The Seattle Seahawks became the first NFL team this season to clinch a playoff spot after pummeling the New Orleans Saints 34-7 in Monday Night Football.
Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson threw for 310 yards as the Seahawks offense scored early and often, rattling off first downs seemingly at will against a New Orleans defense that struggled to contain the scrappy signal caller. But as impressive as Seattle’s offense was on Monday night, the team’s defense dominated the discussion among analysts on Tuesday morning. Already among the best in the league going into the game, the Seahawks had a commanding performance, holding Drew Brees and the Saints to 188 total yards. The Saints had been averaging close to 400 yards per game this season.
With the win, Seattle snagged the first playoff spot of the 2013 season and gave itself the inside track to secure home field advantage for the playoffs. To reach the Super Bowl, the next two closest teams in the conference — the Saints or the Carolina Panthers — would have to travel to the west coast and play outside in likely sloppy weather in a stadium where the crowd noise routinely reaches the decibel-level of a military jet.
The Saints will play the Panthers twice in the next three weeks, which will likely determine the second-place team in the NFC.