NFL Free Picks: New Orleans Saints vs. Seattle Seahawks 1/8/11

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It might be one of the great mismatches of our time in the NFL playoffs, and it might be one of the most sterling upsets in the history of the league. We clearly have a David vs. Goliath situation on our hands on Saturday afternoon at Qwest Field in NFL betting action, as the defending Super Bowl champs, the New Orleans Saints, take on the only team in major sports to win a division and get into the playoffs with a sub-.500 record, the Seattle Seahawks.

Matchup: New Orleans Saints @ Seattle Seahawks
Date: Saturday, January 8th, 4:30 ET
Location: Qwest Field, Seattle, WA
Game Line: New Orleans -10.5
Over/Under 44.5

Saints Notes: Pretty much everything here is in the favor of the Saints in this one, as they are really in a great spot. They were a great road team this year at 6-2, and they know that they can beat some of the best teams in the land; a road win over the Atlanta Falcons, the top seed in the NFC playoffs proved that from a few weeks ago. Still, there are questions surrounding the running game, which is essentially going to be a cut and paste mish mosh between RB Julius Jones and RB Reggie Bush. The two only had about 300 rushing yards on the year between them, but the rest of the running backs in this core are all on IR. That means that the pressure is on the lap of QB Drew Brees, who really does have the chance to be a hero for the city of New Orleans for the second straight year. He threw for 4,620 yards and 31 TDs this year, and his only bugaboo is 22 INTs. The trio of wide outs on this squad, Marques Colston, Lance Moore, and Robert Meachem is one of the best in the land, as these three combined for almost 200 receptions, over 2,400 yards, and 20 TDs between them. Where New Orleans has really improved from last season is defensively. This unit is no longer a liability, as it ranked No. 4 in the league in total 'D' at 306.2 yards per game and No. 7 in scoring at 19.2 points per game. We also know that without the terrible efforts of the special teams and the overabundance of turnovers by Brees, this unit could have allowed even as few as 14 or so points per night.

Seahawks Notes: Short of some fantastic prayers, great special teams play, and the resurgence of either an offense or a defense that really hasn't been around all season long, the Seahawks certainly look like they are going to have a very short stay in the second season this year. It isn't often that you see a team rank No. 28 overall in offense and No. 27 overall in defense and still make the playoffs, but then again, you don't normally see a team that is 6-9 controlling its own destiny for the postseason going into the last week of the regular season. The good news is that QB Matt Hasselbeck is back, and he already knows what it takes to bring his team to the Super Bowl. He threw for 3,001 yards and 12 TDs against 17 picks this season, one which will surely be one of the last of his career. Hasselbeck loves looking for WR Mike Williams, a former USC Trojan just like Head Coach Pete Carroll. Williams really has revived his career this year, catching 65 passes for 751 yards and a pair of scores. The problem is that there isn't another receiver with even 40 catches or even 500 yards on the season, and no one had more than four TDs as a receiver. To make matters worse, the rushing game ranked dead last in the conference and second to last in the NFL. RB Marshawn Lynch came over to Seattle early in the year, but he only averaged 3.5 yards per carry and had just 573 yards and six TDs to show for his work. RB Justin Forsett had just 523 yards and two TDs.

The Final Word: Though it would be a great story to see Seattle spring the upset, we just don't see any way that the Saints are doing anything but winning this game by at least three TDs. This is the big time right now, and there aren't going to be any letdowns from New Orleans' perspective. Brees knows that he just has to be good and doesn't have to force things. If that's the case, this should be an easy romp through Qwest Field in what could be another run to the Super Bowl for the fantastic Saints.

Free Pro Football Picks: New Orleans -10.5
Prediction: New Orleans 38 – Seattle 10

Lou Palumbo is the founder and part owner of the Sports Handicapping Community. He's been writing and posting free picks and sports handicapping strategies on the Cappersinfo forums and website for 15 years now. He enjoys handicapping just as much as he did from the very first day he built the original Cappersinfo website.

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