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NFC Wild Card: Saints at Eagles Analysis

New Orleans Saints vs. Philadelphia Eagles Preview

When: Saturday, January 4th 2014 at 8:10pm ET
Where: Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Watch: Live on NBC

The New Orleans Saints (11-5) were unable to win the NFC South, but they earned one of the wild card spots and now they’ll head to Lincoln Financial Field to take on the Philadelphia Eagles (10-6). The weather will be cold on Saturday night, which isn’t good for NO.

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Philadelphia has the home field advantage in this game and they’ve opened up as –2.5 point favorites. The total opened up at 55.5 points, but the game total has dropped down to 54 points at most betting shops, which is due to the winter weather in Philly.

Previewing the Saints @ Eagles Playoff Match-Up

If this game were being played in the Superdome the Saints would be considerable favorites, but with Philly being home it should be a much closer match-up. The Eagles went just 4-4 at Lincoln Financial Field this season while the Saints ended up 3-5 in road games.

New Orleans was a perfect 8-0 at home, but they’ve struggled to pick up wins on the road. About 2/3 of the action on this game has been on the Saints to win at this point, which is surprising and I’ll be going against the public in this one and taking Philly at home.

These two teams are both offensive minded and we should see plenty of points scored as long as it isn’t snowing. The Eagles and the Saints are both in the T10 in scoring. New Orleans has scored an average of 25.9 PPG (10th) while Philly has scored 27.6 PPG (4th).

Philadelphia has a balanced offense since Nick Foles took over at QB. They average 256.9 PYPG (9th) and 160.4 RYPG (1st). The Saints on the other hand rely heavily on their passing game (307.4 PYPG – 2nd), as they’ve struggled to run the football (92.1 RYPG – 25th).

The edge on defense goes to the Rob Ryan led Saints defense, which has made a huge transformation this season. NO has allowed 19 PPG (4th), 194.1 PYPG (2nd) and 111.6 RYPG (19th) while Philly allows 23.9 PPG (17th), 289.8 PYPG (32nd) and 104.4 RYPG (10th).

Why I’m Betting on the Eagles to Cover

The Eagles have been the best rushing team in the NFL and LeSean McCoy leads the league with 1607 rushing yards. He is the only RB that averaged over 100 rushing yards per game. McCoy is also a threat in the pass game, as he has 52 catches for 539 yards.

New Orleans has had problems against teams with a good run game and it’s the best way to beat this defense. Expect McCoy to play a major role early in this match-up. If the Eagles end up going down Chip Kelly will start to air it out downfield with Foles.

New Orleans is 1-5 in their last six away games with their only win coming against the Falcons who had a terrible year. NO has losses against the Patriots, Jets, Seahawks, Rams and Panthers. Philly has also won four straight home games after starting 0-4 at home.

Neither team has turned the football over too much this season, but the Eagles defense forces more turnovers. The Eagles have a +12 TO margin compared to the Saints who have a 0 TO margin and that’ll be an important factor in this game on Saturday night.

The Eagles have forced 32 turnovers (13 Fumbles & 19 Interceptions), which works out to 2 forced TO’s per game. New Orleans has forced 25 turnovers (12 Interceptions & 13 Fumbles). Philly has also turned the football over slightly less than the Saints.

Saints vs. Eagles Picks

This game could go either way, but my money will be on the home team to cover the small point spread. New Orleans needed to win the NFC South to lock up home field advantage. Philly is also one of the hottest teams heading into the playoffs, especially at home.

McCoy should be able to take over this game and keep Drew Brees on the sidelines as much as possible. Brees finished 2nd in the NFL with 5162 passing yards, but he also threw 12 INT’s (13th). He’ll throw for 250+ passing yards, but I think he’ll have at least 1 INT also.

ScottThis article was written by Scott

Scott is one of the original degenerates working for MobileSportsBetting.com. Although he's most successful betting on NFL football and international soccer, he's also active in UFC and NHL hockey betting. Follow Scott on Twitter


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