Bold Eagles Predictions: The Birds Will Beat the Saints
1. The Eagles are the hottest team in the NFL
The post-season belongs to the hottest team in the league, the one that goes into the playoffs with the best second-half record. This year, that team is the Eagles, who’ve gone 7 and 1 since the break. Over that span, the Eagles have scored 266 points and won their games by an average of nearly two touchdowns, 33-21.
2. The Saints are limping into the playoffs
Over their last five games, the Saints are 2 and 3. During those five games, they have scored 109 points for an average of 21, or the same number that the Eagles have been allowing per game in the second half.
3. The Eagles don’t turn the ball over
Games can be won or lost on turnovers and the Eagles have become the stingiest team in the league since Nick Foles took over at quarterback. In the last eight games, the Eagles have turned the ball over only five times — never more than once in a game. Teams playing the Eagles have turned the ball over 18 times in the same span.
4. The Saints are awful at forcing turnovers
In the second half of the season, the Saints have turned the ball over 10 times in eight games. Not quite as good as the Eagles, but still pretty good. But the Saints defense has forced just four turnovers in those eight games. So the Eagles turnover differential for the second half of the year is plus 13 and the Saints are minus 6.
5. The Eagles have performed great in cold weather
In snow and frigid cold temperatures at the Linc against the Detroit Lions, the Eagles compiled 478 yards of offense compared to the Lions’ 231. LeSean McCoy went off for a career day with 217 yards and two touchdowns. The snow should be cleared by game time, but the temperature at kickoff is expected to be 24.
6. The Saints and Drew Brees freeze up in the cold
The Saints play indoors and are not used to the conditions they are about to face in Philadelphia. The Saints have not played in conditions below 40 degrees this year. They closest they got was 41 degree weather in Seattle, where they lost 34-7.
Brees has not played in a game where the temperature dropped below freezing since 2010. From 2006 to 2010, he has played in fives games during which the temperature was between 20 and 40 degrees, and in those games his QB rating drops 15 points to below 90 and he has thrown 7 interceptions. Eagles fans should hope the winds pick up, as Brees has played in two games in windy conditions and his quarterback rating fell from 104.7 to 76.8. He was intercepted four times in those two games. Alas, the wind is not expected to be a factor.
7. The Saints stink on the road
The Saints are 3 and 5 on the road this year and have not beaten a team with a winning record on the road. Their wins came against the Buccaneers (4-12), Bears(8-8) and Falcons (4-12). They are 1 and 4 in the second half on the road; they even lost to the stinking Jets away from home. They Saints lost their last three away games to the Seahawks, Rams and Panthers. They scored at total of 36 points in those three games and gave up 75, for an average road loss of 10 points.
8. The Eagles have become pretty good at the Linc
After a long drought at home, the Eagles are 4 and 0 at Lincoln Financial Field for the second half of the season. In those four games, they have scored 136 points and given up 68. That is an average home spread of 33-17.
Given all of the above statistics. It is easy to predict that the Eagles will score 33 points against the Saints, with a final score of 33-24.
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