NFL Wild Card Round: New Orleans Saints vs Philadelphia Eagles

Saints vs Eagles Wild Card preview

1/3/14 in NFL   |   jakeryanbrown   |   28 respect

(6) Saints (11-5) @ (3) Eagles (10-6) – Saturday, 8:10PM at Lincoln Financial Field (31 degrees, 0% precipitation)
Dec 29, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles (9) talks with head coach Chip Kelly late in the fourth quarter against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. The Eagle beat the Cowboys 24-22. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY SportsNick Foles has stunned the NFL all year with his Pro Bowl play.  The 24-year old QB has lit up the stat sheet since taking over for Michael Vick in week four, throwing for an astounding 27 TDs and just two picks.  Foles grew up idolizing Drew Brees, which happens to be his opponent Saturday night in his first career playoff game.  Brees already has a Super Bowl title, but the road to number two will have to go through Philadelphia and without his starting running back, Pierre Thomas. 
The Saints will go with a mix-and-match of running backs, but will it be good enough to beat the NFC East Champion Eagles on the road?  The Eagles defense will now hone in on stopping the Saints superstar tight end, Jimmy Graham.  It has been a tail of two seasons for this Saints team at home and on the road.  They are just 3-5 on the road this season and as the sixth seed, they won’t step foot in a dome in this year’s playoffs.  Despite struggles away from New Orleans, Brees had another magnificent season, throwing for 5,162 yards, 39 TDs, and 12 picks.  The good news for New Orleans is that the Eagles have not taken advantage of their home games, going just 4-4 this season at Lincoln Financial Field. 

The up-tempo chess match between Chip Kelly’s run-and-gun offense and Rob Ryan’s aggressive Dec 29, 2013; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) celebrates with teammate tight end Jimmy Graham (80) following a touchdown during the fourth quarter of a game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Saints defeated the Buccaneers 42-17. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sportsdefense will be awfully fun to watch.  The edge in a cold game like this one goes to the team with the more explosive running back.  That edge clearly goes to the Eagles.  LeSean McCoy had a career year, winning his first NFL rushing title with 1,607 yards and nine TDs to lead the Eagles to their first playoff berth since the 2010 season.  DeSean Jackson has developed tremendous chemistry with Foles this season, finishing with 82 receptions for 1,332 yards and nine TDs.  McCoy and Jackson both had the best season of their career, which has fans in Philly buying into their new, young quarterback.  
There is one major reason to pick the Eagles in this game.  The Saints have never won a playoff game on the road in franchise history.  The Eagles offense is clicking on all levels and their defense has played much better since their rough start.  Coach Kelly has done a phenomenal job with this team after a 1-3 start to turn their season around.  Without a stud RB for the Saints and freezing temperatures Saturday night on the east coast, expect the Eagles to win a thrilling, high-scoring affair at home to move on to the Divisional Round. 
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