By Jim Moore
Will someone explain why the topic of the Seahawks' most desirable divisional-round opponent is even debatable? This is such a no-brainer, it's a gimme putt, it's a slam dunk, it's a whatever cliché you want to use.
Who do I want the Seahawks to face next Saturday?
Let me give you the easy answer in two words: New Orleans.
If that doesn't make sense to you, let me try two different words: The Saints.
As I recall, the Seahawks flattened the Saints 34-7 in a Monday night game early last month at CenturyLink Field. The Saints were blown out from the opening kick. They were never in the game.
Some idiot co-host from "Wyman, Mike and Moore" picked New Orleans to win that game, but the Seahawks knocked some sense into him with their plastering of the Saints.
Maybe it's just me, but I'd prefer to face a team that you're clearly superior to in your first playoff game. I would like to take the easiest path possible to the Super Bowl.
I don't think that 10 years from now, anyone will look at that Lombardi Trophy in the trophy case at the Seahawks' headquarters and say: "Well, you know, there should be an asterisk on that championship because they didn't face the 49ers on their way to the Super Bowl."
Yet Michael Grey wants a piece of the 49ers next week, and fellow co-host Dave Wyman wants to see San Francisco in the NFC Championship Game.
I want to see the Seahawks play the 49ers again, too – next year in the regular season.
Grey loves the 49ers-Seahawks rivalry and wants to see a third game between the NFC West opponents this year. Wyman believes that to be the best, you've got to beat the best.
I sort of understand where they're coming from – it's why I wanted to see the Seahawks beat the 49ers in San Francisco this year, to take the NFC West title by going through the front door and beating them in their own house.
But, again, I'd rather face a Saints team that you've already crushed and has lost four of its last five on the road. Everyone knows how bad the Saints are on the road and how good the Seahawks are at home.
The fifth-seeded 49ers are the hottest team entering the playoffs, winning their final six regular-season games. (AP)
I'd rather see Green Bay beat the 49ers on Sunday, or Carolina beat them next weekend.
If you have scores to settle with San Francisco, settle them next year. I would expect Seattle to beat the 49ers, but they have won six in a row. They're the hottest team in the league, and they've got Michael Crabtree back.
I can picture Grey and Wyman and I talking about what a great win it was if the Seahawks face the 49ers and beat them. But I have also pictured what it would be like the Monday after if the 49ers knock the Seahawks out of the playoffs. I'd be sitting there thinking: "Be careful what you wish for."
So if I had to list them in order of priority, it would be New Orleans, Green Bay and San Francisco.
You could make a case for wanting the Packers more than the Saints and the 49ers. They're 8-7-1, so how good can they be? They also have the 25th-ranked defense in the NFL. But they're 6-2 with Aaron Rodgers at quarterback, and he's back. I'd also be concerned about extra motivation the Packers would have after losing to the Seahawks last year in controversial fashion
I also understand if I were on a talk show in Green Bay or San Francisco, I'd be saying I don't want any part of the Seahawks, hoping that some other team would knock them off. There's a reason why oddsmakers favor the Seahawks to win the Super Bowl. They're the best team. They're equipped to prove it if they have to.
But if I've got my choice, I hope they get to prove it first against the Saints instead of the 49ers.