Seahawks-Saints preview: The Saints come marching in, and almost zero additional cliches

Once again Seahawks fans have been faced with an extended break between games, and in this case the time was very eventful. We saw news of an impending Brandon Browner suspension, the suspension of Walter Thurmond, a setback for Percy Harvin‘s hip. I hope you had a happy Thanksgiving, or a happy week of whatever for those of you that are reading this in other countries. Because of the holiday weekend we’re trying to fit a large round peg, this writing, into a smaller, albeit still round hole. That sounds gross, but basically this week’s preview will be short.

The Saints are good. Almost unquestionably the second best team in the NFC, with a good opportunity to make an argument for top billing with a win over the Seahawks. Drew Brees and the Saints offensive scheme have done a lot to turn lesser receivers into good talents, and the Saints receivers, mostly small guys who are quick in and out of cuts, could give the Seahawks fits. A larger concern though, for nearly every team in the NFL, is Jimmy Graham. Graham is a tight end that used to be a basketball player, stop me if you’ve heard this one before, but has grown into perhaps the best receiver in the NFL period, with all apologies to Calvin Johnson. Graham already has 946 yards and 11 touchdowns this year, and the Seahawks have a linebacking corps that has a tendency to get abused in coverage.

 

Injuries

Seattle

Brandon Browner, CB (Groin) – Out

Percy Harvin, WR (Hip) – Doubtful

Jermaine Kearse, WR (Concussion) – Probable

Marshawn Lynch, RB (Knee) – Probable

New Orleans

Chris Carr, CB (Hip/Hamstring) – Probable

Jahri Evans, G (Ankle) – Questionable

Darren Sproles, RB (Ankle) – Probable

 

Stats (All stats from Football Outsiders)

Quarterback Russell Wilson Drew Brees
DVOA 15.5% 33.0
DYAR 517 1324
QBR 64.3 71.3
RushDYAR 112 12
Running backs Marshawn Lynch Pierre Thomas
DVOA 8.3% -0.7%
DYAR 149 41
RecDYAR 61 151
Robert Turbin Darren Sproles
DVOA -11.7% 2.7%
DYAR 1 17
RecDYAR -6 185
Wide Receivers Doug Baldwin Marques Colston
DVOA 37.5% 25.8%
DYAR 206 184
Golden Tate Kenny Stills
DVOA 12.8% 43.8%
DYAR 133 159
Tight End Zach Miller Jimmy Graham
DVOA 8.5% 28.8%
DYAR 33 234
Team Defense Seattle New Orleans
DVOA -18.2% -5.6%

At one time this season this game looked like it would rival the Seahawks two matchups with the 49ers as the toughest, and arguably most important matchups of the season. San Francisco hasn’t held up their end of the bargain, but the Saints stand between the Seahawks and home field advantage throughout the playoffs. We saw a lesser Seahawks team beat the Saints in Seattle a couple of years ago, so home field is definitely a big deal.

 

Predictions

Jimmy Graham catches 150 yards.

But Drew Brees throws for less than 300 yards.

Russell Wilson throws for more than 300 yards.

Doug Baldwin has more than 100 yards receiving.

There are no less than 25 comparisons between Wilson and Brees as diminutive quarterbacks.

Seahawks win 31-21.