Week 13 in the NFL features a few great matchups that bring playoff implications along with them. The biggest of them all has to be that of the Seattle Seahawks hosting the New Orleans Saints in primetime. Monday night, Drew Brees and his high-flying offense take on a Seahawks defense that is among the league’s elite.
Seattle’s pass defense only allows 180 yards per game through the air. New Orleans, meanwhile, averages 317 yards per game passing. Something has to give.
Let’s not forget that Seattle has a pretty potent offense, too, when it is clicking on all cylinders. Russell Wilson leads a charge that features the third-best rushing offense in the league thanks to he and running back Marshawn Lynch. But wait, there’s more. Percy Harvin is back, and as he continues to get worked back into the offense this rushing attack could take the league’s top spot before the season’s end.
With such a tough matchup for Brees and the Saints, they have to be looking at this game with a must-win mentality. You would have thought that at 9-2 it would sound crazy to call any game at this point a “must-win.” But, for the sake of New Orleans’ home-field advantage hopes, that’s exactly what this is.
The Carolina Panthers are right on the Saints’ heels at 8-3 and are on a 7-game winning streak. Carolina and New Orleans still have yet to play each other at all this year, and will face off twice in a matter of three weeks before the season is over. If the Saints can go to 10-2, they not only tie the Seahawks for the best record in the conference, but stay ahead of Carolina for the moment in the divisional race — which means home-field advantage.
If New Orleans were to drop this one, at 9-3 they would tie the Panthers in the loss column which could wind up being exactly what Carolina needs to ride their momentum to a division title. This division is as tight as it’s been in recent memory, and the Saints must take care of business in Seattle Monday night. If they don’t, they risk losing the division and, even more importantly, securing home-field throughout the playoffs.