The road to the Super Bowl in the NFC will almost certainly go through Seattle. And as the Saints found out the hard way tonight, Seattle is a tough place to play.
The Seahawks put a 34-7 beating on the Saints in a highly anticipated but ultimately uncompetitive Monday Night Football matchup, jumping out to a 17-0 first-quarter lead and never looking back.
Seattle absolutely dominated New Orleans on both sides of the ball. Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson engineered long scoring drives all night long, completing 22 of 30 passes for 310 yards, with three touchdowns and no interceptions, and adding 47 rushing yards. Saints quarterback Drew Brees was under constant assault from a relentless Seattle pass rush, and could rarely find open receivers against an outstanding Seattle secondary. Brees finished with just 147 passing yards, snapping a streak of 43 straight games with at least 200 yards.
Make no mistake: The Seahawks are not just a good football team but a dominant football team. A lot can happen between now and the Super Bowl, which is still two months away, but at the moment Seattle has to be considered the favorite to hoist the Vince Lombardi Trophy.
The win improves the Seahawks’ record to 11-1. The Saints are now tied with their NFC South rivals, the Panthers, at 9-3. The Saints and Panthers still play each other twice for NFC South supremacy and a likely No. 2 seed in the NFC playoffs, but it’s almost impossible to imagine either team catching the Seahawks in the race for home-field advantage.
And that makes it tough to see anyone beating the Seahawks in the playoffs. Seattle looks like a Super Bowl team.