Philadelphia Eagles vs. New Orleans Saints
The Philadelphia Eagles and the New Orleans Saints face off on Saturday in Philadelphia in an opening round Wildcard Playoff game. The Eagles are -2.5 point favorites over the Saints with an over/under point total set at 54.5.
The Philadelphia Eagles didn’t clinch until the final game of the NFL season but they did what they needed to do to capture the NFC East in Chip Kelly’s first year as Head Coach. The Eagles offense was simply outstanding and did enough to make up for deficiencies they had on defense. Nick Foles became entrenched as the starting QB completing 64 percent of his passes but more impressively throwing 27 touchdown passes with just two interceptions. LeSean McCoy won the NFL rushing title rushing for 1,607 yards and he also caught 53 passes out of the backfield. DeSean Jackson was one again a playmaker at receiver catching 82 passes for 1,332 yards while Riley Cooper caught 47 passes. THe Eagles offense was fourth best in the NFL in points scored with 27.6 per game and second in yards per game at 417.2 but they were led by the NFL’s best rushing attack which averaged 160.4 yards on the ground per game. DeMeco Ryans led the Eagles defense with 127 tackles and 4.0 sacks,, Mychal Kendricks had 106 tackles and 4.0 sacks, Trent Cole had 8.0 sacks, and Brandon Boykin had six interceptions including the game clincher in the NFC East clinching win over Dallas. Defensively the Eagles allow 23.9 points and a 29th ranked 394.2 yards per game but they are plus 12 in turnover ratio. The Eagles surprised a lot of people this season but the reality of it is this is a roster loaded with talent.
The New Orleans Saints looked like they would be NFC South Champions in runaway style in the early going but it wasn’t meant to be as they were caught and passed by the Carolina Panthers and wind up as the number six seed in the NFC Playoffs. The Saints ad the worst defense in the NFL a year ago a ranking they drastically improved upon and with Sean Payton back on the sidelines the offense was clicking once again. Drew Brees completed 68.6 percent of his passes for 5,162 yards with 39 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. The Saints utilized a stable of running backs with Pierre Thomas being the leading rusher with 549 yards while also hauling in 77 receptions, Mark Ingram rushing for 4.9 yards per carry, and Darren Sproles averaging 4.2 yards per carry but also catching 71 passes. Jimmy Graham led the Saints in receiving with 86 catches for 1,215 yards and marques Colston had 75 receptions and 943 yards. The Saints averaged 25.9 points and a fourth best in the NFL 399.4 yards per game behind a NFL second best 307.7 passing yards per game. The Saints defense was the fourth best overall in the NFL allowing 19 points per game and 305.7 yards as they were number two against the pass allowing just 194.1 passing yards per game. Curtis Lofton led the Saints defense with 125 tackles, David Hawthorne had 91 tackles, Cameron Jordan had 12.5 sacks, and Junior Galette has 12 sacks. The Saints have a puncher’s chance against anyone but they couldn’t get it done against the best teams especially on the road.
Philadelphia is 6-20-1 against the spread in their last 27 home games, 3-10-1 against the spread against a team with a winning record, and 4-1 against the spread following a game that they didn’t cover the point spread. New Orleans is 1-4 against the spread in their last five road playoff games, 2-5 against the spread in their last seven games overall, and 0-6 against the spread in their last six road games.
This one should be a track meet and my free pick is going to be on the over even with the number set this high.