The New Orleans Saints have seen that look before. The one the 2013 Seattle Seahawks have now.
It's the one the 2009 New Orleans Saints possessed.
Back then, the Saints road a wave of momentum to 13 consecutive victories. Opponents knew that the road to the Super Bowl in the NFC went through New Orleans.
Four years later, the Seahawks have most if not all of the pieces. They include a hot quarterback who is still way short of his prime, and a defense that is simply suffocating.
What the Seahawks did Monday night to the Saints was almost unthinkable. Holding the Saints to 188 yards, the lowest total in the Payton/Brees era, was one of the best defensive performances in the NFL in the past five years.
The Seahawks had every answer. Stuff the run, chase the quarterback and not allow him to get his feet set, and then do something that doesn't happen very much to the Saints. That is, match their athletes in space.
The longest gain for New Orleans came from a pair of 20 yard completions to Jimmy Graham.
Right now, in the first week of December the Seattle Seahawks are simply better than the New Orleans Saints.
Can the Saints close the gap enough to be a factor in a return January playoff game? It is possible but unlikely.
The best scenario for the Saints might be if another young, talented team with a great defense goes to Seattle first in the playoffs and then somehow upsets the Seahawks.
That team would be Sunday night's opponent, the Carolina Panthers.
How much respect do the Panthers get? NFL oddsmakers have made Carolina a three point and a half point underdog against the Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
We know how good the Saints are at home. The bookmakers in the Vegas shops are in business to make money yet they say on a neutral field the Panthers and the Saints are about even.
Sunday night's game against Carolina is that important. If the Saints can win the division, Carolina and San Francisco could be the wildcards. Either team could win a wild card game at Dallas, Philadelphia, Detroit or Green Bay.
Carolina could go to Seattle and possibly do what the Saints couldn't Monday night.
That 34-7 drubbing at Seattle isn't cause to push the panic button.
The Saints are still one of the best teams in the NFC. Remember, the best team in the playoffs doesn't always win.
The last three NFC champions were the 49ers, Giants and Packers. None were number one seeds.
What the Saints need to do is what they will do. Regroup, work on self improvement, keep winning and hope that someone else solves their potential Seattle problem.
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