Our fourth and final fixture this week sees the NFC #1 seed Saints play host to the #6 seed Eagles. The Eagles will be looking for revenge in this one after suffering a 48-7 humiliation in New Orleans earlier this season. The Saints will be looking to build on their excellent campaign so far and use their rest advantage to inflict another similar beatdown. Let’s wrap up our coverage with our best bets from the big easy.
Where to Watch: ESPN, 7 Mate, or NFL Game Pass Monday 8:40 am
New Orleans Saints
The Saints haven’t played a meaningful game since the Steelers in Week 16, enjoying a Bye last week and a meaningless affair against Carolina in Week 17. It was refreshing to see Drew Brees look back to his best in this one, completing 27/39 passes for 326 yards and a score. Michael Thomas was again the primary beneficiary, hauling in 11 catches for 109 yards and a touchdown. Despite a poor performance in that one, both Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara have been excellent this season, combining for 1500 yards and 20 touchdowns.
Defensively, not much has been made over just how much the Saints have improved over the second half of the year. They went through a 6-game stretch holding each of their opponents to 17 points or less. With how dynamic this offence is, these levels will be more than enough to win a Super Bowl. They did struggle somewhat in the passing game against Pittsburgh, allowing Roethlisberger to throw for 350 yards and 3 scores. If they can contain Big **** Nick in this one, New Orleans should cruise to victory here.
The Eagles make the trip to New Orleans off the back of a gritty 1-point win over Chicago last week. Nick Foles again came up huge in the clutch, throwing for 266 yards and 2 touchdowns, including the game-winner. Receiver Alshon Jeffery had a solid day in the office against his former team, hauling in 6 catches for 82 yards. The running game was surprisingly nowhere to be seen, registering only 42 yards all afternoon on 23 attempts.
Defensively, the Eagles did a great job of keeping the Bears offence in check. Mitch Trubisky did throw for 300 yards in this one but wasn’t able to enjoy much success in the red zone. The usually dynamic Bears rushing attack was also effectively eliminated, going for just 65 yards on 18 carries. Guys like Malcolm Jenkins, Michael Bennett, and Fletcher Cox ensure this unit has plenty of star power. If they’ve got any hope of hanging with New Orleans this week, the Philly defence will need to be at its best.
Everyone appears to be swept up in Big **** Nick fever here, causing the line to move from the 10-point opener. Personally, I’m not buying into the hype. I think Philadelphia was significantly outplayed by Chicago last week and honestly shouldn’t be in this game. Their injuries in the defensive backfield will likely be exposed by Drew Brees and the dynamic Saints passing attack here. Whilst they do have a revenge factor here, the prior matchup shows just how well the Saints can fare against this team. With one of the best home-field advantages in all of American sports, I expect a fired-up Superdome crowd as the Saints comfortably win this one.
With this one being played in a dome, we don’t have anything to worry about in terms of weather. New Orleans have been incredible offensively at home this season, scoring 31 or more points in 6 of their 7 competitive home fixtures. The decimated Eagles secondary will likely struggle to contain this strong New Orleans passing attack. If the Saints get out to an early lead, this naturally means the Eagles will have to play more expansively in return. I expect this to lead to a more high-scoring, fast-paced game, making an over set at just 50 points appear strong value.
First Touchdown Scorer Analysis:
As the largest favourites of the week, I’d definitely weight your bets here towards New Orleans. It’s tough to look past dual-threat RB Alvin Kamara who is a huge threat in the Red-Zone. Bruising Back Mark Ingram and star Receiver Michael Thomas are both also very solid options. From the Philadelphia side, I think the receiving trio of Alshon Jeffery, Zach Ertz, and Nelson Agholor are your best options. Out of a struggling group of Running Backs, the versatility of Darren Sproles makes him a decent outsider.
Score Prediction: Saints 31-20 Eagles.