Larry Holder of the Times-Picayune was good enough to answer five questions about the game for us.
Do you buy into this building narrative that the Saints are some form or running team now or was that more a one-week thing against the Eagles?
The Saints would like to be this running team they saw last week against Philadelphia. They were a top-six rushing team in 2009 and 2011 and having an effective Mark Ingram can keep teams guessing. But the sense I get in the locker room is that the Saints understand running against Seattle will be tougher than running against Philadelphia.
Drew Brees had one of his least effective games in years, at least in yardage, the last time the Saints were here. How does he usually respond to a down night for him or the offense?
Well Brees threw for 313 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions at home against Carolina the week after the Seahawks beatdown. So I’d say Brees responds pretty well. There’s no doubt Brees has been burning the midnight oil studying the Seahawks, especially the way Seattle took away any deep or intermediate shots downfield in early December. I expect a more potent Brees this time around.
Do you think the Saints’ banged-up secondary is the unit New Orleans fans should have the most concern about?
It’s a concern, but not as big of a concern with cornerback Keenan Lewis likely ready to play after being forced out of the Eagles game with a head injury. Losing players like Jabari Greer and Kenny Vaccaro have been a blow to the defense. No question. Yet the Saints have been able to play through the losses of key starters to maintain a potent pass defense.
What are the Saints doing different to try and communicate better in CenturyLink Field?
Some players will continue to wear the earpieces they used in Week 13. Jahri Evans said he’s played at CenturyLink with and without them and the pieces definitely help the crowd noise. I’m not sure if they used the giant cue cards like last time to help with personnel groupings. My guess is the Saints try to simplify things rather than complicate them.
What’s your pick for the game and why?
Seahawks 24, Saints 20 — Do I think the Saints have more of a shot to topple Seattle this time around? No doubt. But like my pick last week where I took the Saints over the Eagles, I’m going with who I think is the better team. I think that’s the Seahawks.