Philadelphia Eagles at New Orleans Saints

New Orleans Saints -8.0

Over/Under 52

  • The Saints beat the Eagles 48-7 back on November 18. The Eagles notably did not have Darren Sproles or Nick Foles in that game.
  • The Eagles have won six of their seven games since that loss to the Saints to advance to this point in the playoffs.
  • The Eagles opened as 10-point underdogs this week.
  • Nick Foles has won four consecutive starts since taking over for Carson Wentz .
  • The Saints averaged 37 points in Drew Brees ’ seven home starts this season. They averaged 40 points per game in Drew Brees ’s last five home starts.
  • The Eagles are 7-0 this season when they score in the first quarter, and they have won 19 consecutive games overall when they get on the board in the first quarter.
  • The Saints are 5-0 when leading after the first quarter and 9-0 when leading at halftime.
  • Alvin Kamara finished the season with 81 catches for 709 yards despite sitting out Week 17. He was the Saints’ second-leading receiver on the season.
  • The Eagles’ offensive line might have been the MVP of their Wild Card win over the Bears. This season, the Eagles managed to hold Aaron Donald , J.J. Watt and Khalil Mack without a sack in their matchups against each player.
  • Philadelphia has another tough challenge against New Orleans’s offensive line, with Cameron Jordan (12 sacks) and Sheldon Rankins (eight sacks) leading the way.
  • The Bears repeatedly beat Eagles’ cornerback Avonte Maddox with double moves in the fourth quarter last week, but it was too little too late. The Saints have two legit deep threats in Ted Ginn Jr. and Tre’Quan Smith, so look for them to try to take some deep shots with double moves if Maddox matches up with either of them.
  • The Saints’ offense finished in the top five in rushing and passing for the second consecutive year.
  • The Eagles were the only team to have four players get 40+ quarterback pressures during the regular season (Michael Bennett , Fletcher Cox , Chris Long and Brandon Graham ).
  • The Eagles pass rush ranked fourth in pass rush win rate during the regular season, per ESPN.
  • The Eagles are 5-4 on the road this season including last week’s win over the Bears.
  • The Eagles have won outright in each of Nick Foles ’s last six starts as an underdog; four of those wins came in the postseason.
  • The over is 9-0 in Saints’ postseason games played in the Superdome.
  • This figures to be a relatively clean game, as the Saints had the second-fewest penalties in the league this season, and the Eagles had the sixth fewest.
  • The Saints were called for 20 defensive pass interference penalties, second most in the NFL.
  • The Saints are 5-0 in the Superdome in the postseason during the Sean Payton-Drew Brees era.

Pre-Game Props

1. The last non-kneeling, offensive play of the 1st Quarter is a completed pass (We'll leave this open until the 2:00 mark) (2.8x yes/2.1x no)

NO. During the regular season, the Eagles attempted a pass on 60 percent of their offensive plays, and Nick Foles completed 70.5 percent of his pass attempts. If that form holds for this game, we can expect 43.4 percent of the Eagles’ plays to be completed passes. The Saints, on the other hand, attempted passes on 52.4 percent of plays, and completed 73.4 percent of their pass attempts. Going by those numbers, we get completed passes on 38.5 percent of the Saints’ plays. I’m not sure these defenses are great, but they were both in the top half of the league in DVOA, and they played better down the stretch. I suspect both teams complete fewer than 70 percent of their passes, and I also expect the Saints to run more plays. Both of those things help make “No” the clear choice for me.

2. The first offensive play of the 1st Quarter gains 2 or more yards (1.5x yes/4.5x no)

Using the numbers from above, we get a 16.6 percent chance of an incomplete pass on any given Eagles offensive play and a 13.9 percent chance of an incompletion on any given Saints offensive play. Again, those percentages feel a bit low considering the matchups, and it’s also important to keep in mind you can have completed passes or rushing plays that go for fewer than two yards, though they aren’t exactly common. In order for “No” to be the right call, we have to think there is a better than 25 percent chancethe first offensive play of the first quarter goes for fewer than two yards. I don’t think I can get there, though I might change my mind if I knew Philadelphia would get the ball first.

3. Kamara (NO) or D. Sproles (PHI) record an offensive play of 20 yards or more in the 1st Quarter (3.5x yes/2.0x no)

Twenty yards is a lot. Darren Sproles did not have a 20-yard play in any of his seven games this season, including the win over the Bears last week. Alvin Kamara only had eight such plays all season. The odds of “Yes” hitting are awfully small.

4. Either team makes a FG of 40 yards or more in the 1st Quarter(2.1x yes/3.4x no)

NO. Neither of these teams employ Cody Parkey , so a 40+ yard field goal is definitely a possibility. That being said, Will Lutz made 13 40+ yard field goals this season compared to just nine for Jake Elliott . If both of these kickers are making fewer than one 40+ yard field goal per game, how likely is it that they get one in a given quarter? 

5. Nick Foles (PHI) records a passing TD on the PHI opening drive (4.0x yes/1.9x no)

NO. The Eagles are 7-0 this season when they score in the first quarter. Let that sink in. They have only scored in the first quarter seven times this season. So how likely is it that they score on the opening drive, let alone that they get a touchdown?

6. NO gains 25 or more total offensive yards on their opening drive (3.0x yes/2.0x no)

YES. The Saints are second in the NFL with 39.89 yards per drive. The Eagles’ defense allowed 33.16 yards per drive during the regular season. I wish I knew the median yards per drive for the Saints, but absent that information, “Yes” seems like an easy choice, especially considering the odds.