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NFC Wild Card
The 2nd Wild Card playoff game on Saturday features the New Orleans Saints heading East to take on the Philadelphia Eagles in snowy, cold Philly. In this game, the Eagles are currently -2.5 point favorites at betonline with a total of 53.5. The action on this one according to the betting trends at sportsbook.com is fairly even with 53% of the wagers coming in on the Saints. Bettors also favor the over in this game with 62% of the wagers coming in on over the total of 53.5.
It's tempting to raise issue with the Eagles easy schedule this year. The NFC East was a joke and the rest of their dance card was loaded with cupcakes. They faced 4 playoff teams, lost to 3 of them and beat the other one, Green Bay, who was playing without Aaron Rodgers for the first time. But all of those games against playoff teams came within the 1st quarter of this season, and the Eagles actually have a legitimate excuse for their early season troubles. They were still finding their way, searching for a QB and learning all of the new schemes implemented by new coach Chip Kelly.
The other hot topic this week concerning this game is the Saints road record. I'm already tired of hearing about it as I imagine the Saints are as well. But the media and the taking heads will hammer this point home right up until kickoff Saturday Night. You'll hear over and over how the Saints are 0-5 on the road in the playoffs and how they are 3-5 on the road this year. My take? First, you have to take each year by itself. What the Saints did in those other 5 road playoff games has no bearing whatsoever on this Saints team. Besides, didn't the Saints win the Super Bowl? Isn't the Super Bowl a road game?
Back to this years team. Sure, the Saints were 3-5 on the road. But among those 5 losses were games against the Patriots, Seahawks and Panthers, any of which could end up in Giants Stadium in February. The Eagles lost 4 games at home this year. Why isn't anyone talking about the Eagles inability to win in their own building, negating any home field advantage they may have?
This game won't be decided because of a teams road or home performance or any other historical trends that the talking heads will pull out of a hat and wave before you this week. This game will be deiced on the field based on the overall talents of both teams on both sides of the ball, along with the coaching abilities of Sean Peyton and Chip Kelly.
I think the bigger story in this game is Drew Brees and the Saints 2nd ranked passing attack going up against an Eagles pass defense that ranks 32nd, dead LAST in the NFL. Can you say field day? The Saints can run the ball as well with Sproles but the Saints strength is Drew Brees and the passing game and if you're going to go up against a defense made to order, wouldn't it be the defense that's ranked dead last against the pass?
I think the Saints grab a road playoff win here and shut the critics up, at least until their next road playoff game when they'll be screaming that the Saints are 1-5 on the road in the playoffs! Saints +3
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