The NFL’s Divisional Round Weekend is set and kicking it off is the Seattle Seahawks hosting the New Orleans Saints, Saturday Jan 11th. The Seahawks boast the strongest home field advantage in the NFL. It’s one thing for the Saints to push Philadelphia around in their own house. It’s quite another to expect the same at a raucous CenturyLink Field against a Seattle team infamous for its sheer physicality. The Seahawks routed the Saints 34-7 during Week 13 of the regular season, which is why NFL oddsmakers have the Seahawks as -8 point home favorites over the Saints with the total set at 47.5 points. If the Seahawks repeat their last win over the Saints on Saturday, they’ll be on a collision course with either the Panthers or the 49ers in the NFC championship game.
The Saints (12-5, 4-5 V) got their first road playoff victory, 26-24 over the Philadelphia Eagles on wildcard weekend. Shayne Graham, signed by the Saints just over two weeks ago, kicked a 32-yard field goal on the final play for the win, it was his third kick of the game. QB Drew Brees threw for a touchdown, Mark Ingram rushed for 97 yards and another score, and the Saints’ defense slowed Chip Kelly’s up-tempo offense just enough.
When these two teams met in Week 13, the Seahawks’ historically great pass defense harassed Drew Brees into his worst performance in a decade. Brees’ postseason resume is tremendous, but it’s a tall order to burn the Legion of Boom through the air. It’s a challenge to beat an opponent twice in five weeks, much less an opponent whose coach is as savvy as Sean Payton. While Carroll’s task will be to convince his team that a 27-point victory in December translates into ancient history in January, Payton will use the humiliation as motivation.
The Seahawks (13-3, 7-1 H) would be wise to forget how thoroughly they dominated the Saints in Week 13. But, you also have to factor in the 12th man. Since 2005, opposing offenses have been flagged for false start penalties on 130 separate occasions at CenturyLink Field. That is by far the highest total in the league over the course of the last eight years.
It’s a proven fact that the Seahawks put up better numbers at home as well. When you go back to the start of the 2012 season, the Seahawks dominance at home shines through. From the beginning of the 2010 season until now, Carroll’s club has garnered a 24-8 record at the CLink. In 16 home games, over the course of the last two years, the Seahawks have tallied 3,184 yards passing, 2,487 yards rushing and 16 turnovers. Those numbers, on a per game basis, average out to 199 yards through the air, 155.4 yards on the ground and one turnover.
Regardless of Seattle’s upcoming opponent(s), it’s evident that the odds of a Super Bowl run are in the Seahawks’ favor. They have home-field advantage all throughout the playoffs, they have the No. 1 defense in the NFL and they have already beat the 49ers and Saints at CenturyLink this season.
Percy Harvin looms as a wild card for an aerial attack coming off its least effective four-game stretch of the season. He was a full participant in Friday’s practice. As long as there is no setback next week, he’s a good bet to suit up for Seattle against Rob Ryan’s defense.
Recent Trends to Consider and NFL Points Spreads:
Favorite is 5-2 ATS in their last 7 meetings.
Home team is 5-2 ATS in their last 7 meetings.
Saints are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 meetings.
Saints are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 meetings in Seattle.
Under is 5-0 in Seahawks last 5 games overall.
Over is 4-0 in Seahawks last 4 Divisional Playoffs games.
Under is 5-0 in Seahawks last 5 vs. NFC.
Saints are 1-6 ATS in their last 7 road games.
Seahawks are 12-3 ATS vs. a team with a winning record.
New Orleans Saints vs Seattle Seahawks
When: Saturday Jan 11@4:35 PM ET
Pick: Seahawks -8
The Bottom Line: With a successful regular season in the books and home-field advantage all throughout the playoffs, Seattle’s time to bring home its first Vince Lombardi Trophy is now. Just bring everything you got against a rejuvenated Saints team. We recommend you signup with Bovada to receive a 10% signup bonus heading into Saints vs Seahawks tilt.