The Seahawks and New Orleans Saints will not meet until Dec. 2 on Monday Night Football, but the matchup is already being talked about — especially because of the implications it will have on the best-record in the NFC race.
The Seahawks will enter the contest 10-1, while the Saints will enter 9-2 after sneaking by the lowly Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Done in Week 12, 17-13.
Both the Seahawks and Saints would do well to have home-field advantage throughout the postseason, and Monday may not be the last time they meet this year. Perhaps they will see each other again in January.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
Here are some stats for each team that will play an overall factor in the outcome of Monday Night’s game. The Seahawks have won a franchise-record 13 games in a row at home. The Saints’ only two losses have come on the road. Who will take care of business on Monday? Let’s look at the numbers.
Points per game:
Seahawks — 27.8 (3rd in NFL)
Saints — 27.7 (4th in NFL)
Advantage: Seahawks. Both teams have high-flying offenses but the team that scores the most on Monday will depend greatly on how well the communication goes in the huddle. The Seahawks will have the advantage there because of the deafening roar of the CenturyLink Field crowd when opposing teams are on the field.
Yards per game:
Seahawks — 358.5 (12th)
Saints — 415.0 (3rd)
Advantage: Split. The yards game will be decided by an even balance between the passing and rushing attack. The Seahawks are much more productive on the ground than through the air while the Saints are more productive through the air than on the ground. Whoever finds balance on offense wins this battle.
Pass Yards per game:
Seahawks — 210.5 (24th)
Saints — 317.3 (2nd)
Advantage: Saints. Drew Brees has thrown for 3,647 yards and 28 touchdowns this season and he has thrown for at least two touchdowns in all but two games this year. The Seahawks will need to figure out a way to stop him through the air, which they have the tools to do. Russell Wilson will get Percy Harvin back, but the Seahawks are a run-first team and have been all year.
Rush Yards per game:
Seahawks — 147.9 (3rd)
Saints — 97.7 (23rd)
Advantage: Seahawks. Two words: Beast Mode. Marshawn Lynch has been unstoppable this year while the Saints have been trying to figure out a balance of Darren Sproles, Pierre Thomas, and Mark Ingram, which hasn’t really worked out. Lynch could be the difference in this game like he was against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 2.
Points Allowed per game:
Seahawks — 16.3 (3rd)
Saints — 17.8 (5th)
Advantage: Seahawks. Seattle does not like giving up points, especially at home. When the 12th Man crowd gets roaring, opponents have a lot of issues on offense while the defense thrives. Expect the same on Monday.
Yards Allowed per game:
Seahawks — 293.3 (2nd)
Saints — 309.9 (5th)
Advantage: Seahawks. The Saints last game was against the Atlanta Falcons, where they gave up 355 total yards to a team that has only won a pair of the games this year. Okay skeptics, remind me of the Seahawks-Buccaneers game, I know the haters still remember it. Regardless, Seattle wins this battle because defense wins games and great teams win big games.
Pass Yards Allowed per game:
Seahawks — 180.4 (2nd)
Saints — 198.0 (3rd)
Advantage: Saints. The reason is that the Seahawks just don’t throw the ball as much as Drew Brees does. Brees has thrown 164 more passes than Wilson has this season and that won’t stop on Monday. The Seahawks defense will have one of the greatest quarterbacks in the NFL against them, a test they haven’t had yet this season.
Rush Yards Allowed per game:
Seahawks — 112.9 (16th)
Saints — 111.9 (15th)
Advantage: Seahawks. Good luck stopping Lynch, New Orleans. He will find the end zone on Monday and hopefully live there like he did against the 49ers. The Seahawks should be good in stopping Thomas and Ingram and Sproles might not be up to his top health when the game rolls around. Time will tell.
Overall this game is sure to be a good one. Both teams are matched fairly evenly, both teams are coming off a long rest and both teams have something to play for. The winner of this game will likely control their own destiny as the end of the regular season draws near.
Too bad we have to wait 11 days to watch it. December can’t come soon enough.