Wild Card Weekend: New Orleans Saints At Philadelphia Eagles

New Orleans Saints
Philadelphia Eagles
(credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
(credit: Rich Schultz /Getty Images)
(credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
(credit: Rich Schultz /Getty Images)
Winner The Saints had to be quite disappointed that the Cowboys were not able to come up with the victory in the winner-take-all game with the Eagles in Week 17. If Dallas had won, it would have been a comfortable environment for Drew Brees to throw the ball. With the Eagles winning, Brees is going to have to come through in a winter environment, and that’s not his greatest strength.
The Eagles became a formidable team when Nick Foles took over at quarterback. He made headlines with his seven-TD performance vs. Oakland in Week Nine, and he proved to be a quality passer in the big games that followed. Foles had a shockingly high 119.2 passer rating along with a 27-2 TD-interception ratio. He must continue to perform at that level in the postseason.
The Saints can pile up the points when they get on a roll, but that happens with much greater frequency when they are playing in the Superdome than when they are competing on the road. Pierre Thomas does not give the Saints much on the ground. Tight end Jimmy Graham is capable of carrying the Saints, while Marques Colston can make the tough catch in traffic.
Winner The Eagles have a variety of offensive options, and the best of the bunch is running back LeSean McCoy. He led the NFL in rushing with 1,607 yards, and he had a 5.1 yards per carry average and nine touchdowns. He’s also an excellent receiver. DeSean Jackson has gamebreaking speed, while tight end Brent Celek can make third-down catches. Riley Cooper had 47 catches, including eight for touchdowns.
Winner The Saints were one of the most dependable and consistent defensive teams in the league this season, and much of the credit must go to defensive coordinator Rob Ryan. The Saints ranked fourth on defense – second against the pass – after finishing dead-last a year ago. Defensive end Cameron Jordan had a team-high 12.5 sacks, while middle linebacker Curtis Lofton had 125 tackles.
The Eagles did not compare statistically with the Saints as they finished 28th in yards allowed, but the Eagles improved in this area during the season. Start with cornerback Brandon Boykin, who had a team-high six interceptions. His pick late in the fourth quarter against the Cowboys in Week 17 clinched the victory for the Eagles. MLB DeMeco Ryans had a team-high 127 tackles.
Special Teams
Winner The Saints did a decent job with their special-teams coverage, as they did not allow a punt or kickoff return longer than 46 yards. However, Darren Sproles was expected to give them big plays as a returner, but he did not. The Saints are going with PK Shayne Graham after parting company with Garrett Hartley.
Winner The Eagles were woeful with their special-teams coverage as they allowed two kickoffs and one punt return for touchdowns this season. Jackson had a poor year returning punts, but he could be an asset in the postseason. Alex Henery made 23-of-28 FG attempts and is not special.

The Winner Is

(credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Winner New Orleans Saints
3 out of 4

The Eagles are built to play in bad weather and can deal with winter conditions. The Saints have great offensive talent, but they are best-suited to playing in a controlled environment. Still, the New Orleans defense can shift the game in its favor by creating one or two turnovers early that could get Foles off of his game.
-Steve Silverman, CBS Local Sports contributor


  1. PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 23: Sam Bradford #8 of the Minnesota Vikings throws a pass in the first quarter against Brandon Graham #55 of the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on October 23, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Eagles defeated the Vikings 21-10. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) GREENBAY, WI - OCTOBER 20: Running back Jordan Howard #24 of the Chicago Bears is tackled by nose tackle Kenny Clark #97 and cornerback Demetri Goodson #39 of the Green Bay Packers in the second quarter at Lambeau Field on October 20, 2016 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
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  2. PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 23: Quarterback Carson Wentz #11 of the Philadelphia Eagles avoids Everson Griffen #97 of the Minnesota Vikings as he runs for a first down during the second quarter of a game at Lincoln Financial Field on October 23, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) GREEN BAY, WI - OCTOBER 16: Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys looks to pass against the Green Bay Packers during the third quarter at Lambeau Field on October 16, 2016 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Dallas Cowboys defeated the Green Bay Packers 30-16.  (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
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  3. GLENDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 23:  Running back David Johnson #31 of the Arizona Cardinals rushes the football during the NFL game against the Seattle Seahawks at the University of Phoenix Stadium on October 23, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals and Seahawks tied 6-6.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) NEW ORLEANS, LA - OCTOBER 16: Cam Newton #1 of the Carolina Panthers scrambles out of the pocked during the first half of a game against the New Orleans Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on October 16, 2016 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
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