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Saints, Seahawks clash in NFC divisional playoff

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 10, 2014 at 6:26 pm •  Published: January 10, 2014
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SEATTLE (AP) — When they walked off the field in Atlanta last January after blowing their chance to play for the NFC championship in the final seconds, there were varying emotions brewing in the Seattle Seahawks' locker room.

Anger, disappointment and reflection were wide spread. Some, like quarterback Russell Wilson, were already peeking ahead what appeared to be a bright future. Others never wanted to experience those emotions again.

"We never want to feel that feeling again," Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman said this week. "I think as motivated as New Orleans is from what happened to them the last time they came here, we're just as motivated from what happened in Atlanta. We don't ever want to go there and feel that feeling of regret, of disappointment, of anger, of frustration, of all those things that you felt after that game that you felt like you should have won."

The Seahawks chance at making amends for what happened in last season's playoffs arrives Saturday when they host New Orleans in the NFC divisional playoff.

But now the Seahawks aren't the upstarts with little pressure and limited expectations. They are the top seed in the NFC coming off a 13-3 regular season that matched the best in franchise history and well aware anything short of a trip to the Super Bowl would be a massive disappointment.

After having last week off, the Seahawks say they're ready for this playoff experience.

"When we first got there last year a lot of the guys we didn't know what to expect. We're just young wanting to go out there, have fun and do our best," Seattle wide receiver Doug Baldwin said. "Now we kind of expect the atmosphere we know what we're going into, and we know it's going to be amped up so we're going to be just as amped up to repeat it."

In many ways, the feelings the Seahawks had leaving Atlanta last season are similar to what the Saints felt leaving Seattle in December. The performance New Orleans put forth in a national spotlight was surprisingly unimpressive. Drew Brees was confused, Jimmy Graham was invisible and the Saints' aggressive defense was exploited by Wilson.

The 34-7 loss to Seattle was significant in forcing the Saints into challenges they faced, having to win in Week 17 just to make the playoffs and having to spend the entire postseason away from the comforts of New Orleans. They passed the first two tests, beating Tampa Bay in the season finale to wrap up the No. 6 seed in the NFC then picking up the first playoff road win in franchise history in a 26-24 win at Philadelphia last week.

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