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NFL Playoffs: Philadelphia Eagles Will Change Recent History Against Saints

Nick Foles leads the NFL's second-best offense against a team who, statistically, have given the Eagles trouble.
Nick Foles leads the NFL's second-best offense against a team who, statistically, have given the Eagles trouble.Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
David CattaiContributor IIIJanuary 3, 2014

History tends to repeat itself.

The New Orleans Saints march into the City of Brotherly Love to face the Philadelphia Eagles in one of two NFC Wildcard matchups.

Recent history leans toward the boys from the Bayou and their top-tier quarterback Drew Brees. The Saints have won four of their last five games against the Eagles, including a 27-24 victory in the 2007 NFC Divisional Round.

This time, however, the two teams will be playing in Philadelphiawhere the two teams had played just three times over their previous 10 dating back to 1993.

As the old narrative goes, “dome team playing outdoors.” The last time Brees played in Philadelphia was 2009. He torched the Eagles for 311 yards and three touchdowns, leading his Saints to a 48-22 victory in front of 69,000 at Lincoln Financial Field. 

The temperature at the game's start was 62 degrees with winds at a calm four miles per hour.

Drew Brees has completed 74% of his passes and thrown nine touchdowns in his last five meetings against the Eagles.
Drew Brees has completed 74% of his passes and thrown nine touchdowns in his last five meetings against the Eagles.Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sport

The temperature for Saturday is projected to be a high of 31 degrees with the low possibly dropping down to a comfortable 5 degrees.

Brees and the Saints have put together one of the stronger offenses in the NFL, ranking among top five over the past few seasons. What has been overlooked is their ability to get to the quarterback.

Years ago, Darren Sharper, Jonathan Vilma, Will Smith and company anchored defenses that feasted upon quarterbacks due to their ability to rush the passer and commit turnovers. However, neither Jeff Garcia, nor Donovan McNabb, nor Michael Vick nor Kevin Kolb will be starting behind center for the Eagles.

2013 has been the year of the "Chip Kelly offense."

Flashback to May 2013 when former-Eagles QB Ron Jaworski stated that he "did not believe" Kelly’s offense would work in the NFL.

"I just don't see NFL passing concepts in this offense," Jaworski said. "It's a movement offense by the quarterback, off the run-action, off the read-action. A lot of short, quick passes, dart routes, bubble screens. Very few plays down the field with NFL passing concepts."

Jaworski was one of many who claimed that Kelly’s offense had no place in the game.

Flash forward to the present.

The Eagles finished the 2013 season with the second-best offense in the NFL, recording over 400 yards per game. Eagles running back LeSean McCoy led the league in rushing, while setting the Eagles' single-season records for rushing yards and yards from scrimmage.

Sophomore starter Nick Foles tied an NFL record with seven touchdown passes against the Oakland Raiders. Foles was the highest-ranked passer in the NFL, going along with throwing 27 touchdowns to only two interceptions.

Kelly’s offense is exactly what Jaworski said it would be: quick with a lot of movement. What he forgot to realize was that Kelly has Foles behind center, a player who can throw the deep ball if needed.

Given all that has been mentioned, the Eagles offense faces a Saints defense that only gives up 19 points per game. The game seems like a shootout on paper, but when you look at it, the game will come down to which team can get interior pressure and rush the quarterback efficiently.

Anytime a team faces a top-tier QB, defensive pressure is the key to the game. Ask Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, and others about that statement.

The Eagles offense, given that it is quick, moving and efficient, will have more opportunities to score. The Eagles defense has played very well over the team’s last seven games. Look for the Eagles to end their recent woes against the Saints, but look for the game to be close.

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