Thursday, November 18, 2010

SEAHAWKS@SAINTS PREVIEW PART I: What A Seahawks Loss Might Look Like

Each week I attempt to see both sides of the upcoming game. First, let's explore what a potential loss might look like.

This is another game where almost any statistical measure points to a Saints victory. Their defense against the pass it better, they allow fewer points, they score more points, and their passing game is better than the Seahawks. The intangibles also point toward a Saints win. This is a Super Bowl champ that is getting back a key part of their offense, has regained key parts of its defense in the past few weeks, is gaining momentum while playing at home. Things gets a little cloudier when comparing position-by-position, but that we will cover that in the next post.

New Orleans will enter this game fresh off a bye week, excited to get Reggie Bush back, and fully expecting to dismantle the Seahawks. A sprinter's start that gets them out in front by 10 or more points, coupled with the league's stingiest scoring defense would likely end the game quickly.

The Saints are not a big-strike team. Their passing game is primarily in the short-to-intermediate range. Expect lots of quick passes to receivers who are looking to tack on a handful of yards after each catch. Their running game has been mostly ineffective, yet sadly that still is statistically superior to the Seahawks. They beat the Steelers at home 20-10, while only rushing for 30 yards and a 1.4 average. Stopping the running game matters, but is not a major factor in deciding the outcome.The Saints will use a variety of swing and screen passes to get players like Bush into space. I don't have to tell you how hard it has been for Seattle to defend plays like that this season. No team has really exploited that weakness, but the Saints will. Inability to adjust and cover the screen or swing pass will lead to a disastrous result for the Seahawks.

The Saints defense is led by coordinator Gregg Williams. Williams is a respected coach who you might recall was responsible for those Redskins defenses that were so tough in the playoffs for two years. Matt Hasselbeck will be quite familiar with his scheme, and Williams will be familiar with Hasselbeck. This game qualifies as one that cannot be won without Matt's experience. Playing with a broken wrist is tenuous, and if he needs to leave the game, there is almost no way the Seahawks could recover.

New Orleans has the experience, the talent, and the offensive scheme to present major problems to the Seahawks. Anything but a comfortable victory would be a shock to the majority of pundits across the NFL.

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