By Matthew Asher
A lot has happened since Seattle’s Week 13 thrashing over the New Orleans Saints. So with that in mind, we’re going back to the well one more time to look at New Orleans victory over Philadelphia last weekend to focus on the keys to another Seahawks victory.READ MORE: Parkland School Gunman Nikolas Cruz To Plead Guilty To Massacre On Wednesday
Control Ball Possession
It’s no secret that Seattle is one of the best teams in the league when it comes to takeaways. In the regular season, Seattle was a plus-20 in the turnover department, the absolute best plus-minus this season. New Orleans finished the regular season at an even zero, tying them at 14th in the league with the Tennessee Titans and the Denver Broncos.
Philadelphia was able to force two New Orleans turnovers last week—both were interceptions thrown by Drew Brees. However, the Saints were still able to win the time of possession battle, holding the ball for nearly 35 minutes of gametime. That was actually par for the course as New Orleans finished the regular season averaging 32:50 of possession each game, the third most in the league. Seattle is way behind New Orleans averaging 30:32, the 14th most in the league.
Force Drew Brees to Win the Game
This may seem counterintuitive since Brees finished the regular season throwing for 5,162 yards, 39 touchdowns and 12 interceptions for a quarterback rating of 104.7. However, against Philly, Brees wasn’t really a factor as he threw two picks against just one touchdown and didn’t eclipse the 250 passing yard mark.
The win for New Orleans was due in large part to their running backs picking up a combined 185 yards on the ground, about double the amount of yards they averaged during the regular season.READ MORE: Miami-Dade AT&T Call Center Evacuated After Bomb Threat
With three members of the Legion of Boom making the All-Pro team this season, it makes sense that Seattle’s secondary is up to the task of limiting tight end Jimmy Graham, running back Pierre Thomas and wide receiver Marques Colston, the three leading receivers for New Orleans this season.
Have Lynch or Wilson Go Beast Mode on New Orleans
In the regular season, New Orleans allowed 111.6 yards on the ground each game, ranking them at 19th in the league. Against Philly last week, they limited the Eagles to just 80 rushing yards. The running game is Seattle’s bread and butter as the Hawks average 136.8 yards on the ground each game, the fourth best in the league.
Marshawn Lynch and Russell Wilson are responsible for 1,796 of the team’s 2,188 total rushing yards (about 82 percent) and 13 of the 14 team rushing touchdowns. The other rushing touchdown was scored by backup quarterback Tavaris Jackson in the Week 3 45-17 dismantling of the Jacksonville Jaguars when the game had already been decided. It doesn’t matter which of these two picks up the yardage, it just matters that one of them does.
Kickoff is scheduled for Saturday January 11 at 1:35 pm PDT.
For more news and updates about the NFL Playoffs, visit NFL Playoffs Central.
Matthew Asher is a freelance journalist. From an early age, sports have played a major role in his life. He graduated from Emory University with a B.A. in Journalism. After college he spent 2 years working with CNN Sports and still occasionally writes sports articles for several publications both in the United States and Canada. His work can be found on Examiner.com.MORE NEWS: Florida Lawyer Who Represented George Zimmerman In Trayvon Martin Case Arrested
Matthew Asher is a freelance journalist. From an early age, sports have played a major role in his life. He graduated from Emory University with a B.A. in Journalism. After college he spent 2 years working with CNN Sports and still occasionally writes sports articles for several publications both in the United States and Canada. His work can be found on Examiner.com.