Saints prep to face NFL's best defense

They say offense sells tickets, but defense wins championships. Well, the Seahawks are the best of 2013, and they're deadly at forcing turnovers, with a league-leading 39 this season, 20 more than the Saints.

"When you're playing the best defense, in their favorite environment, at the toughest time of the year to play, it's certainly a challenge," offensive tackle Zach Strief said. "But at the end of the day, we gotta do the right things this week to give ourselves an opportunity."

Of the four remaining playoff teams in the NFC (Seattle, Carolina, New Orleans, San Francisco), each and every one has a defense ranked in the top five in the NFL in terms of total yards, and according to Saints quarterback Drew Brees, what really sets Seattle apart, is that the Seahawks' "D" is the most complete.

"You look at them in every statistically category, and if they're not number one, they're certainly top five. As complete a defense as there is at every position. Front four, linebacking corps, and obviously in the secondary."

Running back Mark Ingram added, "They all just run to the ball. They have great athletes on the back end, in the secondary that can cover. From top to bottom, they're a great defense. You have to have your 'A' game to go up and there and have success against them."

Seattle limited Brees to a season-low 144 yards passing in their first meeting, but number nine expects a more Saints-like offensive performance in round two with simple execution.

"Managing the circumstances, managing the crowd noise, managing all that stuff," Brees said. "Finding ways to create rhythm within your gameplan, being good on first down. Getting yourself in a third and manageable situation where they can't just pin their ears back and come after you. Obviously, the more balanced you can be the better. And hopefully hit on some big plays, take advantage of opportunities."

And this Saturday, the Black-and-Gold will have the opportunity to keep their championship hopes alive. Kickoff is set for 3:35 on Fox 8.