Saints at Eagles: 5 matches to observe

After their street loss to the Dallas Cowboys on Christmas Eve, the Philadelphia Eagles will look to get again into the win column towards the New Orleans Saints, thus clinching the NFC East in addition to the 1 seed within the NFC playoffs. As an added bonus, they’ll take a loss to the group whose first-round decide they personal within the 2023 NFL Draft. Listed below are our 5 matchups to observe.

1) The Eagles’ run protection towards Taysom Hill and Alvin Kamara

The Saints’ passing offense is depleted, to say the least, with a number of extensive receivers out, and Andy Dalton at quarterback. We’ll get to that in a second. Their offense was at its finest this 12 months once they began Taysom Hill. It is in all probability not a stretch to say that Hill is their finest offensive sort out if rookie WR Chris Olave cannot play.

A hill can run by tacklers:

And when the Saints use him at quarterback, he has the flexibility to beat you excessive in the event you could be a little too aggressive in stopping the run.

“He performs lots of positions,” Jonathan Gannon mentioned. “We simply talked about it. He performs quarterback, tight finish, quarterback, operating again. He does all of it. When he performs sure spots, we have now to know that hey, that is what they love to do with him, because of this he is a matchup downside for defenses in the event you enable it, and we have now to have a very good plan for him once they unfold him out in several methods. It makes this offense tough to defend due to how they use a number of the gamers that they’ve at their disposal.”

It is in all probability not one of the best signal for an offense if the #3 QB / #3 TE / #3 RB / #6 WR / core particular groups man is one of the best participant, however that is simply form of the place the offense of the saints is true now after a decade and a half of excellence beneath Drew Brees and Sean Payton.

After which there’s Alvin Kamara, who would not appear like the identical participant he was earlier in his profession. Through the season, Kamara has 184 carries for 717 yards (3.9 YPC) and two TDs. He additionally caught 55 passes for 480 yards (8.7 YPC) and two TDs. Over the past two video games (each wins), Kamara has acquired 45 touches. They wish to run it and let their protection win it.

2) The Eagles’ secondary receivers towards the Saints

The Saints do not have a lot at receiver proper now, as a number of gamers are injured:

WR Michael Thomas: Thomas had 470 receptions for 5512 yards and 32 TDs throughout his first 4 NFL seasons, however accidents derailed his profession. Over the past three seasons, Thomas has 56 receptions for 609 yards and three TDs, and he has missed 39 video games (and counting). He had toe surgical procedure, and is completed for the season.

WR Jarvis Landry: Landry signed with the Saints in Could to assist with their extensive receiver depth. He had one huge recreation in Week 1 towards the Falcons (7-114-0), however was in any other case not a lot of an element. Through the season, he had 25 catches for 272 yards and 1 TD in 9 video games earlier than touchdown on injured reserve with an ankle harm.

WR Deonte Harty: Harty is among the NFL’s finest return males, and a playmaker on offense. He suffered a probable season-ending toe harm earlier his season.

These three guys might be out. After which there’s Chris Olave, who missed the Saints’ Week 16 recreation towards the Browns with a hamstring harm. He leads the Saints with 63 catches for 940 yards (14.9 YPC) and three TDs.

Olave has a slight construct, however he is an excellent route runner, he makes powerful catches look simple, and he is a risk in each the center and deep areas of the sphere. He will not remind anybody of Deebo Samuel or AJ Brown within the run after catch division. That is the precise kind of receiver that Darius Slay is constructed to cowl. In current weeks, Slay hasn’t been the dominant cowl nook he was earlier this season.

We’ll see if Olave can play quickly sufficient. If not, the remainder of the Saints’ receivers appear like this:

Saints WRs Rec Yards YPC TD
Rashid Shaheed 19 375 19.7 2
Tre’Quan Smith 18 272 15.1 1
Marquez Callaway 16 158 9.9 1

Their finest purple zone risk is TE Juwan Johnson, who has seven TD receptions this season. When you’re a Penn State fan, you would possibly do not forget that he performed receiver there for 4 years earlier than transferring to Oregon.

