The New Orleans Saints will host the Philadelphia Eagles in the divisional round of the 2018 NFL playoffs, and we’ve got a slate of bold predictions ahead of their Jan. 13 kickoff.
1. Nick Foles throws more interceptions than touchdowns
Dec 23, 2018; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Houston Texans outside linebacker Jadeveon Clowney (90) sacks Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles (9) to fumble the ball during the second quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
This isn’t that bold of a take – Foles threw as many scores as giveaways against the Chicago Bears in the wild card round – but it is, given the way people speak about Foles. His lucky hot streak in the playoffs last season ended with a Super Bowl win, and too many spectators are blinded by that to see that he was a turnover-prone passer who barely put 16 points on the board in his last outing. The opportunistic Saints defense knows this and won’t let him get away with any mistakes, after they intercepted Carson Wentz three times the last time they played the Eagles.
2. Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara put up 300 yards from scrimmage
NEW ORLEANS, LA – JANUARY 07: Alvin Kamara #41 of the New Orleans Saints and Mark Ingram #22 celebrate during the second half of the NFC Wild Card playoff game against the Carolina Panthers at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 7, 2018 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
The Eagles defense has been trampled by running backs throughout the 2018 season. They’ve consistently failed to slow down rushers while getting caught flat-footed by backs running routes. Unfortunately for them, that’s where Ingram and Kamara excel. In their last game, Ingram logged 103 yards from scrimmage (all on the ground) while Kamara picked up 108 yards of his own (catching just one pass). Look for the Saints to lean on this dynamic duo even more, hitting them as receivers against overmatched Eagles linebackers and defensive backs. Ingram and Kamara should get 18 touches each, minimum.
3. Ted Ginn Jr. leads the game in receiving yards
Dec 24, 2017; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints wide receiver Ted Ginn Jr. (19) makes a 54-yard touchdown catch against the Atlanta Falcons in the second quarter at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports
The last time the Saints and Eagles met, Philadelphia tried to double-team both of New Orleans’ top weapons: Kamara and wideout Michael Thomas. That freed up rookie Tre’Quan Smith to break out, proving too difficult to cover by any single Eagles defensive back. The Eagles will surely try a different strategy on defense this time, but Ginn should still get plenty of looks against inferior competition. Drew Brees will go his way early and often, and Ginn’s big-play ability gives him a chance to lead the game in yards gained through the air.
4. Saints walk away with a win
Dec 23, 2018; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints outside linebacker Demario Davis (56) celebrates his fumble recovery in the fourth quarter against the Pittsburgh Steelers at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Saints won, 31-28. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports
The Saints are better than the Eagles, and they’ll remove any doubt after sending the reigning Super Bowl champions back to Philadelphia. Foles wishes he was Brees – it’s why he wears No. 9. Eagles receiver Alshon Jeffery has been doing his best impersonation of Saints All-Pro Michael Thomas. Philadelphia’s defense is posing for group pictures after making a play just like the Saints. The Eagles are a cheap knockoff of New Orleans, and that won’t be up for debate. Saints win 34-24.