Analyst Says Saints Won’t “Sniff” the Playoffs in 2016

5 of 7

3. Seattle Seahawks / NFC West

Nov 29, 2015; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks tight end Jimmy Graham (88) celebrates after a third quarter reception against the Pittsburgh Steelers at CenturyLink Field. Seattle defeated Pittsburgh, 39-30. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

For Saints fans, the Seahawks are a team that I don’t have to say much about for people to understand how big of a threat this team can be.

After reaching the Super Bowl two years in a row (Super Bowls XLVIII and XLIX), Seattle fell short in their quest for a 3rd straight Super Bowl when they were eliminated in the Divisional Round of the NFC Playoffs by Carolina.

The Seahawks will be undergoing a slight change of identity as the y make their first regular season trip to the Superdome since the 2010 season.

We already told you about the Seahawks losing  LB Bruce Irvin to the Oakland Raiders in Free Agency, but the Seahawks will be undergoing a major adjustment to their offense after the abrupt retirement of All-Pro RB Marshawn Lynch.

Seattle at the moment appears to have a clear “heir apparent” to Lynch in Thomas Rawls, who said Thursday that he’ll be running soon, and by all accounts is on track to be ready for the beginning of the 2016 season after missing the last two games and the playoffs last season with a broken ankle.

But while Rawls should be fine for the 2016 season and his play last season answered any question about his ability, the Seahawks can’t know yet that Rawls will be as durable as Lynch — who missed just one game due to injury from the time he was acquired in 2010 from the Buffalo Bills, through the 2014 season before suffering a few injuries in what turned out to be his last year with the team in 2015.

One question is how much will Seattle want to invest in a running back in the NFL Draft later this month The Seahawks have not taken a running back in the draft since selecting Michael in the second round and Spencer Ware in the sixth round in 2013, unearthing a gem in Rawls as an undrafted free agent.

Given team needs and the perceived strength of this draft, conventional wisdom has held that the Seahawks would likely look to taking an offensive lineman or defensive tackle with their first few picks. But would they consider a player say like Alabama All-American and Heisman Trophy winner Derrick Henry — to pick up where Lynch left off?

One thing that won’t be different for the Saints is that head coach Pete Carroll will still be overseeing “The Legion of Boom” defense featuring CB Richard Sherman and safety Kam Chancellor, so even though the Saints will finally get their long-awaited “rematch” with them (following their 2013 Playoff loss at Seattle) in the Superdome this time, it still promises to be a “tough out” for the Saints against the NFC’s one truly “elite” team of the last few years.

Oh and by the way: did I forget to mention — Jimmy Graham’s first time playing the Saints since his trade to Seattle, and in the Superdome, no less?

Be sure to get to the Dome early, for that one…..

Next: Going to Kansas City -- Kansas City, Here I Come