I know it’s late in the season to start a tradition, but back by popular demand (from my brother in law only) are my 10 predictions leading up to the game. This time it’s the playoff edition! I’ll start doing this before every game and check back the following week to see how I fared. Last week I made 10 predictions on the Bucs @ Saints and 6 of those predictions were correct. Here’s my picks this week:
1. Matt Hasselbeck will start at quarterback for the Seahawks. It’s great that Charlie Whitehurst played well and got them to this game, but Hasselbeck will be ready to go and he will start. There is no way Pete Carroll is going into a game of this magnitude without his experienced veteran. Reports claim both quarterbacks are taking reps at practice, but I believe Hasselbeck will be the only one playing barring injury.
2. Reggie Bush will have a big game. I know this is a rather vague prediction, but I’m not going to say he has 100 yards of total offense or x amount of touchdowns. He may do both, he may do one or the other. My prediction is just that he will have a significant impact on the game. His reps will increase dramatically with Chris Ivory out and Pierre Thomas questionable. Ultimately, I believe he’ll be the offensive catalyst that helps the team get a victory.
3. Devery Henderson will once again take kickoff return duties. Pierre Thomas is the backup kickoff return man, but even if he plays, I don’t see the Saints increasing his workload with special teams duty. That means Henderson will be back there returning kicks, something I’m fairly uneasy with.
4. 70% or more of the Saints’ offenses plays will be passes. This isn’t that bold of a prediction, but with Thomas hurting and Ivory out, the Saints will go to their possession passing game to move the chains. As a result, I think you’ll see 30% or less of the offensive play calls being runs.
5. Julius Jones will score a touchdown against his former team. Given how he handled his last goal line carry, I’d say this is an incredibly bold prediction because Sean Payton will never trust this guy near the goal line again, especially with so much at stake. But I just have a funny feeling that Jones will be out to hurt the team that put him on the street.
6. The Saints hold the Seahawks to under 3.5 yards per carry. The Saints will look to control the line of scrimmage early and shut down the Seahawks’ running game to set up obvious passing situations.
7. The names “Michael Vick” and “Brett Favre” will be mentioned at SOME POINT during the game’s broadcast. The announcers just won’t be able to help themselves.
8. Jeremy Shockey will play and have at least 3 receptions. Yeah, yeah, I know he’s hurt. If he can walk he’s playing in this one. Brees will go his way at least a few times on short routes with a lack of a running game.
9. The Saints eclipse 30 points as an offense. I believe they’ll have some big plays in the passing game, and I think they’ll be firing on all cylinders. They break the 30 point barrier.
10. The Saints have at least 2 false start penalties due to crowd noise. Qwest field is known as the loudest stadium in the NFL and it could cause some issues with snap counts.