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Saints @ Eagles key match-ups: Can Darius Slay contain Michael Thomas?

Saints need to remain sharp on upset alert—Eagles may pose their own magician under center.

NFL: NFC Divisional Playoff-Philadelphia Eagles at New Orleans Saints Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

The No. 1 defense in the NFL — the New Orleans Saints — advances their fleet of 10 victories to the city of Brotherly love. Taysom Hill clocks in for another start at quarterback, while the Philadelphia Eagles turn to rookie quarterback Jalen Hurts to create an inspirational moment in his first NFL start against Dennis Allen’s gang - a defensive unit fueled by a former Eagle, Malcolm Jenkins.

This won’t be any ideal start for the bold-headed rookie in Philly, nor can the Saints anticipate the 3-8-1 Eagles to go down without a fight.

Looking beyond the team records and flashy dual-threat QBs, there’s a few pivotal factors in this NFC showdown. Shall we begin?

Key Match-Ups:

Andrus Peat vs Fletcher Cox:

NFL: Player Headshots 2020 Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

If there was one thing going for Philadelphia in this hotly contested match-up—it’s that their most prized player, DT Fletcher Cox, is battling one of the Saints Achilles heels- OG Andrus Peat. Yes. Just that.

The one-man wrecking crew, Fletcher Cox moves around on the Philadelphia defensive front. In short, the Saints OG Andrus Peat is inevitably going to meet his “maker”. After struggling to stay on the field, but persist & relish snaps in the ATL match-up, Peat was noticeably bullied by Grady Jarrett.

If Peat can’t manage Fletcher Cox, we may see Taysom Hill’s ridiculous turnover ratio spike & a lot of Saints addicts walk on thin ice with Brees’s injury news leading up to the Week 15 battle royale with Kansas City.

Michael Thomas vs Darius Slay

NFL: Player Headshots 2020 Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The man, the myth, the legend—@Cantguardmike takes center stage against a CB, Darius Slay, whom is egocentric about clamping down opposing wideouts. Yet, the Philly CB wasn’t painted as all glamour full of a hefty free agent contract, with the exception of battling prominent WRs.

Rather, Slay was quite beleaguered by the likes of Davante Adams + D.K. Metcalf:

If Taysom Hill & MT can continue building on their well-rounded rapport, expect success to follow. Otherwise, we’re counting on Taysom Hill to dissect a strategic, Jim Schwartz defense without a productive 2019 Offensive Player of the Year in Michael Thomas and a once-2020 MVP Candidate, Alvin Kamara. And we all know why AK was once an MVP candidate and fantasy Greek god.

Terron Armstead vs Brandon Graham

NFL: Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

If you were to tell Jim Schwartz & his veteran disciples on the D-line, that it’s time throw the towel in—You would be mistaken. Not only does Flecther Cox act like a professional day in & day out, but he’s got a teammate slotted in the Jedi ranks: Veteran EDGE player—Brandon Graham.

The 32-year-old DE, Brandon Braham, is quite the mirror image of fine-wine. The notorious Super Bowl clincher (via strip-sack on TB12) has held his ground with 7 sacks in 12 games thus far.

It won’t be easy for Graham to boil Hill’s blood, due to Saints LT Terron Armstead healthy & very likely garnering the start. Nonetheless, Armstead has battled nagging injuries.

To exonerate Armstead’s outlook—The Glass crafted LT has given up a few penalties & a couple sacks on 10 games registered in 2020. Armstead will have to bring his A-game, as his responsibilities rest on a huge task for the No. Two QB from BYU.

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