The Philadelphia Eagles face the New Orleans Saints in a playoff match this Sunday. The Eagles earned the right to meet the Saints this weekend by eeking out a win against the Chicago Bears. A Bears field goal that would have won the game for Chicago was “blocked.” Eagles Treyvon Hester got a couple fingers on the ball as it was headed up toward the goal post.  The ball double donked off the post and the upright. Had the field goal been good, kicker Cody Parker would have been 4 for 4 that day. The Bears were kept out of the end zone except for a fourth effort when Mitchell Trubisky hit Allen Robinson on a 22 yard score.

The Eagles big receiver Alshon Jeffery who had a big role in the Bears game has a rib injury from the Bears game–this might be a problem for the Eagles, but I think he will play. The Eagles 35-year old 5’6″ Running back Darren Sproles is someone the Saints have to look after for this game, he was not in their earlier season matchup in which the Eagles got routed, 48-7.  Still, both teams have lots of star-power. Eagles Pro-Bowlers include tight end Zach Ertz, defensive tackle Fletcher Cox,  and right guard Brandon Brooks.

The Eagles offense favors the pass with a 61.76% passing percentage and passes account for 73.77% of their yardage.  Nick Foles has returned as starting quarterback for the Eagles and the Eagles fans believe he has brought something special to the team the way he did last year in their Super Bowl run. There was something supernatural about Foles and the Eagles finishing off the Super Bowl season last year.

The Saints record as NFC South Champion gave them a number one seed and a bye.  Thus the Saints have had a couple weeks to prepare for the game–of course they did not know who they would be facing until the Eagles had beat the Bears.  The Saints have been considered one of the top teams in the league this season and expectations are running high. The Drew Brees-Sean Payton offensive mindset is pretty powerful stuff–Belichick-Brady at times.

Of course, Doug Pederson is no slouch and he has a talented coaching staff including defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz.  Schwartz was the head coach of Detroit Lions and must be given credit for the stalwart defense the Eagles have developed. Scary at times.

For the Saints, tackle Terron Armstead, quarterback Drew Brees, defensive end Cameron Jordan, wide receiver Michael Thomas and center Max Unger were selected to the Pro-Bowl. Brees keeps Thomas very  busy.

The Saints have one of the most balanced offensive attacks. They passed 53.37%,but those passes account for 66.62% of their yardage. Running backs Alvin  Kamara and Mark Ingram have accounted for 1,528 yards this year and 20 touchdowns.

Odds are the Saints who have been ranked high all year are likely winners, but the game determines who goes forward and who falls back and takes a seat.

 

Image Credit: Sgt. Kyle Richardson, Wikimedia Commons auf Deutsch