The Philadelphia Eagles go into the playoffs as the healthiest team in the league. The same can not be said for the New Orleans Saints. They have experienced some major injuries, especially on the defensive side of the ball, and specifically in the secondary.
Rookie safety sensation Kenny Vaccaro was put on IR after an ankle injury, and starting cornerback Jabari Greer and nickel man Patrick Robinson are also in the same boat. The secondary is frankly decimated by injuries. It’s leaving an inexperienced guy like Corey White starting at cornerback opposite young veteran Keenan Lewis.
This is something the Eagles must exploit. You just know Eagles head coach Chip Kelly has a variety of ways to get speedster DeSean Jackson matched up 1-on-1 with some of the Saints’ lesser corners. The tight ends should also be huge in this particular game.
If the Saints have another weakness on that side of the ball, it is their linebackers, specifically in coverage. If Nick Foles is afforded time in the pocket, which will be no easy feat, guys like Zach Ertz and Brent Celek should be able to find open spots in the defense with some favorable matchups.
Expect there to be fire works on Saturday night, as these are two of the top five offenses in the league going at it; neither defense is particularly dominant. Foles and Drew Brees are also two of the hottest quarterbacks going right now.
Whoever plays best in the conditions and has the ball last might come away the victor. With a dominant running game, playing at home in front of a raucous crowd, and the ultimate closer in LeSean McCoy, I am betting on that team being the Eagles.
Final prediction? 34-30 Eagles.