Fearless Saturday pick: How I think it will go down
Jan 7, 2011, 10:17 AM | Updated: Apr 4, 2011, 7:47 pm
By Dave Grosby
Ahh, feels good to back in the post-season, doesn’t it?
If nothing else, having a bowl game for the Huskies and playoffs for the Seahawks shows that things are turning around up here after an epic period of awful football. When you think about it, neither of the two local teams were even close to the post-season over the past couple of years, not even competitive, so this feels good.
And what about the lesson of those Huskies? Beaten by 35 at home they turned around and won on a neutral site. Now bowl games and playoffs are not the same, and the Saints are defending world champions, but there are some similar things working here.
The Saints have had a lousy week. They find out they don’t play their first playoff game nearby in a friendly dome (which is what they expected) but two time zones away in our isolated little corner. Two running backs go on injured reserve, the 6-foot-7 tight end revelation Jimmy Graham is not going to play. The Saints have never won a true road playoff game and this was one of the only teams during the year to throw it down field on you. Mike Williams might have had 200 yards if he hadn’t got banged up. The Seahawks look like a bit of a problem.
Fullback Heath Evans is right, the Saints will eventually find out this year if they are good or great, but what about Saturday? Well I expect the Saints to score a touchdown on their opening drive whether or not they win the toss. I think the Seahawks might be tight. As great as Drew Brees is without Graham and his top backs he’s going to be limited. Everyone talks about how Brees, like Peyton Manning, can just throw more but when Manning lost most of his weapons this year he threw 11 picks during a three-game losing streak that dropped the Colts to 6-6. No matter how great, no one man can do it alone in the NFL. Brees has thrown 22 picks this year.
So the Saints take the lead but the Seahawks battle. I see a big day for Mike Williams. I see some redemption for Matt Hasselbeck. I see the Seahawks somehow taking a 21-20 lead with about five minutes to go. But then I do see Brees leading that game-winning drive. The great ones usually do – and make no mistake about it, Brees is a great one. A Brees to Marques Colston touchdown pass with 1:55 remaining gives the Saints a 27-21 lead. Sean Payton, ever the gambler, does not kick off to Leon Washington but squibs it, giving the ‘Hawks hope and great field position with one timeout remaining. But three plays later safety Roman Harper steps in front of John Carlson with the pick that ends it.
Saints 27, Seahawks 21