When the(9-2) New Orleans Saints play the (10-1) Seattle Seahawks it will be a playoff game with mother-load of implications for both teams.
The Seahawks are riding a 13-game home winning streak. They have outscored their opponents 405 to 172 in those 13 games.
The only teams to score more than 20 points on the Seahawks in those 13 games were the New England Patriots (23) in 2012 and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (24) in 2013.
The Seahawks have one of the best young signal-callers in the game in Russell Wilson, who in so many ways reminds you of Drew Brees off the field and for his command of the moment on the field.
The Seahawks have the best runner in the NFL for yardage after initial contact in Marshawn Lynch.
Lynch is as physical a runner as anyone in the NFL and stopping him is the key to this contest.
The Seahawks also have the best run after catch yardage receiver in the league today in wide receiver Golden Tate and one of the most explosive slot-end/return specialists Percy Harvin in the lineup.
The Seahawks are known for putting great pressure on opponents with their front four and have one of the top young middle linebackers in the league in Bobby Wagner.
And they have the best secondary in the NFL.
The "Legion of Boom" doesn't have all the components in play, but they have the best one-on-one cornerback in the NFL in Richard Sherman, the best free safety in pro football in Earl Thomas and one of the most underrated players in the league in strong safety Kam Chancellor.
Add to that mix one of the elite special team units in the game and weather conditions that would dramatically seem to favor the Seahawks.
In this spot I automatically thought about my old WWL-Radio colleague Buddy Diliberto and him always telling me that, "Many times when all the things point in one direction and it just seems to be too good to be true, it doesn't turn out that way. These long win streaks don't hold up and there are always tell tale signs before it happens."
I can hear him almost repeat that comment over and over to me and so many times it turned out to be correct.
I thought about that when thinking about the Saints/Seahawks game all week long.
No one is giving the Saints much of a chance to win. Everyone will point to their record on the road (which is bogus because Sean Payton has the second best road record in the NFL since 2006 (33-20), them playing in bad weather and memories of difficult losses on the road come playoff time.
But for the Saints a win Monday night would be redemption and a shaking of those shackles many have put on them about being a team that is only good in a "dome" environment.
It is also a little redemption from a season of Hell in 2012 in which their head coach was lost for the entire season, their general manager suspended for half the season and the interim head coach suspended for almost half a season.
Players were accused of being dirty players and money being put on purposely injuring players.
That talk has been almost silent in 2013, but you know it is in the back of the minds of the players that had to play that 2012 season without the leadership of Sean Payton.
Now the Saints have a legit defense to back up one of the elite players in the league in Drew Brees.
The Saints are giving up just 17.8 points per game and in the 9 wins they gave up 20 points or less in each contest.
And they have developed a pass rush that has racked up 37 quarterback sacks, 4 more than the Seahawks have and they are just one away from tying the most sacks in the Sean Payton era in 2006.
Now, the Saints don't have to score 35 points in a game to win it.
They can play some serious defense and Monday night it will come down to turnovers and who can tackle the best.
The Saints can't allow Marshawn Lynch to gain a ton of yardage after initial contact and allow Golden Tate and Percy Harvin to make their magic happen after the reception.
The same can be said about the Seahawks in stopping Jimmy Graham, Darren Sproles and Pierre Thomas.
The Saints have to run the ball well to win this game. In their one loss of the season against Indianapolis, the Colts rushed for 109 yards on 29 carries.
In the Seahawks 27-24 win over Tampa Bay in overtime Bucs halfback Mike James rushed for 158 yards.
On a Monday night game versus the St. Louis Rams running back Zac Stacy rushed for 134 yards in the Rams 14-9 loss to the Seahawks.
But the difference in 2013 will come down to who makes the plays at quarterback. Russell Wilson is a really good football player, but the Saints have Drew Brees and the Seahawks don't.
Eventually what looks to be something that is overwhelmingly in the favor of Seattle, may not be the case.
Every streak comes to an end. Monday night the Saints have a shot to do something that hasn't happened since December of 2011.
They really do have an excellent shot to break the streak and when it is all said and done a "W" will be posted because of a much improved defense and #9 at quarterback.
Watch and see if these two teams don't meet again in late January.
Running down the lane
The Saints vs. the Seattle Seahawks should be a very close football game and it may well come down to turnovers and who wins the special teams part of the game.
The Seahawks have one of the top special team units in the NFL led by punter Jon Ryan who is averaging 43.4 yards per punt and placekicker Steven Hauschka who has hit on 24 of his 25 field goal attempts this season.
The Seahawks also have three excellent return men in Golden Tate, Percy Harvin and Jermaine Kearse on the team and who many think is the best "gunner" on special teams in the NFC in former Northwestern State (LA.) cornerback Jeremy Lane.
Lane was a lightly recruited football player coming out Tyler High School in Texas and was more known for his track skills than as a football player.
The 6-0, 195 pound cornerback started only 1 1/2 seasons for the Demons, but his size, foot speed and his quick ball reaction skills caught the eyes of NFL scouts.
The Seahawks selected Lane in the sixth round of the 2012 NFL draft and he has drawn high praise of Seattle head coach Pete Carroll.
"Jeremy didn't start a lot in college, but when he played he was an impact player," Carroll said. "We liked his athleticism and certainly he had the foot speed to play at the next level and we think in time he will end up being a good cover cornerback for us, but he has made a huge impact for us on special teams. He is fearless running down to cover punts and kicks. The guy hits people like a ton of bricks are getting dropped on them and he is making progress every day at cornerback. We love his potential."
Lane has racked up 7 tackles on special teams and he has averaged 23.5 yards per return on kickoffs in 2013.
"It's a privilege to play at this level," Lane said. "It's a dream come true and I work hard each day to get better. I never gave up that dream and I know when I am in the lineup teams will test me. That's just part of this sport that you have to accept and make them not want to test you and if they do, make a play. I have to be mentally and physically ready to play each week. I love to play special teams and everyone gets a break in this league in a different way. I know due to some injuries and us not having Walter Thurmond for four games my role will increase in the coverage part of the game and I am looking forward to the challenge. The Saints have Drew Brees, Jimmy Graham and Marques Colston, so we know we need to bring our "A" game against those type players. And I know when I am in the lineup they are coming my way."