It’s never easy to beat a team twice in the same season, which is the task at hand for the Seattle Seahawks this weekend.
The Seahawks (13-3) play New Orleans (12-5) this weekend in the NFC divisional round of the playoffs, just six weeks after dominating the Saints 34-7 in a Monday night game at CenturyLink Field.
Don’t expect the Seahawks to roll over the Saints this time. The Saints got behind 17-0 in the first quarter of the Monday night game and never recovered as the NFL’s best home field advantage began to become overwhelming.
Two blowout victories against the same opponent is a rarity in the NFL. This season they failed to sweep in two of three matchups against NFC West division opponents, beating St. Louis in both games, but splitting the two games with Arizona and San Francisco.
The Saints will take the field in Seattle with a renewed confidence and after a 26-24 last second win at Philadelphia. The first road victory in a playoff game in Saints franchise history.
Although Drew Brees didn’t play great against Philadelphia, the veteran quarterback was almost perfect in the second half, completing all nine passes he threw. The fact that he threw only nine passes was the key. The Saints achieved success running the football as Mark Ingram ran for 97 yards, the second-best rushing total in his career, backup rookie running back Khiry Robinson even rushed for 45 yards on just 8 carries.
The Saints’ running game was shut down by the Seahawks earlier this season in Seattle when New Orleans had 44 yards on 17 carries. That number is skewed, as the Saints were forced to abandon the running game when they got behind early.
The New Orleans defense also did a nice job Saturday night against LeSean McCoy, the NFL’s leading rusher. McCoy only had 77 yards on 21 carries.
The Saints also did a good job against Marshawn Lynch last month, holding the Seahawks running back to 45 yards on 16 carries. That will be the key to this weekend’s matchup. If the Saints can stop Lynch and force Russell Wilson to win the game then they have a good chance of pulling off the upset.
Don’t expect another blowout. All indications are the Saints will make this game a lot tougher than the first game.