success against the Seahawks and isn’t afraid to throw it.
- 1/11/14 - 24-of-43 (55.8 percent), 309 yards, TD, sack
- 12/2/13 - 23-of-38 (60.5 percent), 147 yards, TD, sack, fumble
- 1/8/11 - 39-of-60 (65 percent), 404 yards, 2TD, sack
- 11/21/10 - 29-of-43 (67.4 percent), 382 yards, 4TD, 2INT