New Orleans Saints
(11-5, 7-9 ATS)
(7-9, 7-9 ATS)
We have quite the dichotomy in NFL betting action to start the playoffs out, as the defending Super Bowl champs, the New Orleans Saints, take to the field against the only team in the history of the NFL to win a division and earn a playoff spot with a losing record, the Seattle Seahawks.
The Saints might have lost their regular season finale against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but we have to remember that when push really came to shove, the game meant next to nothing. New Orleans knows that it has played well on the road all year long, going 6-2, including winning at the Atlanta Falcons just a few weeks ago, and it will not be daunted by the crowd here at Qwest Field. The problem that this team is going to have is running the football. RBs Chris Ivory, Pierre Thomas, and Ladell Betts are all on IR, and RB Julius Jones hasn’t rushed the ball more than four times in a game in over a month. RB Reggie Bush only had 36 carries for the season. Aside from those two, who only combined for 343 yards on the ground for the year, QB Chase Daniel, who only really took about 20 snaps all season long, was the next leading rusher on the team. QB Drew Brees though, is simply amazing. He won’t win the league MVP award this year, but perhaps he should. Brees came up two completions shy of the league lead in that category, thus fell two shy of the all-time record for completions in a season, but he still threw for 4,620 yards and 33 TDs on the campaign.
Simply put, Seattle stinks. The Seahawks are definitely not deserving of being a playoff team this year, and they are certainly not ready to win a string of playoff games. Just winning one would be a tremendous success for the first team in major American sports since 1981 to win a division with a sub-.500 record. QB Matt Hasselbeck injured his hip two weeks ago against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, making QB Charlie Whitehurst lead the team to the NFC West title last week against the St. Louis Rams. Hasselbeck is back though, and he is going to try to wake up the echoes from the last time the Seahawks were serious Super Bowl contenders when he got them there, only to lose to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the finale. There is no running game to be afraid of this year, as RB Marshawn Lynch never really got it going, and the receiving options are few and far between. Parlay all of that with a defense that ranked No. 20 or worse in seemingly every major category, and Head Coach Pete Carroll knows he has his work cut out for him.
The Seahawks should be no match in this game for the Saints. This is one of the heftier NFL spreads that you’ll see in the postseason regardless of what year it is, and the number is unheard of for a team on the road. Still, New Orleans should be in front of this 10.5 point spread by halftime, and it might never look back.
NFL Free Pick: New Orleans Saints -10.5