Posted on: January 6, 2011 10:28 am
Edited on: January 7, 2011 11:11 am
Posted by Andy Benoit
CBSSports.com's patented and award-winning 7-point playoff preview gets you ready for each and every playoff game. And as an added bonus, check out our playoff podcast preview:
1. New Orleans Saints (No. 5, NFC, 11-5) @ Seattle Seahawks (No. 4, NFC, 7-9)
The 2010 Saints essentially became the first wild card team in history to get a bye when they drew the matchup against the hapless/fruitless/pathetic/laughabl
e/embarrassing NFC West Champion Seahawks. Seattle can obviously play the “nobody believes in us card”. It’s not even a card to play – it’s more just a fact. But it doesn’t matter because nobody believes in their ability to play the “nobody believes in us card” anyway. And nobody cares if the Seahawks have a chip on their shoulder or something to prove or are out for respect or whatever it is bad teams say before big games. So you say nobody thinks you deserve to be here, Seattle? You’re correct. And all the nobodies are correct, too.
2. PLAYOFFS?! Watchability Ranking (On a scale of 5 'Jim Mora Faces')
3. Key Matchup to Watch: Drew Brees & Sean Payton vs. Seahawks D
It’s simple, really: the Seahawks don’t have the firepower to keep up with the Saints. Which is why you can expect the Saints to look to establish a big lead early. Obviously any team would like to establish a big lead early. The difference with New Orleans is that they have a coach who is willing and knows how to do it. The Saints are arguably the best play-scripting team in football. Don’t be surprised if you see 15 different formations in New Orleans’ first 15 plays. Most of those formations will be of the spread variety, given that Drew Brees prefers to get as many weapons as possible involved, and given that New Orleans has all but ignored the run the last three weeks.
Brees will take a keen interest in the Seahawks cornerbacks, neither of whom matches up well with Robert Meachem (expect Meachem to be the No. 1 target given that Marques Colston is questionable after having arthroscopic knee surgery last Tuesday). Kelly Jennings lacks size and Marcus Trufant is inconsistent in deep man-to-man coverage. Seahawks fourth-round rookie Walter Thurmond will also be tempting to pick on, especially if he has to handle the precise route running of Lance Moore.
4. Potentially Relevant Video
If the Saints watch this video sometime during the week, don’t be surprised if Sean Payton, out of support for an angry Reggie Bush (and inside word is Bush is definitely angry) giddily runs up the score on the former USC head coach.
5. The Saints will win if ...
They show up and nothing ridiculous happens.
6. The Seahawks will win if ...
They are on the fortunate end of a fluke turnover (or two…or three) and can gather energy from the home crowd that they don’t deserve to be playing in front of.
7. Prediction: Saints 35, Seahawks 13
Posted on: October 30, 2010 10:25 pm
Posted by Andy Benoit
Seahawks @ Raiders
Steelers @ Saints
Tags: Aaron Smith, Brandon Mebane, Brett Favre, Brett Keisel, Bruce Gradkowski, Chaz Schilens, Chris Degeare, Deion Branch, Fred Taylor, Jabari Greer, Jordan Babineaux, Kelly Jennings, Lito Sheppard, Louis Murphy, Mike Wright, Minnesota Vikings, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, Oakland Raiders, Patrick Chung, Pierre Thomas, Pittsburgh Steelers, Reggie Bush, Russell Okung, Seattle Seahawks, Tracy Porter, Walter Thurmond, Zach Miller
Posted on: June 30, 2010 4:11 pm
Edited on: June 30, 2010 4:34 pm
Seattle has been the supposed landing places of a few high-end free agents this offseason. And why not? Head coach Pete Carroll hasn’t been shy about adding new players and subtracting the ones he hasn’t wanted (even if they played for him at USC). First, Bills RB Marshawn Lynch was heading to the northwest. That didn’t happen. Now, the Seahawks apparently are interested in obtaining the services of San Diego WR Vincent Jackson.
Even if Seattle doesn’t pull in another top-notch free agent before the season starts, never fear. Carroll seems to know exactly what he’s doing. Or, at the very least, what he wants.
As we discussed here , Carroll’s roster hasn’t been a safe haven for anybody in the Seattle locker room. Since he took the job in January, he’s acquired 60 players, and of the 80 players heading to training camp, 44 of them weren’t on the roster pre-Carroll. I’m always wary of a team which gives its coach the absolute final say over the personnel that plays for him, but apparently, Seattle thinks it’s a good idea. And Carroll hasn't been shy about using his power.
But just because there’s been significant turnover, that doesn’t mean this year's Seattle squad will make anyone forget about its 2009 debacle (the 5-11 record, the firing of then-coach Jim Mora after only one season). Aging veteran QB Matt Hasselbeck struggled, the top running back Julius Jones was unimpressive, and the offense never found an effective No. 1 receiver (T.J. Houshmandzadeh, the team leader in receptions, is not meant to be a No. 1 guy).
The defense was abysmal as well, allowing 24.4 points and 356.4 yards per game. The Seahawks couldn’t stop the pass, probably because they couldn’t figure out a way to rush the opposing quarterback.
Seattle isn’t that far removed from playoff runs from 2003-2007 and a Super Bowl appearance at the end of the 2005 season. But it feels like forever ago, doesn’t it?
So, what will change? Obviously, Carroll, who was slightly better than a .500 coach in his previous dalliances in the NFL but who’s coming off so much success at USC, feels like the roster needed to be remade. But you have to question some of his moves.
He brought in former USC RB LenDale White briefly before the team released him, and I don’t understand the love – and the big contract – for career backup QB Charlie Whitehurst. I don’t like the fact WR Nate Burleson and the top-three pass rushers from last year are gone. In fact, I thought it was unfair Mora got the boot after one season.
That said, I liked the Seahawks 2010 draft class. Carroll found a starting LT in Russell Okung who can replace Walter Jones, a FS in Earl Thomas that has good speed and cover skills, and a quick threat in WR Golden Tate,
Sure, a huge roster turnover doesn’t usually mean a team is poised for a breakthrough season, and people around the league don’t seem to have high hopes for this year’s squad. Also consider the offensive system, which will rely on making formation shifts to confuse the defense, is going through a wholesale change. But get the new guys some seasoning, maybe get Whitehurst some playing time, maybe have second-day draft picks like TE Anthony McCoy and CB Walter Thurmond surprise some people, and maybe, the Seahawks can be a threat in the next few years. Maybe Carroll can replicate his success from USC in Seattle. Maybe.
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