3) The place may the Eagles feast?

The Saints’ beginning lineup seems to be like this:

James Hurst Josh Andrews? Erik McCoy Calvin Throckmorton Ryan Ramczyk

There are issues to notice about three of their positions:

Left gear: The Saints’ offensive line took successful this offseason once they misplaced Terron Armstead in free company to the Miami Dolphins. They then chosen Trevor Penning from Northern Iowa with the nineteenth general decide within the 2022 NFL Draft. Through the preseason, Penning suffered a torn ligament in his foot, and he missed the primary 11 weeks of the common season. He appeared in 4 video games later, principally as a sixth offensive lineman. The Saints’ beginning LT this season has been James Hurst, who’s a nine-year vet with loads of expertise, however nowhere close to Armstead’s capability.

Left guard: Beginning LG Andrus Peat was carted off the sphere with an ankle harm through the Saints’ Week 16 win over the Browns, and didn’t return. Former Eagle Josh Andrews (going means again to the Chip years), observe squad call-up, crammed. Decided if a stricken Peat will begin at LG, or if will probably be Andrews (or another person).

Proper guard: The unique beginning RG was Cesar Ruiz, who began the primary 14 video games this season, however was positioned on injured reserve with a foot harm. Throckmorton crammed in and was a legal responsibility.

These are the three areas the place the Saints are most susceptible. We must also observe that the Saints present an irregular variety of 6-OL units. For instance, Penning performed 24 snaps in Week 15 towards the Falcons, and 20 snaps in Week 16 towards the Browns. Anticipate to listen to “Quantity 70 reported as eligible” fairly a bit on Sunday.

The Eagles lead the NFL with 61 sacks on the season. They’re one shy of the single-season group file of 62, set in 1989 beneath Buddy Ryan. They’re 11 shy of the single-season NFL file of 72, set in 1984 by the Bears, additionally beneath Buddy Ryan.

If Brandon Graham can notch yet another sack, the Eagles would be the first group in NFL historical past to have 4 gamers with a minimum of 10 sacks.

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4) The Eagles’ receivers towards the Saints’ cornerbacks

As ordinary, the Eagles ought to have some matchup benefits with their two stud receivers towards the opposing group’s cornerbacks. The Saints’ finest cornerback is Marshon Lattimore, who final performed in Week 5 towards the Seahawks when he suffered an belly harm. Oddly, the Saints have by no means positioned Lattimore on injured reserve, however he has missed his final 10 video games.

The Saints’ prime three remaining corners are Paulson Adebo, rookie Alontae Taylor, and Bradley Roby. In keeping with, opposing offenses accomplished 45 of 67 passes for 561 yards (8.4 YPC), 5fiveTDs, and 0 INTs towards Adebo, for a passer score of 117.8.

Over the past 4 video games, AJ Brown has 27 catches for 473 yards (17.5 YPC) and three TDs. Smith has 23 catches for 405 yards (17.6 YPC) and 4 TDs.

5) Cameron Jordan vs. Jack Driscoll (or whoever fills in at RT for Lane Johnson)

With Lane Johnson sidelined for the foreseeable future with an belly harm, Jeff Stoutland and the Eagles must modify their offensive line to account for his or her loss. Does this imply Jack Driscoll will merely fill in at RT as Johnson’s alternative? Or will Andre Dillard begin at LT with Jordan Mailata flipping to the precise aspect? There may be logic to each eventualities.

Saints DE Cameron Jordan sometimes strains up throughout from proper sort out. From 2017 to 2021, Jordan had 60.5 sacks, or simply over 12 per season, nevertheless he had a dip in 2022, with simply 5.5 sacks. Each Dillard and Driscoll are athletic linemen who can wrestle with energy. Since Jordan is a robust rusher, perhaps it is smart to park Mailata at RT, and permit Dillard to begin at LT?

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