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NFL Betting: Saints vs Seahawks Preview

Posted by Stan Jenkins on 11/30/2013 11:23:33 AM

The New Orleans Saints and the Seattle Seahawks are the two best teams in the NFC through 12 weeks. Their meeting in week 13 could decide the top seed in the NFC playoffs.

New Orleans Saints @ Seattle Seahawks

Betting line: Seahawks -5.5

The importance of this game cannot be overstated. The New Orleans Saints and the Seattle Seahawks are both teams that play a lot better at home than on the road. New Orleans has lost road games to the New York Jets and the New England Patriots and very nearly lost to the Atlanta Falcons this past Thursday night, in what was a sluggish performance. The Seahawks are 10-1, but they have wobbled a number of times on the road, especially in near-losses to the likes of the St. Louis Rams and a Carolina Panther team that – in week one of the season – was not the force it is today. Both teams really need to play their playoff games at home. They both want the top seed in the NFC playoffs and the home-field advantage that goes with it. This makes Monday’s game so important. Seattle has a cushion in the NFC West, so the Seahawks are looking very good for a first-round bye, but the Saints face a much more urgent situation. They are trying to hold off Carolina in the NFC South, and need to do a lot more work in order to win the division so that they can get a first-round bye at the very least. Since New Orleans is playing Carolina twice in the next four weeks, getting a win in Seattle would give the Saints a needed cushion, enough to probably win the NFC South as long as they can split their two head-to-head games with Carolina.

How will this game play out? The Seahawks are coming off a bye week. This is something that could cut in either direction. On one hand, the team is getting healthy at the right time, and this off week will preserve that measure of health. Percy Harvin made his debut as a Seahawk in week 11 of the season against the Minnesota Vikings, his former team. The offensive line is getting some of its starters back, making the running game more of a threat and giving Marshawn Lynch more touches in the Seattle backfield. A week away from football, plus the ability to prepare even more fully for the Saints, could very well give the Seahawks the game plan and the physical freshness they’ll need to be at their best. On the other hand, the bye week could mean that Harvin and the other returning players in the Seattle lineup could have their rhythm disrupted. Harvin probably wanted to play another game in week 12, but he had to sit due to the off week. The Seattle team as a whole probably wanted to play the Saints without having to wait. It could be that this team will be sluggish and a bit rusty on Dec. 2.

Yet, in the end, New Orleans’ offensive line will have a very hard time performing in Seattle against a fierce defensive line and a raucous crowd. This is one of the most intimidating night venues in the NFL, and that’s probably why the Seahawks will win a close contest.

NFL Betting Pick: Saints +5.5

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