On Saturday afternoon, the Seattle Seahawks defeated the New Orleans Saints 23-15 in the first game of the NFL Playoffs’ divisional round. With a trip to the NFC Championship game on the line, these two teams clashed in Seattle for the second time this year; the first was a 34-7 beatdown by the Seahawks in Week 13. The Seahawks continued their success at home, having only lost once in Seattle since drafting Russell Wilson two years ago.
It was a rough game for both teams, as neither team played particularly well. The Saints had two long drives end in missed field goals, and both were real killers to their momentum. The Seahawks had two early drives start in New Orleans territory, but both ended up in field goals, as they couldn’t cap off their drives with touchdowns.
The best weapon for either team was their running game; New Orleans finished with 108 rushing yards, while Seattle’s Marshawn Lynch had 140 yards and two touchdowns on his own.
New Orleans’ passing game was non-existent in this one. Drew Brees only had 35 yards in the first half, as Seattle’s defense pitched the first-half shutout. Though Brees finished with 309 yards, he never had a major impact on this game. Seattle’s vaunted secondary did a good job stopping the pass all day, especially with Jimmy Graham. The All-Pro TE, who has spent this year earning his spot as the best tight end in the game, finished the game with only one catch for eight yards.
Seattle now moves on to play the winner of tomorrow’s game between the San Francisco 49ers and Carolina Panthers. Regardless of who they face, the game will be in Seattle. The Seahawks have the best home-field advantage in the sport and that will be on display next Sunday.
Looking forward, what should be really scary for any teams left in the playoffs is the way Seattle played. They seemed to be completely out of their zone, yet completely dominant. With their running game, and how dominant it can be, it’s hard to not see Seattle as the favorites to win it all.