New Orleans Saints
By: Jason Green
Philadelphia Eagles (10-7 SU 8-9 ATS) vs. New Orleans Saints (13-3 SU 10-6 ATS)
Note – Jason’s pick below – the Bettorsworld Pick by Friday
The Eagles are coming off a thrilling one-point over the Chicago Bears in the Wild Card where the Bears looked to have missed a last second field, but goal, but the NFL changed it to a blocked kick. Still, Nick Foles and Philly are back in the divisional round facing the Saints, who crushed them earlier this season. However, after that bad 48-7 road loss the Eagles won six of their next seven Games and their pass defense played much better down the stretch.
Needless to say, the Eagles have to play a tad better in this Game than in their one facing the Saints where they GAve up 546 yards and only GAined 196 yards.
The Saints won the NFC South and finished with the best record in football. While they lost their last Game, it did not mean anything and New Orleans has Drew Brees that leads the 3rd highest scoring offense in the league. He tore up the Eagles in the first matchup and we shall see if the Philadelphia pass D is up to the task.
At 5Dimes sportsbook the Saints are an 8-point home favorite with a total of 50.5.
This season the Eagles are 8-9 ATS with an O/U record of 7-10 and the Saints are 10-6 ATS with an O/U record of 7-8.
These teams met this season in the Big Easy where the Saints laid a 48-7 beat-down on the Eagles.
The Saints are 4-1 ATS in their last five Games facing the Eagles.
In their last Game, the Eagles were in the Windy City and beat the Chicago Bears 16-15. The Eagles won even though they were outGAined 356 yards to 300 yards and they had two turnovers and did not commit any.
Nick Foles passed for 266 yards with two TD and two INT and was only sacked oNCe. Alshon Jeffrey led the way with 82 receiving yards and the Eagles got nothing going on the ground with only 42 rushing yards. In the first Game between these teams this season Foles was on the sidelines with Carson Wentz still healthy. He has to play well and it would help if Darren Wendell Smallwood, and Josh Adams can pick up some yards on the ground.
While New Orleans has the league’s 2nd ranked run defense they only rank 29th in pass defense and are tied for 26th in sacks.
Brees had a big-time season even though he did not pass for over 4,000 yards and did not pass for over 203 yards in any of his last five Games. However, in the Game against the Eagles this season he passed for 363 yards with Four TD and no picks. The Saints are pretty thin at the WR position, but Michael Thomas ranked 6th in the league in receiving yards and the team ranked 6th in the league in rushing yards per Game.
Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram combined to rush for 1,528 yards this season with 20 TD. In the matchup between these teams this season New Orleans rushed for 173 yards while they only GAve up 58 rushing yards.
Philadelphia ranks 30th in the league defending the pass and 7th defending the run. again, the pass D played better in the last few Games of the season and while they played well overall in the win over the Bears they allowed Chicago to come back late and move the ball in the air to try for a Game-winning field goal, which was blocked.
Eagles ATS Trends
4-0 ATS in their last 4 playoff Games
4-1 ATS in their last 5 Games facing a team with a winning record
5-2 ATS in their last 7 road Games
Over record of 22-8 in their last 30 road Games
Saints ATS Trends
1-4 ATS in their last 5 Games
11-4 ATS in their last 15 Games after giving up more than 30 points in their previous Game
Under record of 7-2 in their last 9 Games
Jason’s Pick: While the Saints will not crush the Eagles like they did at home earlier this season they will win and also cover. The Game may be close for a while, but the Eagles’ secondary will give up too many big plays with Brees picking them apart. New Orleans will also run the ball well and the fairy tale for the 2nd straight season for Foles and the Eagles will end in this Game in the Big Easy with a loss.
Bettorsworld Pick – On the surface, this would appear to be a difficult Game to pick. Lot’s of love coming the Eagles way as a result of the way their season came together down the stretch, starting with their road win against the Rams. Of course, the Nick Foles situation only adds to the story.
But let’s not forget that the Eagles were a nine win team and didn’t even control their own destiny, needing help in the final week to get in. Also don’t forget that if the field goal attempt to end the Bears Game were an iNCh or two further, they’d already be on the golf course.
What often happens these situations where one team has a little magic, is that we forget about their opponent. You know, the team that won 13 regular season Games. The team that took care of their own business. The team that earned their way into these playoffs and earned the right to have home field advantage throughout the playoffs. The team that performed so well all year that it enabled them to take the last couple of weeks off to get healthy. Yeah, that would be the Saints.
There are lot’s of storylines here. The Eagles revenge for the ass kicking they got in November. Nick Foles. Defending Super Bowl Champs. Destiny. Etc. Etc.
We agree that the Eagles getting blown out here a few weeks back should actually make this a better Game. As we have noted before, when a rematch occurs in the NFL, particularly when the Games aren’t too far apart, the Games seldom play out the same both times. In this case, we’d expect a much better showing by the Eagles. At least for a time.
But ultimately, when push comes to shove, we also believe the better team comes out on top more times than not and we believe the Saints are the better team here.
But will they cover?
Our model has this Game right on the number, 29-21 Saints. We could certainly make a case for the Eagles staying within this spot, however, the feeling here is that the Saints put this one away late and extend the margin. Saints -8