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History has a weird way of repeating itself. It was 2010 when the New Orleans Saints, coming off a first round bye in the NFL Playoffs, went into the divisional round against a challenger in the Superdome. They would wind up winning the championship. That was also the last time they were one of the top two seeds.
Meanwhile the Philadelphia Eagles pulled off an amazing upset thanks to late game heroics from quarterback Nick Foles and an untimely miss by Chicago Bears kicker Cody Parkey. Hoping to ride the momentum from their Wild Card win in Chicago, the Eagles come into New Orleans with some confidence. Can the Saints come marching in and declaw the Eagles or will the magic of Foles continue?
Keys To The Game
For Philly to have any chance on offense, they’re going to need to exploit the passing game. The Saints had a middle of the road defense that saw them finish second in rushing yards allowed per game but 29th in passing yards allowed per game. If Nick Foles can unleash an aerial barrage to his wide receivers, then it’s going to put New Orleans in a hole early. Given that the Eagles run game never took off against the Bears, that may be a good thing.
Philadelphia’s defense has a hard task when it comes to stopping the Saints’ offense. If they can limit Drew Brees, they’ll have a chance. The Eagles run defense can handle the Saints rushing attack but if Brees can’t do anything in the air, there’s a chance.
The Saints’ offense has a much easier task. The Eagles are 30th in passing yards allowed per game. Drew Brees should have a field day passing on them. While the run game has been highly effective, the pass game is what needs to take center stage.
Simply put, the Saints are going to need to force the Eagles to run. Nick Foles is too hot to allow them to be pass heavy. Given that both Darren Sproles and Wendell Smallwood had a little more than 22 yards against the Bears, forcing that hand will be fundamental.
Eagles’ wide receiver Alshon Jeffrey has a chance to do some major damage. After torching the Los Angeles Rams for 160 yards and the Bears for 82, all it takes is one spark. While he’s been hot and cold, if he can get really hot here, he could be a game changer.
For the Saints, it’s all about that secondary. The secondary is really talented but for some reason this year, they’ve struggled. Last year, they lost after the “Minneapolis Miracle” and they haven’t quiet been the same ever since. For any success, they’re going to need to put it behind them, stat.
Last year, the Eagles and Saints would have had a slobber knocker of a game that could have gone either way. One problem: that was last year. The Saints should have an easy time with this game because of their passing attack. While it’s unclear if they’ll go all the way, this is the their first stepping stone. The Saints defend the Superdome and move on to the NFC Championship