1:00 PM ET, September 12, 2004
Clayton's 1st & Goal: Seattle's top seed pursuit
John Clayton's First and Goal: After early-season struggles, the chips may fall into place for Seattle to claim No. 1 seed in NFC. Plus, how will DeMarco Murray's injury impact his workhorse status?
LB Wright, Hawks agree to 4-year extension
Linebacker K.J. Wright has agreed to a four-year contract extension with the Seattle Seahawks, the team announced Thursday afternoon.
Sources: Wilson decides to change agents
Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, who is eligible for a new deal after this season, is changing agents, according to a memo the NFL sent teams Wednesday.
Falcons brush off Saints' 'funeral' trash talk
Roddy White and his Atlanta Falcons teammates collectively brushed off trash talk by New Orleans Saints cornerback Keenan Lewis in advance of Sunday's NFC South clash at the Superdome.
Alexander might be too much for Saints
As is the case in Major League Baseball, an NFL defense must be strong up the middle to be successful. If that old adage is true, the Seahawks and Saints can have all the big-name skill players they want on offense, but they must answer questions in the middle of their respective defenses before they can be considered legitimate Super Bowl contenders.
Fresh off their first 10-win season since 1986, the Seahawks enter 2004 with the bar set high. The offense, which ranked sixth in the NFL last season, returns intact and the defense should be improved in its second season under coordinator Ray Rhodes and with the additions of RDE Grant Wistrom and DC Bobby Taylor, and rookies Marcus Tubbs (DT) and Michael Boulware (SS).
However, the big question mark surrounding this team is whether it is strong enough up the middle on defense to make it even further into the playoffs or to have a legitimate shot at getting to the Super Bowl? Sunday's matchup against the RB Deuce McAllister and the Saints will help to shed some light on the subject.
Three years ago Jim Haslett was considered one of the bright young head coaches in the profession after leading the Saints to a NFC West title and the franchises first playoff win. Now, after coming up aggravatingly short of the playoffs in each of the last three seasons, Haslett's job is on the line. The Saints are looking to build on what was a strong 5-3 finish to an overall disappointing 8-8 2003 season. Much like the Seahawks, the middle of the Saints' defense, which includes DT Johnathan Sullivan, who underachieved as a rookie first-round pick last season, and Courtney Watson, a rookie second-round pick, will set out to prove it is capable against one of the game's elite running backs in Seattle's Shaun Alexander.
New Orleans Saints
|Avg Points Allowed||7.0||21.0|
|TEAM OFFENSE||TEAM||PER GAME AVERAGE|
|TEAM DEFENSE||TEAM||PER GAME AVERAGE|
|Pass Yds Allowed||SEA|
|Rush Yds Allowed||SEA|
|Seattle leads 2-0|
|Sep 7, 2003||SEA 27, NO 10|