The New Orleans Saints have finally won a road playoff game. Now comes an even more difficult task: winning a second straight road playoff game. Going to Seattle will be tough but maybe covering on the betting lines is doable.
NFC Divisional Playoff Game – Saturday, January 11th
New Orleans Saints @ Seattle Seahawks
NFL Football Odds: Seahawks -8
Why The Saints Can Cover The Spread:
They are filled with confidence, and they have shown an ability to run the ball on the road. The Saints need to run the ball to win this game, and after rushing for almost 200 yards on the road against the Philadelphia Eagles in the wild card round, this team just might be able to control the ball and play this game the way it wants to. Keep in mind that the Saints don’t have to score a ton of points to win this game. If they keep the ball for 37 minutes or so and do not commit any turnovers or special teams mistakes, they can create a ball-control-based game in which field position is important and Seattle will have to drive 85 or more yards to score touchdowns. Seattle’s offense doesn’t need to be kept off the field in order to limit Seattle’s point production. This is more a case in which Seattle’s offense needs to be kept off the field so that it will feel a lot of pressure when it does take the field.
There are other reasons to take New Orleans as well. The Saints’ defense held up well against Philadelphia’s passing game. If cornerback Keenan Lewis can play in this game, New Orleans will have a player who can cover a large section of the field, thereby making it harder for a struggling Seattle passing offense to throw the ball.
Why The Seahawks Can Cover The Spread:
They are playing this game at home against a team that is tired and beaten up. The Seahawks’ offense has not been strong in recent weeks, but Seattle will not be facing a defense that is likely to overpower its offensive line. The Seahawks should be able to run the ball with a reasonable degree of consistency. As long as they can do that, they can set up play-action passes and take shots down the field. New Orleans’ secondary got worn down against Philadelphia, with the aforementioned Keenan Lewis suffering a concussion in the second half. As soon as Lewis left the game with his injury, Philadelphia began to move the ball very easily against the Saints’ defensive front. The Saints could be okay on defense, but in many ways, they’re sitting on a ledge, and if anything goes slightly wrong for them, everything could collapse in quite a hurry. Lewis has to stay on the field for 60 minutes and be at his best. Anything less than that would point to a big, big day for the Seahawks and their receivers on long passes. Ultimately, the Seahawks have all the margin for error here, and the Saints have virtually none.
The Saints are in a very difficult position. Adding to their discomfort is a long plane flight and the loudest outdoor stadium in the NFC (Arrowhead Stadium gets the nod in the AFC). Take the Seahawks on the point spread.
Pick: Seahawks -8