Philadelphia Eagles at New Orleans Saints
Where: Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana
The New Orleans Saints are bolstering their case toward being a serious contender for the second Super Bowl title in franchise history while the Philadelphia Eagles appear content to hold onto memories from last season’s fabled run. The high-octane Saints vie for their ninth straight victory on Sunday when they take their NFL-best 36.7 scoring average into Mercedes-Benz Superdome to host the Eagles.
Drew Brees is on pace to shatter his own NFL record with a 77.3 completion percentage for New Orleans, which fell a “Minneapolis Miracle” away from facing Philadelphia in the NFC Championship Game last season. The 39-year-old Brees has won 10 of his last 11 home games, thrown for 21 touchdowns against one interception in 2018 and faces a 23rd-ranked Philadelphia pass defense that lost the services of cornerback Ronald Darby to a torn ACL. While Brees and the Saints had an easy time of it in a 51-14 romp over Cincinnati on Sunday, the Eagles’ inconsistent season took another sour turn as they fell for the fourth time in six outings with a 27-20 setback to rival Dallas. “We realize a lot of people are going to want to write us off at this point. Now it’s just time to play ball and try and go shock some people,” said Carson Wentz, who threw for a season-high 360 yards versus the Cowboys, and tossed multiple touchdown passes for the sixth straight game.
TV: 4:25 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Saints -8. O/U: 56
ABOUT THE EAGLES (4-5): Alshon Jeffery has recorded 14 receptions for 296 yards and two touchdowns in two career encounters with the Saints, who own the league’s second-worst pass defense. The 28-year-old Jeffery has eight catches for 83 yards and zero trips to the end zone in his last two games overall, but has five touchdown receptions in his last five road contests. Tight end Zach Ertz erupted for season highs in catches (14), receiving yards (145) and touchdowns (two) against the Cowboys, giving him five scores in his last five games.
ABOUT THE SAINTS (8-1): New Orleans replaced a three-time Pro Bowler (Dez Bryant) with a six-time selection (Brandon Marshall) this week, as the latter is intent on showing critics that he has more in the tank and can provide a No. 2 wide receiver outside of Michael Thomas (NFL high-tying 78 receptions) in the passing game. The 34-year-old Marshall recorded 11 catches for 136 yards and one touchdown in seven games with Seattle before being released, but his 6-foot-5, 232-pound frame would make him an attractive target in the red zone. Thomas scored twice versus the Bengals to boost his touchdown total to four in his last four games overall, while electric running back Alvin Kamara has found the end zone eight times (six rushing, two receiving) in that stretch.
1. Philadelphia’s Rasual Douglas will start in place of Darby while fellow CB Sidney Jones is expected to return from a three-game absence due to a hamstring injury.
2. New Orleans DE Cameron Jordan has just two of his team-leading six sacks in his last six contests.
3. The Eagles will wear their home green uniforms as a result of Saints coach Sean Payton besting Philadelphia counterpart Doug Pederson at the annual coaches’ golf outing at the owner’s meetings in March.