The Seattle Seahawks host the defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints Saturday in the NFC playoff game. Kickoff is at 1:30 at Qwest Field. Matt Hasselbeck will be the starting quarterback, getting the nod over Charlie Whitehurst, who led the Seahawks to victory over St. Louis for the NFC West title last weekend.
Sports commentator Art Thiel shared his thoughts on the Saints-Seahawks matchup with KPLU’s Kirsten Kendrick.
Listen by clicking the audio 'play' arrow above
Art says the buildup to the game may be even more fun than the actual game. With a losing record of 7 and 9, a lot of people are saying the Seahawks shouldn’t be in the playoffs. Art says that’s what makes it interesting.
“This is the unexpected. This is the unpredictable. This is the improbable. And we watch how it unfolds to see if they can overcome. And that’s just really a lot of human drama that’s fun, genuine and original, so I hope fans savor this.”
The Saints (11-5) beat the Seahawks 34-19 on Nov. 21 at the Superdome in New Orleans. The Saints’ star running back Reggie Bush was injured for that game. He’s set to play this Saturday. And Seahawks coach Pete Carroll is eager to see him play.
Carroll was Bush’s coach at USC and Art says they were responsible for the probation that USC is currently on. The NCAA found that Bush accepted improper benefits while at USC and was ineligible during the 2005 season. As a result of the controversy, Bush returned his 2005 Heisman Trophy last year, before most likely being stripped of it.
Regarding the Saints-Seahawks game on Nov. 21, Art says the Seahawks played well against the Saints. And he says it was one of the best games for starting quarterback Matt Hasselbeck. He thinks the decision to start Hasselbeck over Whitehurst on Saturday was the right one because he’s the veteran and can read the Saints’ defense.
But Art says the game is going to be decided in places other than quarterback; there’s a lot riding on the Seahawks’ offensive line. Art says if the Hawks can remain competitive into the 4th quarter, their season will be considered a triumph. He predicts the Saints will win 31-20.
You can now find Art’s work at Sportspress Northwest.