NFC Wild Card: Saints at Eagles

NFC Wild Card: Saints at Eagles

Sean Payton and Chip Kelly executed two of the NFL’s biggest turnarounds in 2013, and as reward they will face each other Saturday night in a cold Lincoln Financial Stadium when the Saints battle the Eagles. New Orleans has scored 68 points in their last two road playoff defeats. Philly hasn’t won a postseason game since the 2008 season. It’s two of the league’s most prolific offenses going head-to-head in below freezing temperatures. Here’s a preview.

Saints at Eagles (-2.5)

The Saints have never won a road playoff game. Regardless of weather, life outside the Superdome has been difficult. That is also true of their away record this season, having finished 3-5. An offense built to excel in ideal conditions on a fast track often struggles to move the chains on grass. That said, Drew Brees is a future Hall of Fame quarterback with three consecutive 5000-yard seasons going against the 32nd ranked pass defense. Jimmy Graham is a matchup nightmare and the Eagles were just torched for 135 yards by Jason Witten. Rob Ryan’s revamped 3-4 defense racked 49 sacks; disrupting the Eagles protection and pressuring Nick Foles will be a priority. Cajuns are 1-7 ATS on the road.

Chip Kelly’s “college” offense is first in rushing, second in total yards, and fourth in scoring. Foles has been a revelation, throwing 27 touchdowns and only two interceptions. LeSean McCoy won the rushing title and totaled 350 yards and four touchdowns in his last two home tilts. Tight ends Brent Celek and Zach Ertz have combined for 68 catches and ten touchdowns. Billy Davis’s defense is the definition of bend-don’t-break; they are 29th in yards allowed, but haven’t yielded more than 21 points during their four-game home winning streak. The front seven must find ways to hit Brees and throw off his timing. If not, they will be shredded early and often. Eagles are 3-4-1 ATS at home.

Despite the bitter temps, this should be a high-scoring affair. New Orleans is long overdue to bust history and they have the right quarterback to do it. Bet the Saints.