NFL Pick of the Week – Divisional Round
Date/Time: January 11th, 4:35 PM ET
NFL Betting Odds from WagerWeb
Spread: Seattle -8
The Divisional Round of the NFL playoffs is here! With all of the games on the docket each and every week, we are going to be zeroing in on just one side or total that we think is the best of the bunch. Join us today, look at the game on Saturday, January 11th between the New Orleans Saints and the Seattle Seahawks.
This time of year, we see a bunch of the top seeds end up getting knocked out of the playoffs, and we have a good feeling that the Seahawks are going to be the next of the bunch.
Anyone who is going to be laying the points with the Seahawks is going to be banking on some data which we just don’t believe in. The Seahawks are tough to beat at home; we definitely understand that. However, the fact of the matter is that the Saints should now know what they are in for, and the fact that this game isn’t going to be in primetime is probably going to help just a bit.
We fail to believe that Seattle has the best team in the NFL. The Seahawks, in spite of the fact that they are the Super Bowl favorites, don’t have any wide receivers which really scare us all that much. WR Percy Harvin is questionable, and he might finally end up having a meaningful game for these Seahawks, but we just can’t count on it. WR Golden Tate and WR Doug Baldwin are respectable receivers, but they aren’t anywhere near as good as all of the options which QB Drew Brees has to bring to the table.
The Seahawks do have a great ground game, and QB Russell Wilson has garnered a ton of respect for what he has been able to do in the playoffs at the start of his career. This is his first home playoff game though, and it is the first time that Seattle is really expected to win a game which he has quarterbacked.
On top of that, the Seahawks have proven that they can be human at home. They were beaten a couple weeks ago by the Arizona Cardinals, and they really weren’t at their best in their regular season finale against the St. Louis Rams either.
Meanwhile, the Saints finally shook the bugaboo of playing on the road last week when they knocked off the Philadelphia Eagles 24-22 in the 3/6 game. The win was a big one, but we must say that we aren’t impressed with everyone who says this team can’t play on the road. The truth of the matter is that the game against the New England Patriots should have been won back in October, and the game against the Carolina Panthers in horrid conditions should have been won as well.
The offense for the Saints really didn’t have a great game last week, at least not in the form you would have thought. The ground game made the difference, coming up with a whopping 185 yards. That was enough to pick up Brees in spite of the fact that he only threw for 250 yards and had two picks, not to mention the fact that he didn’t have a receiver who had more than 44 yards on the day.
It was the defense though, which had the biggest impact. The Saints don’t have the best defense in the world, but this unit held down one of the most potent offenses in the league to just 256 total yards of offense. RB LeSean McCoy had just 77 yards on 21 carries, while QB Nick Foles had 195 yards and two scores without throwing a pick.
The Saints are looked upon as the team which allowed RB Marshawn Lynch to go “Beast Mode” in the playoffs two seasons ago. However, when you look back at these last two games against Seattle, the New Orleans defense actually did pretty darn well outside of that one touchdown run which effective ended the playoff game these two teams played here two years ago. Lynch only had 45 yards on 16 carries in the regular season meeting this year, and it was Wilson who managed to rule the day on that day in the 34-7 blowout victory.
Head Coach Sean Payton is one of the best coaches in the league, and he knows what it is going to take to win this game. If his defense can play anywhere near as well as it did against the Eagles last week, there is no reason to think that he isn’t going to be able to ultimately get the job done. This is a whole heck of a lot of points to be giving what, in our estimation, has always been the second best team in the NFC all season long. We aren’t all that sure that the Saints are going to win this one, but we do think that it is entirely plausible. One of these big time home favorites is going to end up getting beaten, and it might end up being more than that. We definitely don’t want anything to do with laying massive amounts of points in games this time of year.
NFL Pick of the Week: New Orleans Saints +8