Sunday, January 13 at 4:40 PM ET
Low clouds, then perhaps some sun
Winds from the NNE 10 mph
Gusts: 15 mph
Coming off a shocking 16-15 road upset against the Chicago Bears in the Wild Card Round, the Philadelphia Eagles visit the top-seeded New Orleans Saints on Sunday afternoon.
These two teams met in Week 11 and the Saints crushed the Eagles 48-7 but Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles will be under center this time and running back Darren Sproles, who was inactive in that game, will be available.
Foles is not a typical backup quarterback, he led the Eagles to the Super Bowl last season and orchestrated the winning drive in chaotic conditions at Soldier Field last Sunday.
The veteran signal-caller won't be intimidated by the home crowd in New Orleans but he's clearly no Drew Brees. It's true that Foles was sensational at times but Brees has played at an MVP level this season, humiliating opposing defenses.
The Saints know too well that Darren Sproles can be a dual-threat out of the backfield and he can be an x-factor in this contest, so they should have plan to stop him in the passing game.
Another key to this game for the Saints will be the one-two punch of Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara going up against an Eagles' run defense that allowed 4.7 yards per carry this season.
To me, Michael Thomas will be the player to watch for the Saints, he led the NFL with 125 catches and he finished with 1,405 receiving yards and nine touchdowns in 16 games. The Eagles have more depth at wide receiver but Thomas will be the best wideout on the field and a potential difference-maker.
The Philadelphia Eagles are:
7-2 ATS in their last nine playoff road games
4-0 ATS in their last four playoff games
5-0 ATS in their last five games in January
4-0 ATS in their last four games overall
The New Orleans Saints are:
1-4 ATS in their last five games overall
The Eagles are a different team than the one the Saints crushed by 41 points in Week 11, they're healthier now and more confident after winning six of their last seven games. The defending Super Bowl champions are a veteran team with nothing to lose and playing in the Superdome won't intimidate them. The Saints are rested and they're the better team but the Eagles will put up a fight this time.
NFL Pick: Eagles +7.5 (-110) at Jazz Sports
Check odds here: http://bit.ly/2RMxhhA