Updated 06:33 AM EST, Mon, Nov 29, 2021

NFL Playoffs 2014 Predictions, Preview: New Orleans Saints vs Seattle Seahawks; Who has the Advantage?

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The New Orleans Saints (11-5) and the Seattle Seahawks (13-3) will kick off the National Football League (NFL) Divisional Playoffs round Saturday afternoon, with Drew Brees hunting for a second Lombardi Trophy, defeating the Philadelphia Eagles last weekend after a season-long struggle in road games.

The Saints have been horrible on the road all year, going 3-5, scoring 17.8 points per game on the road, losing their last three regular-season road games and getting outscored 78-36, prior to their victory at Lincoln Financial Stadium last Sunday. The Saints broke a 0-5 losing streak in playoff road games after Saints kicker Shayne Graham hit a 32-yard field goal with time winding down to give New Orleans its first postseason road win.

New Orleans did a great job eating the clock against Philadelphia, keeping head coach's Chip Kelly's fast-paced offense and Eagles QB Nick Foles on the sidelines while the Saints RB Mark Ingram rushed for 97 yards and a touchdown. New Orleans QB Drew Brees went 20-for-30, racking up 250 yards, and a touchdown to defeat the Eagles, 26-24.

"We know what we're all about," said Brees after the game. "This was a great testament to that. Coming on the road, hostile environment, great team, one of the hottest teams in football and getting one of those big victories."

With Sean Payton back in the sidelines for New Orleans after serving his suspension for his role in BountyGate, Brees had another stellar year finishing with 5,162 yards and 39 touchdowns, second only to Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning. The Saints defense has also been much improved under defensive coordinator Rob Ryan's direction, ranked 19th in the NFL against the rush. The Saints defense also managed to keep big plays for longs yards to a minimum, allowing five touchdowns of 20 or more yards - second in the NFC in that category.

But the Saints struggled against the Seahawks this season, getting trashed 34-7 at Safeco Field in Week 13, with Brees being held to a season-low 147 passing yards and one touchdown by Seattle's defense. Seahawks QB Russell Wilson torched the New Orleans defense, completing 22 of 30 passes for 310 yards with three touchdowns, along with 47 rushing yards.

The Seahawks have the best ranked total defense in the NFL, allowing 273.6 yards per game, with CB Richard Sherman leading the league in interceptions with eight picks, including four over the last three games.

"Every game, you want to go out there and set the tone," said Seahawks LB Bobby Wagner. "You don't want a team on its opening drive to get in a rhythm, get comfortable. As soon as they get comfortable, you've got to really work on that. So the main thing we do is we try to knock them off rhythm from the moment they walk into the stadium."

The Seahawks also have Safeco Field's "12th Man" supporting them. Their vocal fan-base has helped Seattle win six straight home playoff games, as well as 16 out of 17 games since Wilson has taken over quarterback duties for the team. Wilson also will have injured WR Percy Harvin and TE Luke Wilson back in the lineup this weekend.

Brees understands the task at hands and believes the Saints can learn a lot from their regular-season defeat, if they plan on going to MetLife Stadium for Super Bowl XLVIII.

"If we want to accomplish what we set out to accomplish this year then we better find a way to go there and win, and just hoping that we'd have another opportunity," said Brees. "And here we are, having that opportunity."

Prediction: While the Saints showed a lot of grit on the road against the Philadelphia Eagles, winning on the road despite the hostile environment and cold weather. But Safeco Field is one of the tougests road trip, with a loud crowd that makes it difficult for quarterbacks to communicate with the offense, and while the Saints may have learned a lot in their regular-season match-up, the Seahawks' ferocious defense will find a way to stifle Brees and move on to the NFC Championship.

You can catch the New Orleans Saints-Seattle Seahawks NFL Division playoff round at 4:35 p.m. EST Saturday, Jan. 11 on Fox.

Live Stream (online)
Live stream coverage can be seen on NFL RedZone.

Live Stream (Radio)
Live stream coverage can be heard on NFL Audio Pass and Sirius XM Radio.

Live Score
Live scores could be followed by clicking here.

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