NFL playoff preview: New Orleans Saints (12-5) at Seattle Seahawks (13-3)

Time: 4:35 p.m. TV: Ch. 5, 45 (Fox). Line: Seahawks by 8.

Last meeting: Seahawks beat Saints, 34-7, on Dec. 2.

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After nearly two weeks of waiting, Seattle finally gets a chance to prove it is worthy of the No. 1 seed in the NFC. After winning on the road in the postseason last week, the New Orleans Saints no longer have that stigma clouding their franchise history.

Less than six weeks after Seattle made a resounding claim to NFC supremacy with a rout of New Orleans, the Seahawks and Saints collide again on Saturday in an NFC divisional playoff. Since that Dec. 2 matchup, where the Seahawks all but wrapped up home-field advantage in the NFC playoffs with a 34-7 win, both teams have seen some of their definitions changed.

Seattle has lost some of its home invincibility after losing to Arizona in Week 16 to snap a 14-game home win streak. And the Saints are no longer seeking a validating victory away from New Orleans after knocking off Philadelphia, 26-24, last Saturday in an NFC wild-card game, the first road playoff win in franchise history.

“They’re going to know what to expect from our crowd, they’re going to know what to expect from us, and we’re going to know what to expect from them,” Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman said. “It’s almost like a division game in that sense because we’ve just seen each other, and you understand what the game is going to be and what it’s going to come down to.”

There’s also a bit of history on the side of the Saints. Since 2005, No. 6 seeds are 5-2 against No. 1 seeds in the divisional round of the postseason.

The Saints lost linebacker Parys Haralson to a torn pectoral in the Eagles game. It’s the fourth defensive starter lost since midseason due to injury, but cornerback Keenan Lewis (concussion) is expected to play.

Meantime, the Seahawks are without linebacker K.J. Wright (foot), who was largely responsible for defending Saints tight end Jimmy Graham in the December meeting.

 
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