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NFL Week 13 picks: Seahawks will struggle at home vs. Saints

By Josh Katzowitz | NFL Writer

Drew Brees and Jimmy Graham will present problems for Seattle. (Getty Images)
Drew Brees and Jimmy Graham will present problems for Seattle. (Getty Images)

After watching the Patriots beat the Broncos in a key AFC matchup on Sunday night, it's time to look at a potential NFC championship game preview in Week 13 between the Seahawks and the Saints.

Seattle is giving 6.5 points, and if I was to put money on the Seahawks, I'd be slightly uncomfortable. Probably because I think the Saints will cover and will have the chance to be the team that beats the Seahawks at home for the first time since Week 16 of 2011.

Here are the three reasons I like the Saints in this one.

1) I'm still not a Seahawks believer, I guess. Which sounds stupid since Seattle is 10-1 and coming off a 23-point walk-over against the Falcons in Week 10 and an easy 21-point victory vs. the Vikings in Week 11. But I can't shake the less-dominating performances when Seattle had to go to overtime to beat the Texans and the Buccaneers. Or their close wins vs. the Titans and the Rams. Is Seattle a Super Bowl contender? No doubt? Could they lose to the Saints at home? I think so.

2) The Saints have the No. 3 offense in the league, and Drew Brees is second in the NFL with 3,647 passing yards. Really, since Sean Payton has returned to coach the team, the offense has been dominating. Though Seattle has the No. 2 pass defense, it'll be missing cornerbacks Brandon Browner (reported year-long suspension) and Walter Thurmond (four-game suspension for substance abuse). Obviously, cornerback Richard Sherman and safeties Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor will be playing, but the absence of Browner and Thurmond won't make the unit better.

3) The Saints front seven will make life difficult for the Seahawks offensive line. New Orleans will enter the game with 37 sacks, tied for most in the NFL, and the Saints will be going against a Seahawks offensive line that does a fine job while run blocking but struggles while protecting quarterback Russell Wilson. In fact, it's one of the worst pass-blocking units in the NFL, ranking 30th according to the Football Outsiders metrics. Cameron Jordan and Junior Galette could make life uncomfortable for Wilson and the men who are paid to protect him.

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