The Saints rallied to beat the Philadelphia Eagles, 26-24, in the wild-card game last Saturday as kicker Shayne Graham, signed only a few weeks ago, made a 32-yard field goal on the final play to seal the road victory.
The Seahawks will use their formidable home-field advantage (better known as the 12th man) in attempt to win for the 16th time in the last 17 games at CenturyLink Field. They have won five straight home playoff games and had a 14-game home winning streak snapped on Dec. 22 by the Arizona Cardinals.
Seattle is bolstered by its tough defense, which allowed the fewest total yards in the NFL (273.6 yards per game) during the regular season. In the teams’ most recent meeting on Dec. 2 in Seattle, Saints quarterback Drew Brees was held to just 147 yards – his fewest in seven years – and the Seahawks humbled the Saints 34-7.
Cornerback Richard Sherman led the league with eight interceptions and the team had 28 overall.
New Orleans entered the postseason with the fourth-ranked offense and defense. Brees, 34, threw for the second most yards this season (behind only Denver’s Peyton Manning) with 5,162 yards. It was the third consecutive year he has thrown for more than 5,000 yards and the fourth time in his career.
Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson put together a strong regular season following his impressive debut last year, throwing for 26 touchdowns and 3,357 yards with only nine interceptions this year.
The winner advances to the NFC championship and will play either the San Francisco 49ers or Carolina Panthers.