Here’s our weekly First Look at Seattle’s upcoming opponent.
Seahawks opponent: New Orleans
Game time: 5:40 p.m. Pacific Time, Monday, CenturyLink Field
Coach: Sean Payton 71-36, seventh season.
Last game: Beat Atlanta 17-13.
The series: The Saints lead it 6-5 and have won the last two, including a 34-19 win in New Orleans in 2010, Pete Carroll’s first year as Seattle’s coach. That series record does not include Seattle’s memorable 41-36 win over the Saints in the divisional playoffs later that season.
The early line: Seahawks by 5.5.
Key players: The Saints continue to revolve around the passing of quarterback Drew Brees (above in an Associated Press photo), a 13-year veteran who remains one of the best in the NFL. Brees has completed 300 passes, the most in the NFL, out of 439, the second most. His passer rating of 107.3 is No. 4 in the NFL, just ahead of the 105.1 of Seattle’s Russell Wilson. Brees’ favorite target is 6-7 receiver Jimmy Graham, who is tied for seventh in the NFL in receptions with 65. Running back Pierre Thomas is a dual threat with 486 yards rushing and 406 receiving on 56 receptions. Former Seahawk linebacker David Hawthorne is second on the team in tackles with 61 while defensive end Cameron Jordan is tied for seventh in sacks with 9.5.
New Orleans’ keys to success: Brees and the passing game is the biggest key to the Saints’ offensive success —New Orleans throws for 317.3 yards per game, No. 2 in the NFL. And Brees gets solid protection, sacked just 23 times in 439 attempts, the sixth-most in the NFL. The Saints average just 3.9 yards per rush but have at times shown the ability to run the ball. The Saints have been improved on defense this year under first-year coordinator Rob Ryan, turning into an aggressive unit that is tied for the NFL lead in sacks with 37. Saints also No. 8 in pass defense and No. 15 in run defense, just ahead of Seattle, at 111.9 yards per game. Saints, though, are also allowing 4.8 yards per carry, 29th in the NFL.
BY THE NUMBERS
9 — New Orleans’ current winning streak when playing on Monday Night Football, the longest active streak in the NFL.
53-22 — Record since 2009, second in NFL behind the 57-17 of New England.
24-12 — Road record since 2009, best in the NFL.