The New Orleans Saints secondary displayed a fairly strong performance in their second straight win of the season in Cleveland but will need all hands-on deck as they visit the Eagles this week. To keep their playoff hopes alive, the team must find a win on the road once again in a likely cold weather game. The team’s only hope in this one is that quarterback Jalen Hurts status is in question as he is recovering from a sprained throwing shoulder. This would be a huge break for the Saints when it comes to the ground game as well allowing the pass rush to tee-off a bit more and ultimately assisting the secondary in coverage. If the Saints have anything going for them going into this game against this team, it’s that they have been playing their behinds off. We’ll see if it continues in Philly.
How have these two units performed so far this season?
When it comes to the Eagles passing game, they currently sit at 9th in passing yards per game, 8th in passing touchdowns and 2nd in passer rating. With the incredible development out of quarterback Jalen Hurts paired with the addition of receiver A.J. Brown, the Eagles offense has become one of, if not the most explosive offense in the league. Through the air Hurts has been very efficient throwing for 22 touchdowns to only 5 interceptions with a 67.3% completion rating. 17 of those touchdowns have come from the helps of two very dynamic weapons in A.J. Brown and Devonta Smith. Each with over 1,000 receiving yards for the year and combining for 159 receptions total, making them arguably the league's top receiver duo this season. They also have one of the better tight ends in the game in Dallas Goedert who has 46 receptions and 611 yards in only 10 games played. A great weapon in the seams as well as the play action game.
On the Saints back end, they currently rank 2nd in passing yards allowed, 3rd in passing touchdowns allowed and have given up the 11th lowest in passer rating in the league to opposing quarterbacks. As a unit, they have proven to still play at a high level not allowing many deep plays throughout the year and have seemed to have picked up some chemistry lately. Tyrann Mathieu has played his best football of the season these past couple weeks and Alontae Taylor has maybe solidified himself as the number two corner for next season. With the playoffs unlikely, the bright spot going into next season is how well this secondary is playing down this last stretch of games. This is all without Marshon Lattimore which gives you even more hope going into next year.
What to expect in this game?
The expectation in this game is that Philly should still be able to generate offense regardless of who’s at quarterback. It will be very tough on the Saints defense to contain both A.J. Brown and Devonta Smith. I believe Paulson Adebo will struggle in this one as he’s been susceptible against quicker, more explosive receivers. On the other side, expect Alontae Taylor to make his fair share of plays in some heavyweight battles against this tandem. He hasn’t let off the gas so far this year against some of the league's best, so there’s no reason to think otherwise. Expect some yards after the catch from A.J. Brown as well as he’s very much the full package as a receiver as far as strength, speed and explosiveness. I could also see a deep play or two as the Saints haven’t faced this type of core since the Bengals in week five, they might get caught with a few. Overall, it will all start up front with the pass rush getting home quickly not allowing the secondary guys to cover for a long period of time. Tackling will also be a huge factor against this team. If they can play some complementary football and minimize mistakes the secondary could keep this team in the game.