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Keys to the Game: Saints vs. Seahawks

hispandrix
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Defense

Nov 21, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) is sacked by New Orleans Saints defensive end Keyunta Dawson (55) and defensive end Akiem Hicks (76) in the second half at the Georgia Dome. The Saints won 17-13. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

Get your barf bags ready, as you’ll see the Marshawn Lynch run from 2011 numerous times when they analyze this matchup, and hear it talked about a billion times.

Much of the focus centers around the Seahawks defense, and rightfully so, as they are a top unit by anyone’s standards. But would you believe the Saints defense is right there with them?

The Seahawks defense is giving up only 293 yards/game, 180 passing yards/game, and 113 rushing yards/game. As for the Saints? The Rob Ryan Unit is giving up 310 yards/game, 198 passing yards/game, and 112 rushing yards/game. The Seahawks have 33 sacks this season as opposed to the Saints 37 sacks (tied for 2nd). Surely you didn’t think it would be that close, right?

I believe the single key here is controlling Marshawn Lynch, nothing more, nothing less. It seems easily predictable that one would suggest that, and there’s nothing to take away from Russell Wilson, but I am positive the Saints would rather have Russell Wilson beat them as opposed to getting churned up on the ground. The Seahawks are averaging 210.5 passing yards/game.

The other thing to keep an eye on is Russell Wilson scrambling. He is quite an elusive runner, and is no stranger to stretching plays. He’s been sacked 29 times this season, so when Junior Galette, Akiem Hicks, and Cam Jordan have the chance, they have to bring Wilson down and not ‘give him the opportunity’. Wilson has 19TD-6INT the season, and has played fairly mistake free after showing that he can be a little vulnerable early this season, fumbling 8 times in the first 7 games of the season.

I would also like to point out that this is likely to be the first game we have our full complement of safeties Roman Harper, Malcolm Jenkins, and Kenny Vaccaro. They haven’t played together since early this season. Having that problem isn’t a bad thing.

What To Watch For: Aggressive play. The Saints are tied with three other teams (Panthers, Colts, Chargers) at the bottom of the league in terms of forced fumbles this season, with only five. Marshawn Lynch has fumbled three times this season (had four last season). We are extremely grateful for the Saints tackling, as they are among the league’s best this season, but maybe we can see a guy like Kenny Vaccaro or Roman Harper go for the ball when David Hawthorne or Curtis Lofton have Lynch wrapped up.

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