The New Orleans Saints have a lot of doubters leading up to their divisional playoff with the Seattle Seahawks on Jan. 11. The Saints have heard all week about how the Seahawks slaughtered them in Seattle on Dec. 2, how they were upset in the playoffs at Seattle in 2011, and how they still have only one playoff road victory out of New Orleans. However, the Saints were counted out like that in Philadelphia last Saturday, yet they are still in Seattle anyway.
The Saints defied history by taking down the Eagles on Jan. 4, although it took until the very last second. Nevertheless, they proved they could win in cold weather outside of New Orleans in January -- but doing it in Seattle at any time is another matter.
If the then defending champion Saints could lose to a 7-9 Seahawks team at Seattle three years ago, what can they do against a top seeded Seattle squad? New Orleans certainly didn't do anything against it a month ago, and it hasn't lived down that 34-7 defeat ever since. After all, it is one of the reasons why the Saints didn't win the NFC South and aren't safe at the Superdome right now.
For most of the season, the Seahawks and Saints were 1-2 in the NFC and seemed destined to meet in the conference title game, not the divisional playoffs. As such, Seattle and New Orleans should be a lot more closely matched, and likely would be in the Superdome. But because the Seahawks have been mostly unbeatable in CenturyLink Field with Russell Wilson as quarterback, a Saints win would be a massive upset.
Nevertheless, Seattle isn't completely unbeatable at home anymore, given how it lost to the Arizona Cardinals on Dec. 22. In addition, the Saints and Drew Brees are more experienced on this stage than Wilson and the Seahawks, despite how New Orleans hasn't gotten past the second round since winning it all four years ago.
The Seahawks have been perceived as virtually invincible in Seattle, while the Saints are seemingly useless outside of New Orleans. The Saints proved they aren't once in this postseason, but a win here would shatter all these stereotypes for good -- at least until their next road contest in the NFC title game.
The Seahawks will welcome the Saints home at 4:35 p.m. est on FOX.