I think the Eagles are going to make the playoffs.
Don’t recoil just yet, my Broad Street buddies. Your precious draft picks may need not worry because the New Orleans Saints have been something of a Kryptonite for Philly.
Since 2006, the Philadelphia Eagles have faced off against the New Orleans Saints ten times and have just three wins to show for it, including three playoff losses. The Eagles are out of lunch money.
Yet the Eagles are still firmly supplanted in the Wildcard race and have something very real to play for this Sunday.
With the third easiest remaining strength of schedule in the NFL, a win here could put Philadelphia in a lovely spot as they hit their slate of divisional matchups.
With that in mind, let’s dive into Week 11.
Three Things to Watch Against the New Orleans Saints
Fly Eagles Fly
The Eagles can throw the ball on the Saints. Although no team in the NFL has more first downs (94) rushing the football than Philadelphia, they need to take advantage of the Saints’ secondary, which ranks 23rd in the league.
On the other hand, New Orleans’ run defense ranks 1st in the league so, even with a potential Miles Sanders return on the horizon, Philadelphia will need to get more creative, and it’s more than justified.
Jalen Hurts showed us enough in the first half of the Denver game to warrant a DLC for this passing offense.
With that in mind, I don’t see why Hurts can’t put together his signature game of 2021. The playoff race begins now, and Philadelphia needs to prove they can move the ball through the air.
If not, we can always track Carson Wentz’s snap count.
Release the Hounds
Trevor Siemian shouldn’t scare this Eagles’ defense, and neither should his offensive line.
Now, the Eagles only run designed blitzes on 16.7% of all quarterback dropbacks, the third-lowest in the NFL, but Johnathan Gannon has shown us the last few weeks that he’s willing to get more aggressive. Here’s your chance, Johnny.
Surprisingly (to me anyway), the Eagles will look to Genard Avery yet again, who’s blitzes far more than any other Eagle, according to ProFootballReference.com.
Ultimately, there’s a world in which the Eagles are going toe-to-toe against a team relying on a backup quarterback, a banged-up running back in Alvin Kamara, and two backup tackles.
Time to take your lunch money back.
The Defense Isn’t Bad but Can’t Let The Saints March
The Eagles lucked out with a big play from Darius Slay against Denver last week when they seemed to be gaining momentum.
Plays like this are excellent and historical if you ask me, but they can’t cover up how perfectly average the defensive output has been. Philadelphia’s allowing 23.1 PPG, suitable for 14th best in the NFL, and that’s pretty mediocre. So it’s going to be a game of field position (eye-rolls are encouraged).
On average, the Saints receive the ball on their own 32 yard-line. That’s third-best in the NFL behind just the Buffalo Bills and New England Patriots.
If Philadelphia can keep them within the ’20s, that may be enough to force the Saints to run one too many plays and make a mistake.
The Eagles aren’t punting on this season just yet, but Arryn Siposs might be your X-Factor this Sunday.
The Eagles QB1 finds a way to unlock the unheralded Quez Watkins against a soft Saints secondary while a combination of Avery, Josh Sweat, and, yes, Derek Barnett convince Siemian he’s seeing more ghosts than Bill Murray and Paul Rudd combined.
Eagles 27 – Saints 23 & I rewatch the Spiderman: No Way Home Trailer as I wait for another episode of Succession.
Photo by John Jones/Icon Sportswire)