Take a look at what the Saints (2-4) are saying about the Seahawks (4-1-1) before the two teams meet in Week 8 at New Orleans.
Head Coach Sean Payton
(On what it will take to match up with the Seattle defense...) "They do a great job of keeping the ball in front of them, number one, and number two, they play with great technique. There's a lot of talented players. There's a culture defensively that's grown with confidence and they've done a great job. You see them contest receivers, you see them adjust their defense versus some odd ball sets. The game this past Sunday, when you watched it was actually, although it wasn't high scoring, it was enjoyable to watch because you recognize the battle of field position and the kicking game and then Seattle comes up with a blocked punt that puts them in position to tie the game. Those guys play outstanding defense now for a number of years. It's been a while but 2013 we played them twice. Monday night and then in the playoffs and they're always a tough opponent. Extremely difficult to prepare for."
RB Mark Ingram
(On the Seahawks defense…) "They're a great team, man. Lots of playmakers all over their defense. It's going to be a physical game. We're going to have to be able to be efficient, stay ahead of the chains, limit the penalties, no turnovers. Things like that will kill you against a defense of this nature, against a team of this nature who thrives on opportunities and turnovers. Just got to be efficient, got to stay ahead of the chains, and got to be patient."
(On what makes the Seattle defense what it is…)"First of all they have great players. Sherman, Kam Chancellor, Earl Thomas, Michael Bennett, just to name a few. Those are some elite players in this League and they do a great job for that defense. They all play well. Wagz in the middle, K.J. Wright, they've just got a sound core group of guys who are confident what they're doing and they play fast because they know what they're doing. They just have a great nucleus of guys that put them in good positions. They don't make a lot of mistakes."
(On if the Seahawks defense is the best he's faced in his career…) "Yeah, definitely man, I'd say that for sure they're probably one of the best defenses I've played. Just going there in '13, Monday night game we didn't play well, they beat the mess out of us. Then we had a good chance to win the game in the '13 playoffs, but we didn't pull it out. They're really good. They're really good. They're a No. 1 defense in the League not by mistake. They make a lot of turnovers, they play sound defense, and you've got to be patient against them, man. You can't kill yourself because they thrive off of that."
(On seeing Jimmy Graham in a Seahawks uniform…) "It's not something I'm fond of. I cheer for him every other game. I always hope he does well. I hope he has the best games ever. But it's going to be a little different seeing him in a Seattle uniform. But I wish him the best, man. That's one of my good friends. But it's going to be a little different being on a different team than him."
Get to know the faces of the New Orleans Saints' offensive and defensive units heading into the team's Week 8 matchup with the Seattle Seahawks.
T Zach Strief
(On how difficult a test this week will be…)"Obviously if not the most, one of the most talented defenses in the NFL and there's really no holes. You look at defense and you generally kind of find a place to attack and these guys essentially force you to play your best game and there really aren't any holes. The front's good, the backers are as good as we see, and the secondary might be the best in the NFL. So it's a big challenge, we've played them before, we know exactly what we're getting ourselves into against them, and we're just excited to have them back here."
(On the Seahawks giving up six points in five quarters against Arizona…) "It's not the first time and not the last time that they'll put on that type of performance on the road. Look, they were on the field for 97 snaps. Ninety-seven snaps they were on the field. You watch that fourth quarter, you watch that overtime and those guys are still flying around. It's not just scheme, it's not just people, it's their effort, it's their intensity. It's the way that those guys play and that's a testament to them because 97 plays in this League is a lot of football."
QB Drew Brees
(On what makes the Seahawks defense so effective…) "They're extremely well coached. They really invented the scheme now that a lot of people are trying to replicate, but it's hard to do when you don't have that personnel. They're so good in so many areas, from the front four to the linebacker core to the secondary there's really not a weak link in the defense. So you just have to be your absolute best when it comes to execution and putting yourself in favorable positions as an offense. Making sure you're in third-and-managebale situations, making sure you're understanding how to handle pressure, and just making sure you get positive plays."
(On if it's possible the Seahawks are the best defense he's faced in his career…)"Yeah, I feel like I've faced some good ones. I've faced a lot of really good players and kind of different teams get rolling at different times. But these guys, over the last four or five years, I think it's rare to have a stretch of time where there's so much consistency on one side of the ball, not just in the players that are there, but just in their performance. It's been pretty remarkable."
(On seeing Jimmy Graham in a Seahawks uniform…) "Yeah, it's going to be weird. Obviously a lot of good years here with Jimmy. Hated to see him go. We were close and he was close with a lot of guys and we all love Jimmy. We understand that things like that happen in this League and I'm sure he's going to be pretty amped up to be back. Our fanbase loves him. They love what he did for New Orleans and did for our team, so there's a lot of love there."
(On former Seahawks center Max Unger's role with the Saints…)"Max has been as good as I ever could have imagined. Not only just his production, but his leadership ability and his toughness and the presence that he brings to the locker room and to that offensive line room and to our team. He's tremendous. He was voted a captain this year and that was an easy decision, easy choice, because he represents everything that you would want in a captain."
This Sunday the Seahawks will face the Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans. Throughout their history, these two teams have battled 12 times splitting the all-time series 6-6.