Eagles vs. Saints: Playoff Dreams at Stake in Important MNF Clash

Timothy RappFeatured ColumnistNovember 5, 2012

PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 28: Quarterback Michael Vick #7 of the Philadelphia Eagles looks to pass against the Atlanta Falcons during a game at Lincoln Financial Field on October 28, 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rich Schultz /Getty Images)
Rich Schultz/Getty Images

The New Orleans Saints are 2-5 but have one of the most dangerous offenses in the NFL. The Philadelphia Eagles are 3-4 but have the talent to recover and win the NFC East.

When the two teams meet on Monday Night Football, more than just a win or loss will be on the line; both teams will be fighting for their respective seasons. 

Even with a win, the Saints will have a lot of work to do at 3-5. The defense has been horrid, they don't run the ball well at all, and the team has not found a way to win the close games that it has in the past.

But New Orleans does have Drew Brees and the league's top passing attack (316 yards per game). You can bet there isn't a team in the NFL that will take the Saints lightly. That said, if they were to lose, there isn't a chance in hell they could recover from a 2-6 start and make the playoffs.

I'm not willing to pencil them in for a miraculous eight-game winning streak.

Meanwhile, the Andy Reid regime could come tumbling down if the Eagles lose this game. Reid could get canned; Michael Vick will almost assuredly be benched. A season that began with playoff aspirations could quickly deteriorate into another "Dream Team" fiasco like the 2011 campaign.

Then again, if the Eagles improve to 4-4, the future looks brighter. Five of their last eight games are against NFC East opponents. The three non-division games are against the Carolina Panthers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Cincinnati Bengals—all winnable.

And the negative momentum from three consecutive losses will have been reversed.

Both of these teams are capable of making a playoff run, and both are just as capable of finishing 6-10. That's why this game is so vital; chances are, it will dictate the rest of the season for each team.

So what will happen?

The Eagles have the better overall team, and if the offensive line can protect Vick while he makes the correct reads, Philadelphia should move the ball at will against a porous Saints defense. While I don't doubt Brees and the Saints will move the ball, the Eagles defense is talented enough to slow them down.

There will be two major factors in this game: Will the Eagles rely on LeSean McCoy and successfully run the ball, and will they be able to get pressure on Brees with their front four and disrupt his timing by jamming up his wide receivers?

If they can, they'll win. If they don't and this game becomes a shootout, my money is on Brees. With a lot of jobs on the line and the ability to control their own destiny down the stretch, I'm sticking with the Eagles in an exciting game, 34-24.


Hit me up on Twitter—my tweets aren't afraid to get emotional after a big win.

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