The New Orleans Saints face the Philadelphia Eagles to ring in the New Year. Many had this game penciled in as a certain loss for the Saints early in the season and that sentiment has grown exponentially as their respective seasons have gone on. Other factors have seasoned this matchup, namely the Saints’ struggles in Philly over the last two meetings, The Eagles owning the Saints’ 2023 first-round pick, and the controversial trade of Chauncey Gardner-Johnson late in the offseason. These factors have conspired to make this meeting critically intriguing.
The Saints have the faintest of hopes of winning the NFC South this season, but that will quickly be crushed with a seemingly inevitable loss in Philadelphia. This will be very difficult for the Saints and it may be a long afternoon in the City of Brotherly Love. As 80’s poet Robert Tepper once said: “There’s no easy way out, There’s no shortcut home”. The Saints will hopefully not be giving in against Philly this week.
Let’s take a look at this game as well as the rest of the Week 17 schedule this New Year’s weekend!
Last week I went 10-6
I told you so: Bucs over Cardinals!
What do I know: Browns over Saints?!
Thursday, December 29th - Thursday Night Football Season Finale
Cowboys(11-4) at Titans(7-8)
Dallas wins the final Thursday Night game of the season by beating Tennessee at what they do best, running the ball and controlling possession. Dallas wins 31-15.
Sunday, January 1st - Early Games
Cardinals(4-11) at Falcons(5-10)
The lifeless Cardinals will lose consecutive games to NFC South opponents. Atlanta wins 24-21.
Bears(3-12) at Lions(7-8)
Detroit rebounds from a terrible loss last week by taking down Chicago at home. Detroit wins 28-23.
Jaguars(7-8) at Texans(2-12-1)
Jacksonville’s roll toward the AFC South title hits an unexpected speedbump with a surprising loss at Houston, as the Texans’ passing game takes advantage of an underprepared Jags defense. Houston wins 27-14.
Broncos(4-11) at Chiefs(12-3)
LOL! Kansas City wins 35-14.
Dolphins(8-7) at Patriots(7-8)
Both teams are absolutely floundering, but Teddy Bridgewater will use the speedy weapons at his disposal, and most importantly, not turnover the ball, to lead Miami to a desperately-needed win. Miami wins 23-16.
Colts(4-10-1) at Giants(8-6-1)
The Giants rushing attack will punish the Indy defense in this critical win for the G-Men. New York wins 35-22.
Browns(6-9) at Commanders(7-7-1)
Washington’s defense will make the stops when they need them, to pick up a much-needed victory at home. Washington wins 30-25.
Panthers(6-9) at Buccaneers(7-8) - *De-facto NFC South Championship Game*
Yes, like it or not, the winner of this game will likely win the NFC South this year. Much like their first meeting this year, a 21-3 Carolina win, the Panthers will dominate the game on the ground, controlling possession and taking away chances from Tom Brady. This game will be much closer than their last, considering everything at stake, but the result will be that same, a Panthers victory. With the win, the Panthers gain sole possession of the lead in the NFC South, with a chance to win the division crown next week in New Orleans. Carolina wins 20-17.
Saints(6-9) at Eagles(13-2)
This will come as a surprise to absolutely no one, but Philadelphia will simply overwhelm the Saints on the ground, as they have in their last two meetings in Philly. While the Saints surpriningly have more to play for than just pride at this point, they just won't have enough to keep up with the team with the best record in the NFL.
The Eagles just have Dennis Allen’s number, as his defenses have been ravaged in Philly over the last two meetings, and that will continue for a third. Thanks to Philly’s loss last week, and Minny’s lucky win (again), the Eagles have a lot to play for, in a spot where they typically wouldn't. It may not be the skull dragging many would expect, it will be a double-digit Philly win all the same, unfortunately. Philadelphia wins 30-20.
Sunday, January 1st - Late Games
49ers(11-4) at Raiders(6-9)
San Francisco’s top-ranked defense will tie Jarrett Stidham and the Raiders in knots. San Francisco wins 30-12.
Jets(7-8) at Seahawks(7-8)
The Jets’ defense will come through with a stunning performance in Seattle, keeping their Wild Card hopes alive, while sending Seattle’s hopes away. New York wins 29-9.
Vikings(12-3) at Packers(7-8)
Green Bay is on a roll, and are looking to secure a Wild Card spot. They will move another step closer to that goal by beating a Minnesota team that doesn't fare as well against Aaron Rodgers in Lambeau as they do at home. No lucky break for Minnesota this week. Green Bay wins 27-21.
Rams(5-10) at Chargers(9-6)
Baker Mayfield and the Rams don't get to feed off of the dregs of the AFC West this week, as Justin Herbert and the Chargers outduel their roommates in SoFi Stadium. Chargers win 30-28.
Sunday Night Football
Steelers(7-8) at Ravens(10-5)
Baltimore’s ground game will rule the game, while their defense forces Kenny Pickett into crucial turnovers. Baltimore wins 20-13.
Monday, January 2nd - Monday Night Football Season Finale
Bills(12-3) at Bengals(11-4) - Game of the Week
The two hottest teams in the AFC come into this massive showdown with their eyes on Kansas City and the AFC’s top seed. Although Joe Burrow and Josh Allen will be the story of this game, and rightfully so, it will be the Cincy defense that comes through as the biggest surprise, as their defensive front as well as the play from their safeties keep the Buffalo offense in check. This game will live up to the hype and will be critical to the AFC playoff picture. A resurgent season of Monday Night Football goes out with it’s best game of the season. Cincinnati wins 24-21.
The Saints can bring some joy into 2023 by ringing in the New Year with a surprising win. Leave us your picks, comments, and insight below! Happy New Year, Who Dat Nation!