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Where: CenturyLink Field, Seattle, WA
When: 21.35 (GMT)
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The New Orleans Saints shook off the notion that they can’t win on the road in their playoff opener, though pulling off a victory at raucous CenturyLink Field in Saturday’s NFC divisional matchup with the Seattle Seahawks will be a more daunting task.
The Seahawks will try to win a sixth straight home playoff contest and secure their 16th victory in 17 games on their own field when they take on a New Orleans team looking to avenge last month’s blowout loss in Seattle.
Though all the attention leading up to their wild-card contest centered around their inability to win away from home, the Saints (12-5) snapped a three-game road losing streak with a 26-24 victory over Philadelphia last Saturday.
Shayne Graham hit a 32-yard field goal as time expired to give New Orleans its first postseason road win in six tries, as well as a shot at redemption in Seattle.
The NFC-best Seahawks (13-3), which led the NFL in total defense (273.6 yards per game), held Drew Brees to 147 yards — his fewest since 2006 — in a 34-7 home win Dec. 2. The Saints matched their lowest scoring output since coach Sean Payton took over in 2006, and their 188 total yards were the fewest under him.
After the one-sided loss, Brees said that if the Saints wanted to reach the Super Bowl, they’d probably have to win in Seattle in the playoffs.
The Seahawks have won five straight home playoff games dating to a 27-20 loss to St. Louis on Jan. 8, 2005. They also had a 14-game run at CenturyLink Field before falling 17-10 to Arizona in Week 16. Seattle bounced back with a 27-9 victory over the Rams in the season finale.
With the winner advancing to the NFC championship against Carolina or San Francisco, Payton is certainly doing everything he can to get the Saints ready for the rematch. He’s even had Seahawks logos painted on their outdoor and indoor practice fields this week.
Brees threw for 404 yards and two scores but 11-5 New Orleans was upset 41-36 by 7-9 Seattle in a wild-card round matchup Jan. 8, 2011.
The eight-time Pro Bowler has an 84.0 passer rating on the road this season compared to 126.3 at home. He’ll try to take advantage of his second chance against the Seahawks, who finished the regular season with the league’s best pass defense at 172.0 yards per game.
Seattle had 28 interceptions and an opponent passer rating of 63.4, one of just 15 teams since 2000 to hold opposing passers to 65.0 or less.