Eagles vs Saints

Sean Payton would have been a popular pick as the best offensive coach in the NFL before this season. Now, Chip Kelly is in that discussion, and the two will go head-to-head when the Eagles host the Saints on Saturday. There isn't likely to be a shortage of offense, as the two teams combine to average more than 816 yards per game.

Both teams are also among the more efficient offenses with their own style. Philadelphia finished with the second-best yards per play average, just behind Denver. New Orleans finished sixth in yards per play, just 0.4 yards behind the Eagles. Only five teams ran the ball on a higher percentage of plays than the Eagles. New Orleans relies on Drew Brees and the passing game, throwing on 63.8 percent of its plays, the fifth-highest in the NFL.

With two great offenses, the pressure will be on the defenses. New Orleans was the better unit during the season, ranking 10th in yards per play allowed. The Eagles finished 20th. New Orleans, however, ranked 28th in yards per rush allowed, not an ideal weakness going against LeSean McCoy and the Eagles. New Orleans will also be without star safety Kenny Vaccaro. The Eagles ranked 19th in yards per pass attempt, at 7.3, but that number jumped to 7.7 in their last three games. The shootout could be on at Lincoln Financial Field.

Mark Sandritter

The Eagles will win because

High-octane, mistake-free offense. Chip Kelly wouldn’t have it any other way. The Eagles have the NFL’s leading QB in passer rating (Nick Foles, 119.2) and leading rusher (LeSean McCoy, 1,607 yards). Foles has only thrown two interceptions all year and McCoy has fumbled exactly once. The Eagles’ balanced offensive attack is complemented by an opportunistic defense that ranks second in takeaways. Philadelphia is on a four-game home winning streak against a Saints team that is only 3-5 on the road.

The Saints will win because

They have the most balanced team in the playoff field. The Saints have the NFL’s fourth-ranked offense paired with the fourth-ranked defense. The only major discrepancy is that the Saints have the NFL’s second-ranked passing offense and the 25th ranked rushing offense, not very surprising for Sean Payton’s offense. Defense will be the Saints’ key to victory, which may surprise those who don’t follow the team. Outside of the NFC’s big three defenses, Seattle, San Francisco and Carolina, New Orleans has the next best thing going. The Saints defense has given up the fourth-fewest points and fourth-fewest yards in the NFL. They’ve also recorded the fourth-most sacks in the NFL. This type of defense paired with an offense led by Drew Brees will be more than enough for any team to deal with this postseason. The biggest problem for New Orleans, however, is that none of these playoff games will be played at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

Number of interest


In the modified words of rap artist Jay Z, the Eagles have 99 offensive plays of 20+ yards and a gimmick isn’t one. That’s the most ever an NFL team has finished with in a single season. The Eagles’ offense is truly explosive.


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