Tops in the NFC
On Monday night the thunder of 60,000+ voices will echo all across the northwest, signaling the return of ESPN’s Monday Night Football to Seattle for a huge — and I mean HUGE — matchup between the New Orleans Saints and the Seattle Seahawks. Oh what a night it will be.
The 9-2 Saints, a team rejuvenated by the return of Sean Payton, have looked like a Super Bowl contender for much of 2013.
With Drew Brees lighting it up through the air, New Orleans has suffered just two blemishes this season, a 30-27 loss at the hands of the New England Patriots and a rather perplexing 26-20 loss to the New York Jets.
The Seahawks, a Super Bowl contender from the start of the season, look to be hitting their stride and currently boast the best record in the NFL at 10-1. With Marshawn Lynch and Russell Wilson still commanding the offense, Seattle’s stellar defense has done everything it has needed to in order to ensure the NFL’s top position.
To say this game is big would be an understatement.
Here are five reasons as to why this game will not only be big but will be a contender for the NFL game of the year.
Best of both (offensive) worlds
Under Drew Brees and Sean Payton the Saints boast one of the top passing attacks in football. Spreading the field with their various big-time receivers such as Marques Colston and their larger-than-life tight end Jimmy Graham, New Orleans have averaged 317.3 yards through the air per game, ranking them second in the league in that category.
On the other side of the ball the Seahawks command the ground game with their physicality and ability to block down the field. With Lynch bruising any opponent who attempts to tackle him, the Hawks rank 3rd in the NFL in rushing yards per game, rushing for an outstanding 147.9 yards.
Something is eventually going to give in this game, but we’ll definitely see the best of both offensive worlds on Monday night.
Battle for Home Field
CenturyLink Stadium is the toughest place to play in the NFL, and the Superdome is likely second. To secure home field advantage in the playoffs would be huge for both of these teams, and don’t think the crowd at C-Link will not have that engrained in the back of their minds throughout the game.
Expect both teams to leave a little extra on the field in hopes of securing that crucial playoff advantage.
Testing the Secondary
With Brandon Browner already out with an injury (and now looking to be out for quite awhile after violating league rules) Walter Thurmond III didn’t exactly make the best decision when he decided to light up and get suspended for four games.
While the Legion of Boom is undoubtedly still one of the top secondaries in the NFL, expect Brees and the Saints’ offense to unload through the air on Monday night, leading to explosive plays, potential interceptions, and the possibility of huge momentum shifts occurring in quick succession. You won’t want to blink.
As mentioned previously, the atmosphere in CenturyLink is uncomparable to anywhere else in the league. It’s loud, it’s hostile, and it’s mesmerizing.
Expect nothing short of awesome on Monday.
Also mentioned previously, this game is going to get physical. Marshawn Lynch will make sure no defensive player in the league will want to hit him, Seattle’s wide receivers will jam and attack New Orleans’ corners, and the Saints will be looking to get revenge for their previous playoff loss that saw the birth of the Beastquake.
So don’t forget to tune in to ESPN for Monday Night Football, it’s going to be one heck of a game.