The Seattle Seahawks have every reason to be confident heading into Saturday’s game against the New Orleans Saints. After all, the much-hyped meeting in Week 13 turned into a one-sided affair with the Seahawks coming out on top, 34-7.
And yet, the playoffs are a whole new world of competition. As coach Pete Carroll stated on Monday,
We start all over again. It has nothing to do with what happened before. We don’t care about that. Obviously, we learned and gained information for the game, as they did, but we start from scratch.
Confidence is a tricky quantity in sports. Too little, and you can quickly succumb to fear. Too much, and you do not respect your opponent enough to stop them in a key moment.
The Seahawks are a confident group, and they should be. However, there is much work to be done.
Russell Wilson is going to be in the film room. Percy Harvin is trying to get comfortable on the field. Luke Willson is attempting to stay loose and overcome a sprained ankle. Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas are mentally preparing to take on Jimmy Graham.
Carroll’s statements are obvious and expected. This is one of the most frequently-stated concepts in sports, that a team has to play one game at a time. However, his words are absolutely correct.
The Saints are still a great team, and Drew Brees is no stranger to the postseason. He knows what happened in Week 13, but he also knows that he can beat the Seahawks. Do you know why? Because he can.
The Saints just played a cold road game and beat a very good Philadelphia Eagles team in front of a hostile crowd. Are they afraid of the CenturyLink Field crowd? Probably not. If the Seahawks struggle on offense and can’t slow down the New Orleans air attack, this winnable game could quickly turn into a nightmare.
It is so tempting in life to think ahead. We’re taught from an early age to plan ahead and anticipate future challenges. If the ‘Hawks take care of business on Saturday, the San Francisco 49ers or Carolina Panthers will be waiting. Those are ominous foes, to say the least.
One step at a time. One game at a time. The focus needs to be on the Saints, and only on the Saints.