There’s no quarterback controversy with the New Orleans Saints, as Drew Brees seems to be the only good thing they have this season, while their defense is record-breaking bad. There’s a lot of turmoil around the Philadelphia Eagles, both regarding their quarterback Michael Vick and their defense, which has been awful in recent weeks.
The key to beating the Saints? Well, pretty much everything you do offensively works, which is good news for the Eagles, who are averaging only 17.1 points per game this season, 28th in the NFL. This might be a good chance for them to ease off Michael Vick and start using LeSean McCoy a whole lot more, with the Saints giving up a league-worst 170.1 yards on the ground this season. McCoy has rushed for 504 yards on 127 carries, scoring two touchdowns, but there’s quite a demand for Andy Reid to give the All-Pro running back a lot more touches.
If you thought the Saints’ offense looked pedestrian against the Broncos last time, it might get a little rougher. The Eagles’ defense hasn’t been exactly getting it done in recent weeks, but New Orleans will be playing without Darren Sproles, who is the team’s second best receiver and third best rusher. The Saints might have a chance to run more against the Eagles, who are really struggling defensively against the run under the new wide-nine defense.
But the biggest number regarding Sproles is how it affects Drew Brees, who loves to find Sproles for the screen pass. When Sproles in on the field, Drew Brees passes 85 percent of the time. but that drops to 54% when Sproles isn’t on it. Trying to actually establish a run game (averaging only 72.6 yards per game, NFL-worst) might not be such a bad idea, giving Brees a chance to work a little play-action into his game, which has hardly happened this season.
On defense, the Eagles will probably be torn between sitting back in coverage, like the Denver Broncos did, limiting Brees to his worst performance in over a year, or actually trying to be aggressive like they keep promising (although it doesn’t happen) and leave Marques Colston and Devery Henderson in one on one situations with Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.
If there was ever a time for the Saints’ defense to start making big plays, it’s the game against Philadelphia. Michael Vick has been sacked 20 times this season and has turned the ball over 13 times. The Saints defense has only 13 sacks this season and has forced only nine turnovers so far, including tied for 30th in the NFL with only 3 interceptions.
Predictions – Both teams won’t make the postseason, but both are desperate for a win, especially Philly, with both Vick and Andy Reid fighting for their jobs. But combining everything we know about these teams this season, the Eagles have a bit more to use in order to get the win, while New Orleans don’t have anything but having Brees throw and throw, which won’t be enough.