The first division round game of the 2014 NFL playoffs takes us all back to the scene of a crime where the Seattle Seahawks murdered the New Orleans Saints 34-7 on MNF back in Week 13. The Saints will look to become yet another wild card team to advance to a championship game this Saturday, while the Seahawks will look to circle the wagons in front of the 12th Man where they’ve been nearly flawless with Russell Wilson at the helm.
OPEN: SEAHAWKS -8 | CURRENT: SEAHAWKS -8.5 | O/U: 48
1. Why the SAINTS will cover the spread: The Saints will no doubt invade CenturyLink a much more confident bunch this time around after going into the Linc last Saturday night and handing the home based Eagles an outright defeat as short underdogs. Still think this isn’t viable team to back away from the comforts of the dome? Another advantage Coach Payton’s squad has is knowing exactly what to expect for this one with them already paying a trip to the Pacific Northwest earlier this season.
Many on the roster also know what it’s like to play in this stadium come playoff time after they got rolled up and smoked in the wild card round back in 2011. Will the third time be the charm?
2. Why the SEAHAWKS will cover the spread: Only the division rival Arizona Cardinals were able to go into CenturyLink and not get embarrassed this season. Well, Tennessee and Tampa Bay also did, but that was more of a case of underperforming by the home team than anything else. Make no bones about it, Seattle loves to make a mockery of opposing football teams and rub their noses in it every chance it gets.
While the offense can become stagnant at times, the defense always gives it a chance to win with it allowing an average of just 273.6 YPG (#1) and 14.4 PPG (#1). The unit already stymied Brees once this season, and would love nothing more than to do it once again.
3. Total Talk Saints/Seahawks: With the Saints dramatically improved on the defensive side of the ball under the watchful eye of defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, the Saints have played to low scorers in 11 of their 17 overall games played. It just limited a solid rushing offense in the Eagles to 80 yards on 22 carries (3.6 YPC), and held Beast Mode in check in Week 13 by allowing just 45 yards on 16 carries; the ‘under’ went 7-2 in their nine road games. Seattle played to low scorers in five of eight at home, but the ‘over’ is 6-1 in its L/7 playoff games and 4-0 in its L/4 divisional playoff games.
4. Betting Trends for Colts/Pats: Saturday night’s big time win at Philly put an end to the Saints six-game losing streak ATS on the road. The Seahawks went 2-1 SU & ATS when laying single digits at home in the regular season. In the first go round between these teams, New Orleans did a fabulous job of shutting Seattle’s potent ground attack down, but in doing so, allowed Wilson to torch them through the air en route to throwing for 310 yards and 3 TDs. Look for DC Ryan to cook up a plan that’s better balanced this time around.
Seattle’s 9-1 SU & ATS the L/10 times it was installed a chalk in the 3.5 to 9.5-point range, but lost outright on this very same field the last time it was asked to cover an 8-point spread. New Orleans is 3-0 SU & 2-1 ATS the L/3 times it sought revenge against the same opponent, and it’s got the experience, firepower, and moxie to go into Seattle and hand the NFC’s top seed a crushing blow in front of the 12th Man. But will it?
Seattle 24 – New Orleans 20