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Does history suggest Saints should win?

METAIRE, La. -- A No. 6 seed isn't supposed to go on the road and beat a No. 1 seed, right? And surely the fact that the Seattle Seahawks just routed the New Orleans Saints 34-7 means they'll be able to do it again Saturday.

Not so fast.

Recent history has blown conventional wisdom out of the water in both of those categories.

According to ESPN Stats & Information, No. 6 seeds are 6-2 against No. 1 seeds dating to 2005 (including the 2005-06 Super Bowl).

And according to the Elias Sports Bureau, this will be the 26th postseason rematch of a regular-season game in which a team won by 27 or more points. In those rematches the losing team in the regular season has gone 13-12 in the playoffs.

The most famous recent example of both was 2010-11, when the New York Jets lost at the New England Patriots, 45-3, on "Monday Night Football" in the first week of December (sound familiar?), before beating the Patriots 28-21 at New England in the divisional round of the playoffs.

Here are all of the 6 seeds to knock off No. 1s in that span:

  • 2005: Pittsburgh over Indianapolis, Pittsburgh over Seattle

  • 2008: Baltimore over Tennessee, Philadelphia over New York Giants

  • 2010: Green Bay over Atlanta, New York Jets over New England

Perhaps top seeds feel more pressure to hold serve than six seeds. But both Saints coach Sean Payton and quarterback Drew Brees said Tuesday that they don't see any difference in the amount of pressure they feel now as compared to the year they were the No. 1 seed in 2009-10.

"I guess there's always going to be pressure on both sides to perform well," Brees said. "We have high expectations regardless of what seed we are. I don't look too much into that, other than that I know we have to come up with a great plan and come out and execute it. There's always pressure to win and play well."

Saints offensive tackle Zach Strief said those recent historical examples don't surprise him because he thinks there's more parity in the NFL now than ever before.

"The fact of the matter is that the disparity between talent levels in this league, and how good a team is, there's not a lot," Strief said. "So if it's 51-49 [percent] or 55-45 most of the time, chances are you're going to split most of those games.

"Now, losing last time does not give us an advantage at all. But it's a new game. We're not carrying that past game with us, it's not counting against us. So we have as good of a chance of anyone to go in and win."