When: Sunday, January 13th @ 4:40 PM
Where: Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, LA
What Channel: Fox
How Philly Got Here
Philadelphia and New Orleans couldn’t have had more different seasons if they tried. Philly opened up their season with a title defense against the Atlanta Falcons while New Orleans posted a clunker against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. What followed is what set them apart. The Saints would go on a 10 game winning streak of absolute terror. Destroying their opponents by over 16 points a game. Philly would go the same 10 game stretch at 4-6. The defending champs were left for dead, counted out of postseason contention.
When Philly traveled to New Orleans, they were annihilated 48-7 in a game that was never close. Fast Forward to Week 15, Carson Wentz is ruled out because of a fracture in his back. It was Nick Foles time again. We all know what happened next, the Eagles are on a 4 game winning streak, playing their best football of the year. They are as healthy as they have been all year, and now we are left wondering one thing. Can Foles really do it again?
5 Keys to Victory for Philadelphia
The first key to victory
This lies within the Eagles offense. Nick Foles is 27-56 on 3rd down conversions. That amounts to an impressive 47%. It’s a well-known fact that if you are going to go into the Dome and beat Drew Brees, you need to keep him off the field. If Foles and the Eagles can keep up the third down conversion rate, their chances of moving on are drastically improved. The Eagles also need to get positive yards on first down. Putting yourself in a hole against an opportunistic defense does you no favors. Look for Philly to consistently gain positive yardage on first down in this one.
The second key to victory
Alshon Jeffrey. I’ll tell you why, because Marcus Latimore loves to play sticky coverage, meaning Alshon is going to have to continue making catches in traffic. The Nick Foles and Alshon Jeffrey connection is as real as it’s ever been. Look for Foles to consistently look Jeffrey’s way on Sunday.
The third key to victory
The defensive line for Philadelphia. If the Eagles are unable to convert on third down consistently, they will be relying on their front 4 to rattle Brees. Against Chicago, Philly’s front 7 got excellent pressure for a majority of the game. A repeat performance in this category can only mean good things for the Eagles.
The fourth key to victory
Cre’Von LeBlanc and Avonte Maddox. At times this year, Jim Schwartz has had to go to a straight basic package on defense. We signed people off the streets the week of a game and STARTED them. Ironically, LeBlanc was claimed off of waivers from the Chicago Bears. Almost immediately LeBlanc took over at Nickel corner. He hasn’t looked back since. LeBlanc has given up 21 catches and zero touchdowns this year. That has come in close to 200 snaps on the field.
Avonte Maddox? Well, he’s just about done it all. From safety to nickel corner, to outside corner, Maddox has played them all incredibly well. A fourth-round pick out of Pittsburgh, Maddox has settled in, far and above the Eagles best outside corner. He was beaten by the double-move multiple times last Sunday. Hopefully, he figures that out this week in practice. High-level corner play certainly wouldn’t hurt the Eagles chances in this one.
The final key to victory
Is one of the most obvious ones. Shut down, Alvin Kamara. Fletcher Cox has had his most incredible season to date, and he’s a big factor that the Eagles have had success this late in the year. If Philly is going to win this game, they absolutely have to stop Alvin Kamara. Whether it is him in the passing or running game, it has to be limited. Tarik Cohen only had 4 touches against the Eagles. It’s safe to say Kamara will have more than 4 touches this Sunday. Stopping him doesn’t guarantee a win, it’s close though.
There is no sugar coating this, it won’t be easy. Philadelphia is going up against a team that has seemingly had destiny on their side. The last time New Orleans lost to the Bucs, Cowboys, and Panthers in the same year? Yup, the year they won the Super Bowl. Ironically enough, the Eagles seem to have destiny on their side too. The Saints haven’t lost a home playoff game since 1993. Who beat them? The Philadelphia Eagles of course. #FlyEaglesFly