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Saints' Jimmy Graham will test Seattle Seahawks' D

The key for any defense facing the New Orleans Saints is scheming to stop tight end Jimmy Graham.

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Even with their historically great passing defense, the Seattle Seahawks are eternally aware of Graham's ability to change the game Saturday.

"He's big, he's got a lot of range, he's got great speed and he's got good body control when the ball is in the air," Seahawks linebacker Malcolm Smith said, per The Times-Picayune. "He's somebody the quarterback is looking for."

As we pointed out Thursday on the "Around The League Podcast," during the Seahawks' lambasting of the Saints in the Week 13, Graham caught the only two passes from Drew Brees that went for more than 14 yards.

The Seahawks used a combination of linebacker K.J. Wright and over-the-top safety help -- with fellow linebacker Bobby Wagner and even cornerbacks taking turns in coverage -- to limit Graham to three catches for just 42 yards.

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The difference in this go-around is Wright is out with a broken foot. Smith will fill in for the 6-foot-4 linebacker.

"K.J. is obviously taller than me, he's a long guy so I think that was a good matchup for him in that case," said Smith, who is 6-foot. "But I think I will do a good job of running with him and sticking to him."

The Seahawks' depth is a strength, and Smith has filled in admirably the last few weeks. He's been opportunistic, with interceptions the past two games, but he doesn't have Wright's coverage skills.

In that Week 13 matchup, Wright played one of the best games a linebacker can against Graham. Simply sliding Smith in the lineup won't be enough to shut down the NFL's touchdown leader twice in one season.

Pete Carroll has been mum this week on the Seahawks' plans to scheme against the Saints tight end. You can bet, however, that the one he employs will involve just about every member of his defense.

We previewed all four divisional playoff games in the latest "Around The League Podcast."

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