For the second week in a row, the New Orleans Saints could pay the price for not nailing down a first or second NFC playoff seed in the divisional round on Saturday.
Instead of playing in the climate-controlled Mercedes-Benz Superdome, the sixth-seeded Saints will take on the top-seeded Seattle Seahawks in CenturyLink Field — where rain and wind could play havoc with the Saints’ passing game.
As of Wednesday afternoon, the forecast called for a 100-percent chance of rain with the wind out of the south-southwest at 21 mph. A high temperature of 48 is expected.
The Saints had to deal with temperatures in the mid- to low-20s in Saturday’s 26-24 wild-card victory against the Philadelphia Eagles, but survived to set up the game with the Seahawks.
Saints coach Sean Payton and quarterback Drew Brees often talk about being more concerned with wind, which was the topic Wednesday during Payton’s daily news conference.
“The wind means a little bit more; I think you pay close attention to that,” Payton said. “How long can you make a quarter last when you’re with the wind? How quick can you make a quarter go by when you are against it?
“It’s all field-position-related,” he said. “If it gets (stronger than) 15 miles an hour, it impacts what’s going on for two quarters.”
‘Can you hear me now?’
The Saints may again use specially made earplugs to combat the Seahawks’ boisterous fans, who set a Guinness World Record for crowd noise in running the decibel level up to 137.6 for a Dec. 2 game against the Saints.
“We will see,” Payton, whose team was drubbed 34-7 that night, said when asked if they will use them again. “Look, I don’t know how much worked well the last time. I think it helps with regards to the constant noise, but we’ll kind of see how we approach this one.”
Brees said the earplugs worked fine for the Saints, who got the idea from Brett Favre and the Minnesota Vikings when they used them in the 2009 NFC title game in the Superdome.
“Yes, they definitely quiet things,” Brees said. “I think there’s definitely something to them.”
RB Thomas sits again
Payton issued his first practice report of the week late Wednesday afternoon and listed running back Pierre Thomas as the only player who didn’t participate.
Thomas came out of the regular-season finale against the Tampa Bay Bucs with a chest injury and was inactive for the wild-card game with the Eagles on Saturday.
He hasn’t practiced since being injured against the Bucs.
There was some good news, however, as cornerback Keenan Lewis had full participation in the team’s workout.
Lewis suffered a concussion against the Eagles, but told reporters Tuesday he practiced even though Payton wasn’t required to issue a report. He was listed Wednesday with a head/neck injury, but said he’ll be ready Saturday.
T Terron Armstead (knee) had full participation Wednesday, while G Jahri Evans (ankle) and DE Akiem Hicks (ankle) were limited.
For the Seahawks, S Kam Chancellor (hip) and LB K.J. Wright (foot) didn’t practice.
Payton was coy Wednesday when asked if he’d have any kind of motivational ploys for his team with a spot in the NFC Championship game on the line Saturday.
Last week, the Saints broke out new sweatsuits and changed up their routine to break up their recent road woes, which obviously worked in a victory against the Eagles.
As he’s done in the past, Payton also placed empty gas cans in the locker of several veteran players to remind them to make sure they had enough fuel in the tank for the playoffs.
“We’ll see as the week goes on,” Payton said. “I think mostly, (it is) just the focus on getting ready to play a real good football team.”
After a 34-7 thrashing at the hands of the Seahawks on Dec. 2, the Saints are 1-3 in CenturyLink Field. In addition to the setback last month, they fell in the 2003 season opener and in a 2010 wild-card playoff when the 7-9 Seahawks dethroned the reigning Super Bowl champions 41-36.
The Saints’ lone win came in 2007 when they surprised the Seahawks 28-17 after opening the season with four straight losses.