NFL 2013-14 Wild Card Weekend Preview: New Orleans Saints vs. Philadelphia Eagles
The second match up on Saturday will feature the New Orleans Saints who will have to travel to Philadelphia to play the Eagles. This game will also feature two the leagues most productive quarterbacks; one accomplished, one trying to accomplish things on the big stage. Drew Brees has all the accolades, while Nick Foles has played the best since regaining his starting job from the oft-injred and often ineffective Michael Vick who will be moving on to greener pastures with another franchise next season. The Saints have been a jeckyl and hyde type team this season as they have dominated at home and struggled on the road. This could play a factor in this week's outdoor match up.
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The Saints come into this match up with the better season record at 11-5. They, however, will have to travel, as they lost the division to Carolina, on the road no less, in a critical match up a couple of weeks ago. The Saints have gone 8-0 at home and only 3-5 on the road. This is a road game, and it could be a cold one at that. It could potentially snow hard on Thursday and Friday according to weather reports. Game time should be around freezing, although no snow is expected during the game.
The Saints have another issue heading into this match up, a lack of a running game a mediocre run defense, something you do not want going up against a back like LeSean McCoy. The Saints rank 4th overall on D, but only 18th against the rush, which could play into Philadelphia's hands.
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While the Eagles have probably the hottest quarterback in the NFL right now and an extremely dangerous offense with one of the best backs in the NFL, their defensive woes could come back to haunt them. In short, their weakness, like the Saints run D, plays right into the hands of their opponents. The Eagles have the 31st worst ranked pass defense. They can only hope weather conditions are unfavorable to passing come Saturday night.
The good news for Philadelphia is that their offense ranks 2nd in the NFL under new head coach Chip Kelley. Kelley has them running on all cylinders. They are top ten in both running and passing in his high powered offense. The Eagles even put up an impressive 34 in a severe snowstorm earlier in the year.
Analysis and Predictions
While Sean Payton is back and has the Saints moving in the right direction again, Drew Brees and his road woes come back to haunt him on the big stage. The Saints lack of a running game and inability to play big on the road, combined with Philadelphia's hot play and dangerously explosive offense, mean one thing. Philly wins this game and wins it BIG! Eagles soar onto the Divisional Championship game.