The slumping New Orleans Saints go on the road again this week to face the rising Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles have won two of their last three. Even sitting at 4-6 on the season, the Eagles are right in the hunt for the NFC wild card. Meanwhile, the Saints have lost their last two games. At 5-4 on the year, the Saints are currently the sixth seed. This week’s game could go a long way to determine seeding as the year winds down. These are some of the key matchups which could determine the Week 11 matchup between the Saints and Eagles.
Jalen Hurts vs Saints Defensive Front
Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts is putting together a good 2021 season so far. In the last three weeks, Hurts has improved greatly as a passer, averaging a 66% completion percentage and a 3:1 touchdown to interception ratio. This is in addition to what he can do on the ground. Hurts is still rushing an average of 10 times per game. Hurts’ improvement as a passer and his dangerous rushing attack has put the Eagles into playoff contention the last month. Hurts and the Eagles offensive line will need to keep up their quality attacks against a good Saints defensive front in Week 11.
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The New Orleans Saints defensive front has been a strong point for the Saints this year. The Saints linebackers have really stepped up so far this year, solidifying an already strong point of the team. No team in the NFL has given up fewer yards on the ground than the Saints. Only two teams have given up fewer rushing touchdowns than the Saints as well. Hurts’ ability to rush the ball will keep the Saints defensive front on their toes. Quarterback runs can come from any formation at any time. The Saints have faced very few quarterbacks so far this year with rushing upside. In the few games they did, the team lost, such as against the Carolina Panthers and New York Giants earlier this season. The winner of this key matchup could very well win this game for their respective team in this Week 11 matchup.
DeVonta Smith vs Marshon Lattimore
Eagles rookie DeVonta Smith has had a good year so far. Through 10 games, Smith is averaging over 14 yards a reception. His body has held up so far but this week he has to go against one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL. Marshon Lattimore has been shutting opposing receivers down all year. Lattimore is a very physical corner so Smith will have to get creative to get away from Lattimore. Lattimore is playing the most snaps of his entire career so far in 2021. Through the eight games he has played, Lattimore has only allowed 32 catches. He has 10 pass breakups so far this year as well, already nearing his career-high. DeVonta Smith will need to bring his A+ game to this week’s game against one of the league’s best.
Saints Passcatchers vs the Yips
The Saints pass-catchers might be one of the worst units in the NFL. They are also not doing themselves any favors. On the season, the Saints have dropped an unofficial 15 passes thrown their way. Seemingly, this number could be way higher since this is not an official NFL stat. No matter though, the Saints pass-catchers have been doing better getting open lately but the yips seem to have come along with that.
For those unaware, the yips is a term used for an involuntary act of self-sabotage in sports. This can manifest in any way, from not being able to make free throws in basketball to not being able to throw a strike in baseball. It is usually said to be all in the head of the player, not a physical ailment. This holds true for the Saints pass-catchers. It seems as if they are all pressing so hard to make plays that they cannot even do the simple things first. If the Saints want to win this week's game, everyone needs to get over their yips and contribute.
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