Eagles vs. Saints: Breaking Down Monday Night Football's Marquee Matchup

Donald WoodFeatured ColumnistNovember 5, 2012

DENVER, CO - OCTOBER 28:  Quarterback Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints throws a pass during the first quarter against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field Field at Mile High on October 28, 2012 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

When the Philadelphia Eagles travel to New Orleans to square off against the Saints on Monday Night Football, the franchises will be fighting for more than just a regular season win.

These teams will be fighting for their playoff lives.

Neither the Eagles (3-4) nor the Saints (2-5) are playing up to their capabilities, and something has to give. One of these teams will get back on the right track, and the other will fall off completely.

With two potent offenses and two overmatched defenses, this could be the Monday night offensive showcase that NFL fans love to see during the work week.


Where: Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, L.A.

When: Monday, Nov. 5 at 8:30 p.m.

Watch: ESPN

Listen: Eagles Radio Network, Saints Radio Network

Live Streaming: WatchESPN

Betting Line: Saints (-3.5), according to Bovada.

Over/Under: 52, according to Bovada.


Philadelphia’s Biggest Key to Victory: Michael Vick

This is the last chance for Philadelphia Eagles starting quarterback Michael Vick to prove to Andy Reid and the entire organization that he should be the starting QB for the team.

If the veteran can’t beat the Saints’ porous defense, he doesn’t deserve to start another game.

New Orleans is 31st in the NFL against the pass—allowing 304.6 yards per game to their opposition—and if Vick can’t use his arm and his legs to take advantage of that, he will never be able to lead the Eagles to a dominate playoff run.

Vick has done a much better job protecting the football over the last few weeks, but the lack of an offensive line has hurt his chances at success. If the veteran QB has enough time in the pocket Monday, he must capitalize on it and lead his team to a win.

A loss for the Eagles would mark the beginning of the end for Vick’s Philadelphia career.


New Orleans’ Biggest Key to Victory: Defense Must Step Up

There is no question that, despite how talented the Eagles defense is, the unit has not been playing up to its expected level; Drew Brees and the Saints will take advantage of that and get their fill of points.

The main focus of the Monday game plan for New Orleans should be on the team’s defensive unit and whether or not it can stifle Mike Vick and the struggling Eagles offense.

With just six passing touchdowns over the last five games, but 245.7 yards passing and 117.7 yards rushing per game this season, the Eagles offense is not a group the Saints can take lightly.

If New Orleans can find one player on the defensive side of the ball willing to step up and lead the squad with his elite play, the team will have a chance to win. Otherwise, Vick will pick apart the overmatched Saints and secure his job for at least for one more week.


Prediction: Philadelphia Eagles 27, New Orleans Saints 24

This game has been built as an offensive showcase between two teams fighting for their chances at postseason glory. But this will ultimately come down to which defense can make a big stop and turn the momentum of the game.

Of the two defensive units, the Eagles have far more talent and are more likely to step up when needed; the Saints couldn’t stop any offense in the NFL right now.

That’s why the Eagles will ultimately steal the win on a fourth-quarter field goal.

As great as Drew Brees has been in 2012, the stellar set of cornerbacks in Philadelphia—Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Nnamdi Asomugha—will come up big when they have to and put the Eagles in a position to win.

With the weight of Vick's future on his shoulders, the veteran will lead Philadelphia on a final drive that wins the game, saves the Eagles' season and holds off the calls for his job for another week.


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