Beyond The Mic: Saints Versus Seahawks Prediction From Objective Standpoint
Do you make sports predictions with your heart, or with your head? If you're a die-hard sports fan, it's with your head. I'm a die-hard Saints fan, and have been my whole life. Having said that, I'm also a sports broadcaster. To be taken seriously, I must be objective behind the mic. It didn’t come natural at first, but after a decade of hosting a sports talk show, it’s the only way I know how to operate…on the mic.
Off the mic, as a fan, I can be superstitious, eat Popeyes, be completely irrational, and of course, fanatical.
Objectively, I don't think the Saints will win tomorrow in Seattle against the Seahawks. Back on December 2nd, the Seahawks embarrassed the Saints 34-7 on Monday night football. Is that indicative of what will happen tomorrow? No. The Saints played their worst game ever under coach Sean Payton, and the ball bounced Seattle's way all night. Even tossing that loss aside, it's still a daunting task for the Saints to advance to their third NFC Championship in the last 8 seasons.
Will the Saints run the ball the way they did in last week's win against the Eagles? Probably not. New Orleans offensive line dominated Philadelphia, pushing them off the line all night. It's also worth noting that the Eagles played a nickle defense for the majority of their defensive snaps. Remember the Saints divisional playoff win against the Cardinals back in the Super Bowl season? Me too. I was there, acting anything but objective, and screaming my head off. Reggie Bush was electric, rushing the ball only 5 times for 84 yards and a score (he also returned a punt for a TD). What kind of defense was he running against? The nickle. New Orleans ran for 171 yards that day, winning 45-14. Brees was solid on the day, tossing 3 touchdowns, but he only throw for 247 yards. After the win, I heard a lot of, "It's about time Reggie ran the ball like that," and "Why don't we run like that all the time?" Seattle has the NFL's #1 ranked defense, and are particularly potent at home.
Do they Saints need to run the ball like they did last week? Absolutely. If Mark Ingram and Khiry Robinson grind out a 5 and a half yard average again, the Saints can control the time of possession, protect the football, slightly quiet down the raucous Seahawk crowd, and escape with a victory. Ultimately, more pressure will be on Drew Brees in this one. He's thrown 2 interceptions in his last 3 road games, the first time he's done so in his career. Tomorrow, he'll need to be crisp in conditions that aren't conducive to airing it out. The current forecast tomorrow in Seattle looks like this. 25 mph winds, 100% chance of rain, 100% precipitation, 89% humidity, and temperatures that feel like 41 degrees.
Defensively, the Saints ran into the buzzsaw that is Russell Wilson 38 days ago. It was arguably the best performance of his career. However, the last 5 weeks, Seattle's offense hasn't looked great. Are they just bored? I hope note, but the bottomline is the Seahawks offense have not come close to reaching the level they showed in early December against the Saints. New Orleans defense was awesome against Philadelphia, shutting down the Eagles top ranked rushing attack. The Seahawks are 4th in the league in rushing, and the Saints committed to Marshawn Lynch. It worked. In their matchup, Lynch rushed on 45 yards on 16 carries. It was Russell who burned them on the air and on the ground. Can the Saints duplicate their performance against Lynch, and rattle Wilson? They'll have to jump ahead in this matchup, or at the very least, keep it close. Getting down by double digits early would be catastrophic for the Saints gameplan tomororw, much like it was on that nasty Monday night.
Objectively, I think the Saints will keep it much closer. It won't be an embarrassing blowout. Sean Payton knows how to motivate his club, and get them prepped for a matchup like this. Will it be enough? Objectively, I just can't say yes.
Prediction: Seahawks 28 Saints 20
For the record, I feel completely different fanatically. How different? Check out my superstitious plans for tomorrow, as well as my fanatical prediction. Click here.