The Seattle Seahawks can take another step towards homefield advantage throughout the playoffs if they can control Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints on Monday Night Football. On paper this could be one of the biggest games of the year, and a Seahawks victory may come down to one thing.
Obviously there is a lot of focus on off-the-field news right now, particularly after Brandon Browner was suspended for a year and Walter Thurmond was banned for four games. The suspensions will put additional strain on Seattle’s secondary as they go up against the talented receivers of the Saints. Browner was already out with an injury, but losing Thurmond will hurt the depth even further.
That said, there will be an unbalanced amount of attention on the Seahawks secondary leading up to this game. Success still comes back to pass rush. If the Seahawks can harass Drew Brees and force him to throw early, there may be less pressure on the cornerbacks. It will be up to Bruce Irvin, K.J. Wright and Bobby Wagner to control the middle of the field.
Besides, it isn’t like the ‘Hawks have lost their entire secondary. Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas can still hold their own against New Orleans. Jeremy Lane and Byron Maxwell are also quality players that can do the job effectively.
Obviously the Seahawks cannot just assume that everything will be fine until Thurmond returns. There may be wisdom in reaching out to Antoine Winfield or Marcus Trufant, but something tells me that the Seahawks will look to solve the problem with in-house personnel.
Admittedly, the suspensions are frustrating and it shines the wrong kind of the spotlight on the Seahawks. On his daily show, Dan Patrick was suggesting that the league should consider punishing the Seahawks because the franchise has had too many drug suspensions in recent years. That is a bit of a stretch, particularly if you are going to be consistent with other violations.
Based on Patrick’s logic, are you also going to punish franchises if players rack up too many arrests, hard hits and negative comments about the league? Hardly.
The road to the Super Bowl just got a bit more complicated, but the Seahawks still have the talent to win it all. It starts with beating the Saints and it may come down to making Drew Brees uncomfortable.