With Seattle at home and the Panthers and 49ers dead even, the NFC Divisional round may belong to the home teams. As the NFL Playoffs heat up, so does the debate. Dan Salem and Todd Salem tackle this topic head on in part two of this week’s TD Sports Debate. Two brothers from New York yell, scream and debate sports.
In the NFC, the story seems very different. Instead of two, heavy, home favorites, there are four pretty even teams. On Saturday, the New Orleans Saints travel to Seattle to face the Seahawks. If this game was being played at a neutral site, it would be pretty even, especially after N.O.’s impressive showing on the road in San Francisco last round. However, playing in Seattle, the Seahawks should win.
Besides the fact that the Saints are clearly not as good on the road as they are at home, and forgetting even that the Seattle Seahawks are one of the best home teams in the league, there are two other factors at play here that favor the Seahawks.
1. Seattle has the best passing defense in the league, and New Orleans likes to pass. The Saints finished second in the league in passing offense, but the Seattle pass defense was so much better than everyone else in the league; like 400 yards better. Seattle allowed less than 2800 yards through the air this season. Do you know how many offenses finished with a total below 2800? Zero. So imagine the worst passing offense in the NFL, and now imagine something even worse. That’s what opponents play like against the Seahawks.
2. This game already happened. Week 13, the Saints traveled to Seattle and got their heads caved in, losing 34-7. Seattle’s offense has been lacking for spurts of this year. Playing at home against New Orleans was not one of those times.
In the other NFC semifinal, the San Francisco 49ers are playing the Carolina Panthers. Explain to me how there is any difference at all between these two teams. They are like mirror images of each other.
Wait a second, you may have “picked” the Seahawks to win, but calling this a pretty even matchup on a neutral site is bogus. This matchup would be decent in New Orleans, but anywhere else it so strongly favors Seattle that I’d think you would actually make a definitive statement for once. If the Saints try similar run-heavy tactics like they used to beat Philadelphia, they’ll be in for another long game. The only way they win is if Seattle craps the bed.
The other NFC matchup really excites me and not for your “mirror image” reason which is scary accurate. Take a look at the offensive and defensive ranks of our two teams:
Offense: Team 1 is 30th Passing, 3rd Rushing compared to Team 2 at 29th Passing, 11th Rushing
Defense: Team 1 is 7th Passing, 4th Rushing compared to Team 2 at 6th Passing, 2nd Rushing
Which team is which? Team 1 is the 49ers and Team 2 the Panthers, like it even matters. Their quarterbacks are even scary similar in style of play, stature and poise in the pocket. I’m psyched for this game because I LOVE smash mouth football. Maybe it’s because I’m a Jets fan, but two great defenses matching up is awesome. Two great ‘running’ quarterbacks matching up is awesome. Put those together and this game will be fun as hell. I’m not talking the 10-9 affair that took place when these teams met earlier this season. I’m talking a 17-14 type of game with big plays and big turnovers but little time in the endzone.
I’m dancing around the real question here, I know. Who wins? When all else is created equal I favor the home team. It’s not a rule as of yet, but it should be. Carolina is hungry for playoff success and playing in front of its home fans. Look for them to win on Sunday.