Both the New Orleans Saints and Philadelphia Eagles know who their starting quarterbacks are. The difference is that the Saints will know next week and the Eagles may have a different choice after they take on New Orleans.
Neither team is looking playoff-bound at this point.
The Saints never recovered from an offseason filled with scandal and distraction. They sit at 2-5, and the front office can probably start scouting top-10 draft picks.
Philadelphia is still in it mathematically, although you'd never believe it with the media circus engulfing the team. At 3-4, the Eagles are only 1.5 games out of a Wild Card. But make no mistake, this team is spiraling downward at an alarming rate having lost the last three in a row.
When: Monday, November 5th at 8:30 p.m. EST.
Where: The Mercedez-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, LA
Live Stream: espn.go.com
Online Updates and Commentary: The Bleacher Report Live Blog
Pick Against the Spread: Eagles +3.5 (via bovada.lv)
Wouldn't it make sense for the Eagles to play well this week after everyone has shoveled a load of dirt on the Andy Reid era? Then again, how well does the offense have to execute against a historically atrocious defense?
The Saints have been giving up yards on both the ground (170.1/game) and the air (304.6). The unit is giving up 50 more total yards per game than their closest competitor for the title of terrible. Philly may not have played well this year, but they still have plenty of offensive options that can make plays.
Will Philly's defense be able to slow down Drew Brees? Honestly, it doesn't matter. The Eagles may not even punt in this game. If New Orleans keeps pace, it's unlikely that they will win by more than three points.
I love half-points. So much.
Over/Under: 52 (via bovada.lv)
The Philadelphia defense is middling at best, and Brees was completely shut down last week. Both of those points trend towards the Saints putting up some yardage and points. When taken into account with the above regarding the Saints defense (or lack thereof), the scoreboard operator should have carpal tunnel by halftime. Take the over.
Eagles: None of any concern.
Saints: RB Darren Sproles (hand, questionable); S Roman Harper (concussion); and LB David Hawthorne (hamstring).
Fantasy Big Plays
Drew Brees: Let's dispense with the most obvious choice. Under no circumstances can you sit Brees, especially when he's carrying a chip on his shoulder from the previous week. Additionally, the Eagles haven't been a defensive dynamo. Don't get cute. Start Brees.
Michael Vick: I love a good controversial pick. Gets the blood pumping. As mentioned ad nauseum thus far, the Saints find defense to be an afterthought when playing the game of football. Vick just needs to be careful not to take chances, deliver the ball in a safe manner and watch his wide receivers do their job.
Jeremy Maclin and DeSean Jackson: See Vick, Michael. These guys will finally be unleashed in space against a terrible defense. It's about time those high fantasy draft picks paid off.
LeSean McCoy: McCoy will be the highest scoring running back this week. A soft defense, an offense needing to stabilize itself and an incredibly talented back equals points galore.
Keys to a Eagles Win
Never, ever punt the ball. Unless the Eagles are facing a fourth down at their own 30, go for it. What does Reid have to lose at this point? His job? Probably already gone. So have some fun and keep the pressure on. The offense needs to break out. This type of attack will infuse the team with the spark it's missed all season.
But thanks to the ultra-conservative nature of the NFL, the first key is unlikely to happen. However, Reid can dial up the run early and often. Get McCoy going so you can control the flow of the game. Both offenses are capable of scoring on every drive. Keep the ball in McCoy's hands.
The Eagles must find their pass rush. Trent Cole, Cullen Jenkins and Jason Babin need to host at few meetings at the quarterback to give the defense a chance at stopping the Saints. It's that simple.
Keys to a Saints Win
Tackle. The Saints should see a steady dose of McCoy runs, and they will need to keep him in check. When a defense is as bad as New Orlean's unit, the culprit is usually something extremely fundamental. If the Saints want to stay in this game, the defense must at least force two or three punts.
Attack the middle of the field. Philly's strengths on defense are on the outside (defensive ends and cornerbacks). In order to avoid the Eagles' better playmakers, the Saints need to call runs up the gut and use crossing routes to shake free of Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.
Eagles 38, Saints 35