By John Boyle
With the NFL’s Wild Card weekend coming to a close with a down-to-the-wire 49ers victory, the Seahawks are now on deck.
When the playoffs resume, it will be with the Seahawks hosting the sixth-seeded New Orleans Saints, who won at Philadelphia Saturday. That game will be a 1:35 on Saturday, then the other NFC Divisional game will be between the 49ers and Panthers Sunday at 10 a.m. PT. That means if the Seahawks win, the NFC Championship game will either be a rematch of the game eight years ago that sent Seattle to the Super Bowl, or an NFC West showdown.
The Saints were trounced in Seattle last month, losing 34-7, but hope the win in Philly shows they are a better road team. One notable difference this time around could be the absence of linebacker K.J. Wright, who was instrumental in the effort to slow down Saints TE Jimmy Graham in the previous meeting. Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said Friday that Wright, who is recovering from foot surgery, won’t be available. Then again, the Seahawks could have Percy Harvin this time against the Saints after torching New Orleans in the passing game without him in December.
“We’re going to need our best effort to beat these guys, but if there’s a team that can do it, I believe it’s us,” Drew Brees said in his postgame press conference.
No playoff game is easy, but on paper, the Saints might be the most favorable matchup for the Seahawks. Obviously Seattle showed it could handle New Orleans last time around, and the tough, physical teams like those in the NFC West have been the ones that seem to give the Seahawks the most trouble. It’s highly unlikely Seattle will roll to another blowout win, but New Orleans might not present as many problems as San Francisco, which would have been Seattle’s next opponent had Philadelphia won Saturday.
And of course with New Orleans coming to Seattle for a playoff game, we’ll be hearing plenty about what happened the last time the Saints and Seahawks met in the postseason: