A majority of the 2013 "Monday Night Football" games have featured uneven matchups. That won’t be the case in Week 13, though, as the NFL schedule is set to end with what could be a preview of the NFC Championship Game.
The New Orleans Saints bring the second-best record in the conference to the West Coast, where they face the No.1 seed Seattle Seahawks. Of all the previous Monday games this season, only one game featured two teams that are currently above .500.
There’s a good chance the winner will end up with home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. A victory for the Seahawks would give them a two-game lead over the Saints, as well as the tiebreaker. Winning would give New Orleans the tiebreaker, and keep them in sole possession of first place in the NFC South.
Having home-field advantage would be big for both teams, especially New Orleans. The Saints are undefeated in front of their home fans this season, and they haven’t played nearly as well on the road.
Drew Brees, who is easily the Saints most important player, has put up much different numbers, depending on where the team plays. At home, he’s completed 73.5 percent of his passes for 19 touchdowns and three interceptions. On the road, those numbers become a 62-percent completion rate with nine scores and five interceptions.
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The Saints need to have success in the passing game to win. In their two losses, Brees had his second and third lowest quarterback ratings of the season. It won’t get any easier for him against Seattle, who sport maybe the best secondary in the NFL.
However, the Seahawks are dealing with a few injuries on defense, and the team is wary of how well Brees is capable of playing.
“I wouldn’t say he’s the hardest guy to read, but he’s definitely difficult,” cornerback Richard Sherman said, according to the Seattle Times.
“There are some plays where I don’t know if he knew where he was going at the read. That’s the sign of good quarterbacks, guys who can go through their progressions and make it all the way through their progressions. You can tell he didn’t say, ‘I’m going to this guy at the beginning of the play.’ He went all the way through his progressions, found the open guy and got it there. That’s what makes elite quarterbacks elite.”
The Saints, unlike in recent years, have actually done a god job of containing the pass. The Seahawks are not nearly as reliant on moving the ball through the air. Marshawn Lynch is on pace to surpass the 1,000-yard mark for the season on Monday. Quarterback Russell Wilson has 409 rushing yards of his own.
Both teams are undefeated in primetime. The Saints are tied with the biggest "Monday Night Football" win of the year. They beat the Miami Dolphins 38-17 in Week Four.
Player To Watch: Drew Brees
TIME: 8:30 p.m. Monday
PLACE: CenturyLink Field
Online Stream: WatchESPN
Updated Betting Odds: Seahawks by 6
Prediction: Seahawks over Saints, 24-17