The Saints beat the Seahawks, despite having several key players sidelined, earlier this season, and they may be facing similar circumstances when they get the postseason underway at Qwest Field Saturday.
Head coach Sean Payton did not reveal any new details about the condition of the Saints' injured players on Monday, but he did say he was "optimistic about the news in general."
FS Malcolm Jenkins (knee), RB Chris Ivory (foot) and TE Jimmy Graham (ankle) left Sunday's game against the Buccaneers with injuries and did not return. WR Marques Colston (knee), TE Jeremy Shockey (groin) and RB Pierre Thomas (ankle) were all inactive for the game.
Colston has said he will be ready to play in the first postseason game at the latest, but we'll get a better sense of the progress those players are making later in the week. The Saints will release an injury report after their first practice of the week on Wednesday.
The PFW Spin
New Orleans was without Thomas, Jenkins, Shockey, RB Reggie Bush and FS Darren Sharper against Seattle on Nov. 21. They were all inactive that day, PK Garrett Hartley missed a 27-yard field goal and QB Drew Brees threw two interceptions in the second half, but the Saints still won, 34-19, at the Superdome and never gave up the lead they gained early in the second quarter.
The team would obviously rather not go into a playoff game with some valuable contributors being hampered or held out because of injuries, but they've overcome health issues throughout the season and having done it once already against the Seahawks can only boost their confidence.
They'll be the ones traveling across the country to play in a hostile environment this time — and the Seahawks are tough to beat at home — but keep in mind that the Saints went into the Georgia Dome, where QB Matt Ryan had gone 19-1 as a starter, and they defeated the Falcons in Week 16 in a Monday-night battle.
Could all the injuries and a jarring level of crowd noise catch up with the Saints and play a big role in them getting knocked out in the first round by the league's first 7-9 division champion?
It's possible, but it's more likely that the defending Super Bowl champions won't let injuries and the difficulties of playing at Qwest Field be the things that stop them from advancing. The Saints can be at less than 100 percent and still handle the Seahawks.
They did exactly that only six weeks ago.