Home field advantage is something that teams fight for all year in the NFL. With the playoff system in its current format, it also means that each division winner, regardless of record, receives a home game to begin their playoff run. This year, the Philadelphia Eagles will host the New Orleans Saints in the wild-card round. In a matchup of two of the league’s best offenses, the home field gained by Philadelphia could mean everything. It has less to do with the fact that the Eagles have been playing well at home and more to do with the fact that outside their home confines, inside a dome, the Saints have really struggled.
New Orleans’ record this season really shows the difference in their play at home vs. on the road. They managed a perfect 8-0 at home this season, a feat accomplished by only three NFL teams in 2013. On the other hand, they were a playoff team worst (3-5) on the road; they average 17 points less on the road than at home. In addition to that, the Saints have never won a playoff game on the road.
Those stats alone would seem to bode well for Philadelphia, but add to that the fact that the Eagles have won their last four at home after breaking their longer than a year losing streak, and Saturday’s playoff matchup at Lincoln Financial Field looks even better for the home team.
Weather has played its role in plenty of playoff outcomes, but with the expected temperature and weather in Philadelphia this weekend, it won’t be formidable for either team. However, with the experience of dealing with the elements more frequently, the Eagles seem to have not only the positive of playing at home, but also that of New Orleans dealing with more than their used to as far as the conditions are concerned.