Philadelphia Eagles at New Orleans Saints
When: 4:40 PM ET, Sunday, January 13, 2019
Where: Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana
Special to Digital Sports Desk by Gracenote
NEW ORLEANS – The lowest point in the Philadelphia Eagles’ season also provided the inspiration to turn it around. After their postseason plans were put in peril following a lopsided loss in New Orleans, the defending Super Bowl champion Eagles look to exact revenge against the host Saints on Sunday and become the first No. 6 seed to reach the conference championship since 2010.
“That game has helped us become the team we are today,” Philadelphia quarterback Nick Foles said of the 48-7 shellacking in Week 11. “Going through that, that’s not easy as a team to lose like that. But there was never a pointing of the finger. It actually brought us closer.” The Eagles won five of their last six games to squeeze into the playoffs, and Foles helped lead the team to its fourth straight victory overall by throwing for 266 yards and two touchdowns in a 16-15 decision at Chicago on Sunday. While Philadelphia’s advanced to the divisional round after former Eagles kicker Cody Parkey misfired on his bid for a game-winning kick, New Orleans’ starters have been well-rested for quite some time. Pro Bowl quarterback Drew Brees, who shattered his own NFL record for completion percentage in a season (74.4), finished close to that number on Nov. 18 after completing 22 of 30 passes for 363 yards with four touchdowns against the Eagles.
TV: 4:40 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Saints -8. O/U: 50.5
ABOUT THE EAGLES: Pro Bowl tight end Zach Ertz labeled Philadelphia’s previous visit to New Orleans as “probably the worst loss I’ve ever been a part of” while left tackle Jason Peters accused the Saints of running up the score. The Eagles barely bothered the scoreboard operator on that day, save for rookie Josh Adams’ 28-yard rushing touchdown midway into the second quarter that trimmed New Orleans’ lead to 17-7. Former Saints running back Darren Sproles could prove pivotal in the passing game on Sunday after finding the end zone three times (two receiving, one rushing) in his past six games. Alshon Jeffery, who had a team-leading six catches for 82 yards versus the Bears, has 18 receptions for 329 yards and two scores in his last three meetings with New Orleans.
ABOUT THE SAINTS (13-3): Brees’ most trusted target this season was Michael Thomas, although the Pro Bowl wideout was “limited” to just four of his NFL-best 125 catches against Philadelphia as the quarterback established his connection with rookie Tre’Quan Smith (10 receptions, 157 yards, touchdown). New Orleans’ high-octane offense looks for another dominant performance against an Eagles’ third-worst pass defense that allowed Chicago’s Mitchell Trubisky to throw for 303 yards and Allen Robinson to collect 10 receptions, 143 yards and a score. The two-pronged backfield attack of Mark Ingram and the electric Alvin Kamara flustered Philadelphia, with the former rushing for 103 yards and two touchdowns while the latter had 71 yards to go along with a 37-yard scoring reception. Pro Bowl defensive end Cameron Jordan bids to ride the momentum of his team-leading 12 sack season into the playoffs, as he has 3.5 in four career postseason games.
1. New Orleans has won six consecutive postseason games at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
2. Eagles WR Golden Tate has recorded at least five catches in four of his last eight games, including in the previous contest versus the Saints.
3. New Orleans enjoyed a plus-8 turnover ratio this season while Philadelphia finished minus-6 in that department.