The 2021-22 NFL regular season in is the books, and the NFL playoffs are underway. Unfortunately for the New Orleans Saints, the season ended on January 9, 2022, and our eyes now turn to the 2022-23 NFL season.
The Saints’ opponents for next regular season as well as the games’ venues have now all been disclosed, with the only missing information being the dates and times of the games. So, we now know that the Saints’ 2022 home opponents will as expected, include their division rivals (Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers). In addition, New Orleans will face the Los Angeles Rams, Seattle Seahawks, Cincinnati Bengals, Baltimore Ravens, Las Vegas Raiders and Minnesota Vikings. If you counted with me, yes, the Saints have nine home games in 2022. It remains to be seen whether one of these games will be played on a neutral site (such as London).
As we are in this new 17-game format in the NFL regular season, the Saints will play eight games on the road in 2022, their three divisional opponents as is customary, plus the Arizona Cardinals, Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers, San Francisco 49ers and Philadelphia Eagles.
In this top 10, we will focus on the appeal of the matchup. With most NFL squads far from being finalized for 2022, it would be difficult to assess all individual matchups at this point. However, we look at factors such as: teams that the Saints do not play very often, or teams that have prominent players with ties to either the Saints or the state of Louisiana.
At Number 10 in our matchups countdown was the game between the Saints and the Cleveland Browns, which you can read about here.
At Number 9 in our matchups countdown was the game between the Saints and the Arizona Cardinals, which you can read about here.
Today we focus on:
Number 8: The Seattle Seahawks (Road)
Doesn’t it seem like the Saints are always playing the Seahawks in Seattle? Well, it seems that way because it pretty much has been that way as of late: the upcoming 2022 meeting between the two teams will be the third consecutive road-game for New Orleans in the series, after matchups at CenturyLink/Lumen Field in 2019 and 2021. The last time the Seahawks played in New Orleans was back in week 8 of the 2016 NFL regular season.
The two franchises have met 17 times, with New Orleans holding a 9-8 series lead. The Saints have won the last three contests, including two in a row on the road. Seattle’s most famous win in the series came in the 2010 postseason, when the 7-9 Seahawks won a 41-36 home-playoff game against the 11-5 Super Bowl defending champions Saints, in what became known as the “Beast Quake” game in Seattle. Earlier that same year, the Saints had dismantled Seattle 34-19 in the Superdome.
The Seahawks reached the edge of their golden age a couple of seasons later, when they selected quarterback Russell Wilson in the third round of the 2012 NFL draft out of Wisconsin. While Wilson was a gifted college quarterback, his draft grade was significantly impacted by his height (5 ft 11 in), very much like former Saints’ quarterback Drew Brees. Despite the doubters, Wilson won the starting job in Seattle during his rookie season, beating out former LSU quarterback Matt Flynn whom most expected to become the starting quarterback for the Seahawks after they had signed him as a free agent from the Green Bay Packers. Wilson and the Seahawks reached the pinnacle of the NFL in 2013, winning Super Bowl XLVIII in a rout over the Denver Broncos. However, after losing Super Bowl XLIX in the 2014 season to the New England Patriots on the last play of the game (an interception by Wilson), Seattle’s dominance on the NFC slowly started to decline, and the Seahawks have not been back to the Big Dance since.
Seattle is now at a crossroads, with Wilson, now 33, expressing the desire to leave in free agency prior to the 2021 regular season, naming the Saints one of the teams he would accept a trade to (he has a full no-trade clause in his contract). Despite a 7-10 record in 2021 and no playoff appearance, Wilson recently expressed his wish to remain in Seattle and win more Super Bowls with head coach Pete Carroll, who is expected to be retained. However stranger things have happened in the NFL, and it would not be surprising to see the Seahawks ship Wilson out on draft day and undergo a full rebuild.
On the Saints’ side, with recent rumors swirling about Sean Payton potentially leaving the NFL sidelines for a hiatus year working on television, the appeal of the Saints for a top quarterback like Wilson might completely vanish. Saints and Seahawks could play in 2022 with a different head coach for New Orleans and a different quarterback for Seattle. But if things take a different turn, perhaps this game will see Russell Wilson play in Seattle with a Fleur de Lis on his helmet! Who wouldn’t tune in for that?
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