What a difference a week makes.
Just like the Cowboys were last week, the Eagles come into Sunday a desperate team with their backs up against the wall.
Here’s some thoughts on their match-up with the Saints…
- Brees vs Wentz
Both guys come into this game with ridiculous numbers…
Wentz: 191/269 (71 %) 2,148 yards, 15 TDs, 3 INTs, 108.5 QB rating
Brees: 235/304 (77.3 %) 2,601 yards, 21 TDs, 1 INT, 123.8 QB Rating.
Brees has been on another level this season. If it wasn’t for Patrick Mahomes, he would be the runaway MVP.
Despite his great numbers, Wentz has been getting a lot of flack this week for his inability to lead the Eagles to victory.
I don’t think Wentz was great last week, and I do believe that he deserves SOME of the blame for the Eagles 4-5 record. But the over the top Wentz hate is ridiculous.
This is only year three for Wentz. It’s not an excuse, it’s a fact.
Wanna see year three Drew Brees?
205/356 (57.6 %) 2,108 yards, 11 TDs,15 INTs, 67.5 QB rating
People need to understand that becoming one of the greatest QBs of all time doesn’t happen over night. Drew Brees wasn’t Drew Brees in year three, he was more like Dak Prescott.
As far as Sunday goes, I fully expect both Wentz and Brees to go off.
Wentz could silence the critics by putting the team on his shoulders and leading them to an upset win in New Orleans.
- Alvin Kamara
If the Eagles needed any extra motivation for Sunday, Alvin Kamara gave it to them back in the preseason.
Alvin Kamara thinks things would’ve gone differently last season if the Saints beat the Vikings: “We’d beat the s–t out of [the Eagles] cuz we was rolling.” 👀 https://t.co/06KMmfyAYH pic.twitter.com/WI2b8oDaj5
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) August 8, 2018
I didn’t love the response from Malcolm Jenkins….
Saints RB Alvin Kamara said if Saints played Eagles in NFC title game
“We'd beat the s*** out of (Eagles) cause we was rolling”
Any extra incentive vs Saints Malcolm Jenkins?
“No, we won the Super Bowl”🔥🔥 pic.twitter.com/1vKkWjIJJu
— John Clark (@JClarkNBCS) November 14, 2018
… but in reality, the Eagles shouldn’t need any extra motivation for Sunday.
- Stop the run/contain Kamara
Speaking of Alvin Kamara, he and Mark Ingram have formed the best one-two punch in the NFL.
The Saints are averaging 126.8 yards per-game on the ground, which ranks 8th in the league.
The Eagles were 2nd against the run entering last Sunday, but have dropped to 7th after allowing Zeke Elliott to run up and down the field for 151 yards on only 19 carries. He also caught six passes for 36 yards and a touchdown.
They were also beat up by Saquon Barkley, as he went 13/130/1 on the ground, and 9/99 through the air.
That’s the quality of running back they will see on Sunday. Alvin Kamara can beat you on the ground as well as through the air….. and oh yeah, they have Mark Ingram, and this Taysum Hill character.
There’s only been two games this season where the Saints have had issues offensively.
The first was week two at home vs the Browns.
In that game, Kamara was held to 99 total yards (46 rushing, 53 receiving) and out of the end zone. The Saints as a team rushed for only 62 yards.
They ended up squeaking out a win, 21-18.
The other game was week 7 in Baltimore.
Kamara got into the end zone in this one, but was held to only 63 yards rushing on 17 carries and just 11 yards receiving. Ingram was held to just 32 yards on 12 carries. Taysum Hill chipped in with 35 yards rushing as well.
They ended up escaping Baltimore with a 24-23 win.
It’s hard to envision the Eagles faring well against Drew Brees, but containing Kamara and their run game would go a long way in keeping this game close.
Plus it would be good for my health if the Eagles could shutdown Kamara, and Sidney Jones could play well. (The Eagles drafted Jones over Kamara!!!!)
- Start fast and keep scoring
Slow would be a massive understatement when describing how the Eagles offense has started games this season.
Eagles: FEWEST 1st quarter points in NFL – 2.3 ppg
Among the Eagles issues… slow starts unlike last year
— Jeff Skversky 6abc (@JeffSkversky) November 14, 2018
They are averaging only 8.9 PPG in the first half this season. If you take away the 24 points they scored in the first half vs the Giants, that average drops to 7.
That isn’t going to cut it this week. They will need to score early and often.
If the Eagles can’t put up at least 30 points, then this will be a blowout.
- Keep throwing the ball
At this point you have to just keep throwing. The Eagles run game is a disaster. They just don’t have the horses. Sure, you can sprinkle it in and try to keep some heat off Wentz, but this is a week that Doug Pederson should keep dialing up the pass plays.
The Saints are allowing 296.1 yards-per-game through the air which ranks 31st in the league, but they are first in the league allowing on 80.1 yards on the ground.
Other factors go obviously go into these averages, like teams playing from behind, but the Saints have been stout against the run even in close games.
In week three’s 43-37 overtime win over the Falcons, they allowed 407 total yards, but only 48 of those yards came on the ground.
- Historic underdogs
The line for Sunday is now Eagles + 9.
The last time the #Eagles were underdogs by 9 pts or more was Sept. 29th, 2013 in Denver as an 11.5 point dog. (L 52-20)
They were + 8 @ NE in 2015 (W 35-28)
The most points they’ve gotten under DP was 6.5 @ Seattle in ‘16 (L 26-15)
— Brian McLaughlin (@B_McGLOCK) November 13, 2018
The line has since moved back down to Eagles +8.5 and will probably change again before kickoff, but you get the point.
The Eagles aren’t heavy underdogs very often.
It’s hard for me to wrap my brain around the fact that the defending Super Bowl Champs with Carson Wentz at QB is a bigger underdog than a horrendous 2015 Eagles team with Sam Bradford at QB and Chip Kelly as coach in New England vs Brady and Belichick.
Per Bovada, the Eagles (+8.5) are the biggest underdog as a defending Super Bowl champ since Pittsburgh was +9 against Baltimore on 11-29-09. The Steelers covered but lost 20-17.
— Jay Morrison (@JayMorrisonATH) November 15, 2018
Maybe this line is too big??
After all, the Eagles did win the last time they were this big of an underdog.
This is what I wrote about the Cowboys last week…
“The Cowboys are coming off an embarrassing loss on national TV, the QB is under scrutiny, Jason Garrett’s ass-cheeks are on fire his seat is so hot, Skip Bayless is jumping ship, Troy Aikman is calling for an overhaul of the franchise, and the Vegas line has gone up to Eagles -7
NO ONE is picking the COWBOYS.
So…. are we overlooking the Cowboys?
Normally I would say yes, but the Cowboys are a mess.”
….If I was a Saints blogger, that’s exactly what I would write about the Eagles this week.
NO ONE is picking the Eagles, and nor should they be.
There is no reason why the Eagles should win this game. Then again, there was no reason why the Cowboys should have won last week.
Last 32 games, #Eagles have lost ONLY ONE by more than a TD
Philly +8 at New Orleans
— RJ Bell (@RJinVegas) November 16, 2018
So maybe, just maybe… this will be a little closer than everyone thinks.