The Seahawks have the Saints right where they want them under the conditions they hoped for. The odds say that Russell Wilson has to lose at home sometime. The odds makers say not this time.
Temperatures Monday night in Seattle are expected to fall into the high 20's with snow in the air. The Saints will take the field with a week-long drumbeat of how they are so much more beatable outdoors echoing in their ears. The raucous 12th man crowd will reinforce that assault of the Saints' senses, auditory and otherwise.
Under Sean Payton, the Saints are 23-18 outdoors....1-3 in the playoffs with the win in Super Bowl 44 providing the lone victory in Miami.
This game will have a playoff feel, with the feeling that the winner will go on to become the number one seed in the NFC and enjoy an unbeatable homefield advantage. The prospect that the Seahawks will win this showdown has made them the current favorite to win the Super Bowl at 3 to 1.
But as they usually do, the Saints' chances rest with Drew Brees and his second-ranked passing offense against the Seahawks' 2nd ranked pass defense. Seattle's secondary is a "Legion of Boom" busted with two of its top 3 corners injured and/or suspended. Brees threw it 60 times in the Wild Card loss there following the 2010 regular season. He may have to again.
If the Saints can hold running back Marshawn Lynch in check which they couldn't do in that playoff game, they can turn loose a defense that enters the weekend with 37 sacks, tied for most in the NFL.
It will be operating against a Seattle offensive line that has had its problems blocking for Russell Wilson who's been sacked 29 times while fumbling 8 times. The road to the Super Bowl won't end here for the loser.
It just figures to be a whole lot smoother for the winner.
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