NFL Playoff Predictions: New Orleans Saints vs. Philadelphia Eagles

Image Courtesy of NewOrleansSaints.com

Image Courtesy of NewOrleansSaints.com

New Orleans Saints

  • Record: 11-5
  • Offense Passing: 2nd
  • Offense Rushing: 25th
  • Defense Passing: 2nd
  • Defense Rushing: 19th

Philadelphia Eagles

  • Record: 10-6
  • Offense Passing: 9th
  • Offense Rushing: 1st
  • Defense Passing: 32nd
  • Defense Rushing: 10th

Keys to the Game

New Orleans: The Saints are coming off a very convincing win at home versus the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. However, during week 15 and 16, the Saints lost back-to-back road games. The Saints have had a hard time on the road this season; they have only won three of their eight games. This weekend they travel to Philadelphia where the fans will be loud and the weather will be cold. They could be in for another rough road game unless they follow these three keys to the game. First, the Saints must score early. If the Saints can score early, it forces young quarterback Nick Foles into a tough situation. It also might hurt the Eagles game plan of rushing the ball non-stop. Secondly, they need to stop the rushing attack. The Saints have a good secondary that can prevent the big pass plays, so they need to put eight players in the box and try to shut down the Eagles rushing attack. Lastly, the Saints need to pressure Foles into making the throws he doesn’t want to make. This means bringing pressure, showing different coverage schemes and more. They need to keep the young gun guessing.

Philadelphia: The Eagles barely made it in to the playoffs, but the only thing that truly matters is that they made it. Philadelphia is a very interesting team this season and it starts with new head coach Chip Kelly. He has this team believing in his style of football and they are playing well. However, beating the Saints will be no walk in the park. The Eagles will have to bring their best this weekend. Some keys for the Eagles, first run the ball all day. The Saints are average when it comes to stopping the run. The Eagles need to use Shady McCoy and Bryce Brown like they have all season. Second, Nick Foles needs to keep being himself. Foles is hot this season and certainly no one would have guessed it. He has thrown 27 touchdowns and only two interceptions all season. He is a young gun who is thriving in this offense. Lastly, get physical with the Drew Brees. Pocket passers like Drew Brees hate when they have to scramble around and take hits. The Eagles need to get in Brees’s face non-stop and make sure he doesn’t get comfortable.

What to Watch for

New Orleans: The Saints have been horrible on the road this season but it won’t get easier has they head to Philadelphia. This fans are going to be crazy, the weather will be cold and Chip Kelly will his team fired up. I am looking forward to how this team handles the fans, the weather and another road game. This is a playoff game, so the Saints need to get over their road game woes in a hurry if they want to be playing next weekend.

Philadelphia: All eyes are on Chip Kelly and Nick Foles. Kelly is a coach who is fast pace and doesn’t care about time of possession. I don’t expect him to change this just because he is facing a high flying team who scores often. As for Foles, he is young and never played in a playoff game. With all the pressure last week on his back, he handled himself well versus Dallas, maybe the kid will be fine, only time will tell.

Prediction

This game is probably one of my favorite match ups of the weekend. In my eyes both teams could win and both teams could make the Super Bowl. This game is going to be a tough one and right now Philadelphia is the slight favorite. Since the Saints can’t play well on the road and Philadelphia is a tough place to play, I am going with the Eagles. Fly, Eagles Fly!

Final Score: Philadelphia 31 New Orleans 27