Sean Payton, Drew Brees, Jimmy Graham and the rest of the New Orleans Saints are set to visit the Seattle Seahawks in an NFC Divisional clash, a rematch from Seattle’s dominant 34-7 victory in week 13. The Saints are coming in as heavy underdogs, can they pull off the upset? If they want too, there are keyplayers from the Seahawks that the Saints need to watch for if they want to win.
3. Russell Wilson
Let’s start with the obvious. The Saints simply cannot allow Wilson to pick apart this team the way he did just weeks ago, where he completed 22 passes for 302 yards, and had three touchdowns without a turnover and was only sacked once, when the game was out of reach, while also rushing for 47 yards.
Wilson had far too much time to throw the ball, and he completed many deep passes in their last meeting. That’s what happens when you don’t pressure a quarterback. Even when they got near him, he was too quick and was able to rush for positive yardage.
The Saints will have their hands full. They had the second best pass defense in the regular season. If they can win the matchups with Seattle’s receivers, that’s part of the solution. But they can’t allow Wilson to get comfortable and have room in the pocket. They will have to blitz him plentiful in this game.
Needless to say, Rob Ryan has a very tough job this week.
2. Legion of Boom
Otherwise known as Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor and Richard Sherman, no defensive trio in the league is better or more feared than these three.
They are a major reason the Seahawks have one of the best secondaries, and especially why the Saints struggled just weeks ago against them.
The three players combined for 17 tackles and three passes defensed.
If the Saints want to win this game, their receivers are going to have to get open one way or another. And when the coverage is strong, Brees cannot force any throws in their direction.
1. Marshawn Lynch
Lynch was rarely a factor when these teams met, rushing for just 45 yards on 16 carries. And no, he’s not on this list necessarily because of his beastmode run in the Wild-Card round between these teams three years ago.
The reason Lynch is on here is because the Seahawks didn’t run the ball as often in week 13, and when they did, Lynch was a non-factor because the defense had their primary focus on him.
This time around, the Saints will be focusing more on the passing game and pressuring Russell Wilson, which should give Lynch plenty of opportunities to make big plays in the running game. Lynch is incredibly clutch and can take games over on his own. So while the Saints try to focus on the passing game, they can’t underestimate Lynch’s ability to break a game wide open.
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