If it ain’t broke don’t fix it, or so the old adage goes. Since the Seahawks beat the Saints so handily when they last visited CenturyLink Field, it makes sense that they should use the same game plan to prepare for this Saturday’s NFC Divisional round game, right?
Not so according to head coach Pete Carroll. At his weekly presser on Monday, Carroll said that the Seahawks would be starting all over again with their strategy to beat New Orleans:
“We start all over again, it has nothing to do with what happened before. We don’t care about that. Obviously, we learned and gained information for the game, as they did, but we start from scratch… it would be a mistake to try to call it based on what’s happened in the past… There are no automatics here. They’re going to hear about it. It’s human nature that you would like to think it’s going to be the same. But we have to know better than that. We need to respect this for what it is, a great championship matchup, and they’re going to come loaded up.”
Carroll knows that it’s extremely difficult to beat an NFL team twice in the same year. We’ve already seen the Seahawks struggle in rematches with the Cardinals and them that shall not be named. Expect no different from the Saints, who have a lot of playoff experience and utilized it to get by the Eagles last weekend.
Part of what makes the Saints so dangerous is the adjustments that they’re able to make. Last week when Richard Sherman ranked the five smartest quarterbacks in the league in his Sports Illustrated column, he had this to say of Drew Brees:
“He makes incredible adjustments during the game. He’ll struggle for a stretch and then go to the sidelines and look at pictures and then come back and attack the defense a new way. It’s almost like they installed a whole new game plan.”
People who are predicting another Seattle blowout probably just don’t know the Saints that well. If the Seahawks can’t match their intensity they could find themselves in a big hole in the first half, similar to what happened to the Colts on Saturday. They beat the Chiefs on their home field two weeks prior and Kansas City came out fired up and took a huge lead. The eventual ridiculous result of that game notwithstanding, nobody wants to play catch up with Sean Payton and Drew Brees.
There’s a 100 percent chance of rain on Saturday but that’s about the only thing that’s assured. Early oddsmakers have Seattle as 8.5 point favorites, but if we took away any lessons from this last weekend, it’s that anything can happen in the NFL. Anything.
Seattle is the smartest city in the country, as evidenced by this wonderfully nerdy 12th man flag.