The Seahawks will beat the Saints, if you believe media that makes predictions on NFL games.
Virtually everywhere I looked – 45 of 48 of the media predictions I found – picked the Seahawks to win Saturday’s NFC Divisonal playoff game at CenturyLink. That includes all four of The Seattle Times’ staff. Even the New Orleans Times-Picayune staff lined up against the Saints. 4-1.
Despite that it’s hardly cut and dried. Almost everyone believes the game will be close – seven points or less.
Here’s a look at the predictions from around the country, with comments and links. Agree or disagree? Feel free to make your prediction in the comments section of this Take 2 blog post:
The Seattle Times
All four Times staffers pick the Seahawks to win a close game.
Seahawks, 20-16: New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees will play much better this time. The problem for the Saints is, so will Marshawn Lynch.
Seahawks, 20-13: Hard to imagine this will be a rout similar to Seattle’s 34-7 win over the Saints on Dec. 2. But Seattle has the best defense in the NFL and the home field.
Seahawks, 24-21: Not sure New Orleans can match Seattle’s physical style, but don’t expect the Saints to roll over like last time.
Seahawks, 28-21: New Orleans won’t be routed again, but Percy Harvin and the home crowd will give Seattle the boost it needs.
Seahawks 27, Saints 20. The only way for the Saints to win, I believe, is for Drew Brees to play relatively mistake-free, which he hasn’t done for the last three road games. He’s thrown two interceptions in each of the last three, lost two, and was bailed out by a strong second half last week in Philadelphia. But it’s clearly fixable; Sean Payton knows what works and what doesn’t for Brees, so I expect he’ll play better here. I just think Seattle has too many weapons for a beleaguered Saints secondary to handle.
Thirteen of 14 picked the Seahawks.
All seven pick the Seahawks
Early in the week, he’s going with the Seahawks over the New Orleans Saints in Seattle, the Patriots over the Indianapolis Colts in New England and the Panthers over the San Francisco 49ers at Carolina.
Four of five staffers picked the Seahawks,but the two Saints beat reporters split their votes.
Seahawks 24, Saints 20: Do I think the Saints have more of a shot to topple Seattle this time around? No doubt. But like my pick last week, when I took the Saints over the Eagles, I’m going with who I think is the better team. That’s the Seahawks.
Saints 28, Seahawks 27: Call me crazy on this one. The logical choice is the Seahawks after their 34-7 dismantling of the Saints earlier this season. And as Jahri Evans put it “this is not the Eagles we’re playing this week.” But I’m feeling a little more confident about the Saints’ chances after watching them get over their road woes last week. I think if the Saints can keep running the ball effectively and contain Russell Wilson, they can come out with a victory.
Nothing about this matchup, on paper at least, suggests the Saints have a shot. Drew Brees and Co. got blown out, 34-7, at ear-splitting CenturyLink Field on Monday Night Football last month. But you know why everyone loves the NFL? It doesn’t always follow a predictable script. Thirteen-win teams stumble. All-world secondaries get the hiccups. And massive underdogs prevail on a weekly basis in this league. Does it sound like I’m trying to convince myself of an upset? Perhaps. But I’ve just got this hunch that Saints’ fourth-ranked defense will keep it close and Sean Payton and Brees will find some answers against a Seahawks’ team that yielded a scant 14.4 points per game during the regular season. Crazy? Maybe. But I’m a man of conviction. Saints 20, Seahawks 17.
I liked the Saints to pull the road upset last week and I hit that one right. Can they do it again? I think not. New Orleans won in Philly by running the ball. The Saints usually travel by air but they kept it on the ground last week, rushing for 185 yards on 36 attempts. But the Eagles had the 29th-ranked defense this year. The Seahawks are numero uno in the NFL in defense and the Saints’ backs will find the going much tougher. New Orleans has a decent defense, too (ranked 4th) but you have to think that Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch and company will find a way to score enough points to win. Seahawks 21, Saints 13
Seven of nine picked the Seahawks, but John Breech went with the Saints.
This is going to sound weird, but I think the fact that New Orleans lost 34-7 to Seattle during the regular season is actually going to help the Saints. The crowd noise in Seattle is a huge factor, but now that the Saints have heard it, they know what they’re up against and they can adjust accordingly. As for Seattle’s 34-7 regular season win, statistically, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson played one of his best games of the season and Drew Brees played one of his worst. Basically, it was a perfect confluence of events that led to the blowout. As long as there’s no Beastquake in this game, I think New Orleans can pull off the upset. Saints 27-24 over Seahawks.
Seahawks 27, Saints 23
This season, everyone has fancied the Seahawks as contenders for the Lombardi Trophy. A big part of that is how well they play at home, where they’ve dropped one game this season after a perfect 8-0 run in 2012. The ‘Hawks have allowed 13.75 points per game at CenturyLink Field during the 2013 campaign, the best mark in the NFL. That includes just seven points from the Saints in Week 13. Can New Orleans do better this time around?
Sackless in Seattle: Sean Payton is not going to put Drew Brees in as tough a spot this weekend. Thus, don’t expect another strip-sack touchdown. Instead, count on New Orleans pounding the rock at least 30 times. When these two teams met in December, Payton called just 17 running plays, which totaled 44 yards. Last week in Philadelphia: 36 for 185. Still thinking the Saints will lose this football game … but it’s going to be close.
Drew Brees will shake off the noise to bring big plays that keep the Saints in the game into the second half. But look for the Seahawks to wear New Orleans down up front, with Lynch putting the game away with one powerful burst in the fourth quarter. Seahawks 27, Saints 17
The New Orleans Saints are coming off their first postseason road win in franchise history, but the degree of difficulty will rise dramatically when they visit the top-seeded Seattle Seahawks on Saturday. It will be a rematch of a Dec. 2 game in Seattle, when the Seahawks manhandled New Orleans 34-7 and held the Saints to their lowest point total since October 2008. “This is definitely going to be a personal game,” New Orleans cornerback Keenan Lewis said. “They embarrassed us last time.”
PREDICTION: Seahawks 27, Saints 17
Since their game against the Saints, the Seahawks were finally defeated at home by the Arizona Cardinals. After seeing that occur, should New Orleans walk into Seattle with more confidence than they had in Week 13? When it’s all said and done on Saturday, I see the Seahawks defeating the Saints and moving onto the NFC Championship game.
While the game might not be as lopsided as the first time these teams faced one another, the Seahawks will once again defeat the Saints and move on to the NFC Championship. Prediction: Seahawks 27, Saints 20
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