NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (9-2) AT SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (10-1)
5:40 p.m., CenturyLink Field
TV: ESPN, KONG 6/16. Radio: 710-AM, 97.3-FM.
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The series: Seattle and New Orleans have met 11 times in the regular season, and the Saints lead the series 6-5. The last time the teams met in the regular season, the Saints won, 34-19, on Nov. 21, 2010, in New Orleans.
What to watch: The Saints are a team predicated on the pass on both sides of the ball. In each of their two losses, New Orleans was beaten up by the opposing running back. The New York Jets’ Chris Ivory gutted them for 139 yards on just 18 carries. New England’s Stevan Ridley had 96 yards in the Patriots’ last-second win against the Saints. Neither of those guys is close to the talent Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch is. Seattle will stack up the league’s second-best rushing offense against the Saints’ middle-of-the-pack rushing defense. On the flip side, how the Seahawks scheme to stop Saints tight end Jimmy Graham will be interesting. The Patriots did it by manning-up a cornerback on Graham. The Seahawks will often use safety Kam Chancellor, and could even mix in linebacker Bruce Irvin, one of the few players in the league who can match Graham’s size and athleticism.
The pick: Seahawks, 31-27
9 Drew BreesQB6-020913th
Seahawks’ pass rush could decide the game.
43 Darren SprolesRB5-61906th
Scat back used in a lot of ways by the Saints.
50 Curtis LoftonLB6-02416th
He’ll be crashing into Lynch often as Saints’ leading tackler.
80 Jimmy GrahamTE6-72654th
The focal point of the Saints’ offense.
57 David HawthorneLB6-02466th
The former Seahawk will be looking to put big hits on his old teammates.
24 Marshawn LynchRB5-112157th
Seattle’s run-first offense the perfect counter to the Saints.
41 Byron MaxwellCB6-12073rd
Formerly third string, he’s now the starter.
76 Russell OkungLT6-53104th
Okung says he feels great and that the rust is gone.
29 Earl ThomasS5-102024th
Thomas will see plenty of action, with the Saints often throwing.
81 Golden TateWR5-102024th
Seahawks’ most dynamic playmaker with Percy Harvin out.