Ralph Malbrough / Contributing Writer
Have you been trying to talk yourself into believing the Saints can win in Seattle on Saturday after getting run over in December? Of course you have! I'm here to help. Here are three reasons the Saints will win. Feel free to use them at work to impress your co-workers. Are they logical? Not really. Are they stat based? I never let statistics get in the way of a good column. Do they involve zombies? ABSOLUTELY.
1. Saturday can't be any worse than last time Saints played in Seattle
You might be screaming, "Ralph, IT CAN ALWAYS BE WORSE!" The Saints got beat 34-7, had the lowest yardage output ever by a Sean Payton team, and once the ball got kicked off there was only about one minute I thought the Saints could win.
It was the most complete domination of Drew Brees since he arrived in New Orleans. The Saints have had plenty of games where they looked awful (In St. Louis this year, Atlanta 2012 for example) but in those games a great deal of why the Saints got run over was because they bathed in gasoline and then set themselves on fire. Seattle did create one turnover and had a defensive score but the rest of the beating they delivered had more to do with how good the Seahawks looked than how bad the Saints played.
Saturday could be 40-0 but arguing 40-0 is much worse than 34-7 is like telling the guy whose house just flooded with four feet of water it's way worse than three feet of water. The entire house is destroyed so the details don't really matter. The only way Saturday could be worse is if locusts attack the Saints sideline or maybe a zombie attacks Drew Brees and eats his brain.
Repeat after me...
We have seen the worst Seattle can deliver and WE ARE NOT AFRAID!
2. Popeye's chicken is magical
As a group Saints fans have done some ridiculous things and these ridiculous things were mostly for fun. We embraced 'Get Crunk' by the Ying Yang Twins in 2009 and in 1991 we decided after touchdowns we'd scream 'Cha-Ching' just like a Rally's commercial.
The Saints even flew in Seth Green, the actor from the commercial, for the playoff game that year to lead a 'Cha-Ching' chant. Is that not delightfully insane? And of course in 1980 fans were so disgusted by the winless Saints they started wearing paper bags on their heads at the games. Since the Saints were a joke in 1980 fans decided to laugh at them.
Fans, along with sportscaster Buddy Diliberto, invented the iconic way for fans to show disgust in their own team.
Since Sean Payton had the team eat Popeye's Chicken last week to help break the road losing fans decided to help the cause and do the same. Social Media was filled with people tweeting pictures of the pre-game meal of chicken and biscuits.
Some might think the Saints won in Philly with great defense and rushing offense. We know better.
Clearly the three piece with red beans and rice has powers SEATTLE DOESN'T UNDERSTAND AND CANNOT DEFEAT!
The Saints are one more playoff win from ESPN's Ed Werder eating a spicy three-piece meal live on the air from the Saints training facility. This needs to happen, along with Popeye's running out of chicken Super Bowl Sunday because the Saints are playing.
I BELIEVE IN YOU POPEYE'S CHICKEN!
3. Drew Brees is going to remember he's Drew Brees and play great on the road.
Brees has been sort of a train wreck all year away from the Superdome. He was great late against Tampa but mostly he's been an average NFL quarterback away from New Orleans. Against Philly he pretty much kept the Eagles in the game the first half. He threw two interceptions and missed Darren Sproles for what was a sure touchdown but in the second half he was almost flawless. Brees was 10 for 12 and was in complete control. He is overdue to be great on the road for 60 minutes.
After he goes 25-30 for 330 yards and four scores he can wear his newsboy cap and call out every reporter during the post-game interview. He just needs the weather to not be a rain and wind-filled mess.
All year long I’ll be charting how the Saints defense does under Rob Ryan in certain situations. For a full explanation of how it works read this. Special thanks to the guys at Black and Gold Review who took the chart and made it interactive.Last time the Saints played Seattle Rob Ryan put the game in Russell Wilson’s hands and the Saints got strangled.
I’m not sure the plan changes much but the Saints need better pressure and they need to contain Wilson on scrambles. If Saints win Twitter might crash from all the photos people tweet of Ryan at Miss Mae’s.
Last Week: 1-3
Seattle (-8) vs. New Orleans: After pumping you up with reasons why the Saints can win you are probably expecting me to pick the Saints. I want to do it. I want to tell you every game is different and the first game will be nothing like Saturday but one thing from December keeps sticking in my mind. In December Seattle's secondary locked down the Saints in a way I didn't think was possible. The Seahawks physically had such an edge over the Saints offense at times it felt like the Saints could have played until Tuesday morning and not scored in double digits. The Saints could play better and Sean Payton could have a great plan but I'm not sure that's good enough against a superior secondary.
What the Saints did rushing the ball in Philadelphia was awesome but I don't believe it's repeatable in Seattle. Are we really counting on Mark Ingram again?
The only scenario I could see leading to a Saints win is Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson plays poorly, Saints get a couple turnovers, get a couple breaks from the referees, and win on special teams. And that still might not be enough.
Making that scenario more difficult is the Saints haven't had game where their defense created two turnovers since they faced Buffalo in Week 9. As great as Rob Ryan's defense is it just doesn't create turnovers in 2013. Believing they'll start Saturday is to believe in a miracle wrapped in a delusion.
Seattle is simply just much better than the Saints. Throw in the fact the weather is likely to be awful and I don't see a good day for the Saints.
The Seahawks remind me of the 2009 Saints in that they have struggled late in the year and seem a bit vulnerable. The Saints in 2009 lost their last three games but opened the playoffs by smashing the Arizona Cardinals to bits.
The thought of Pete Carroll hoisting the Lombardi Trophy seems odd and wrong on so many levels but that's where we are headed. The Saints won't get blown out but won't really be in the game for long. By the middle of the fourth quarter we'll want the game to end and be saying how 2013 was a great year. It was but Saturday will be its end.
New England (-7.5) vs. Indianapolis: If I gave out a five star lock of century the Patriots would be my guarantee of the year. In fact, if New England doesn’t win and cover YOU GET YOUR MONEY BACK.
Alex Smith shredded the Colts defense and he was one better throw from dropping 50 on them. Need I say more?
San Francisco (pick) at Carolina: I almost like the 49ers as much as the Patriots. The Panthers won the first matchup but San Francisco didn’t have Vernon Davis or Michael Crabtree. The Panthers are the shakiest home team this weekend. 49ers win much easier than people think.
Denver (-9.5) vs. San Diego: I have no idea about this game. Peyton Manning struggles in the playoffs and the Chargers have delivered him more pain than any team but New England.
The Chargers are hot but somehow I think 10 minutes into the game everyone will be like, “Oh yeah, the Chargers went 9-7 for a reason.”
Ralph Malbrough is a Saints fan living in Houston. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, find him on facebook, follow him on twitter at https://twitter.com/SaintsForecast or download his podcast at Itunes.