The Philadelphia Eagles may have made it back to the playoffs for the first time in three years, but all that means is the road only gets harder from here. There are no weak teams in the tournament, especially not in the NFC where one 10-win team didn’t even get in.
There’s no time to even get acclimated to the intensity, because the NFL’s version of a “warm-up” in the postseason is the New Orleans Saints, who are top-five in both offense and defense and have Super Bowl MVP quarterback Drew Brees under center.
How do the Eagles, with the 32nd-ranked pass defense in the league, intend to match up against one of the most prolific passers in history? Brees has already put up a career for the ages, climbing to fifth all-time in yards and fourth in touchdown passes. Among active players, only Denver’s Peyton Manning bests him in either category.
Not only that, but the Saints’ defense is vastly improved this year, especially against the pass. The unit is ranked second against the aerial attack thanks in large part to defensive coordinator Rob Ryan’s pressure packages wreaking havoc on opposing quarterbacks.
They do have one hole at least, as New Orleans allows 4.6 yards per carry, the fourth-highest figure in the league. Get ready for a healthy dose of NFL rushing champion LeSean McCoy.
The Eagles do have one more thing going to them—they’re at home. As good as Brees is, he’s 0-4 in postseason games at outdoor venues according to the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Jeff McLane. It’s hard to win in the road in general, as playoff teams are a whopping 75-20-1 in their own buildings this year.
Philly is currently riding a four-game winning streak at Lincoln Financial Field, and while it won’t be easy, they have a good shot at making it five. The road doesn’t ease up any from there though, as you’ll see every potential playoff opponents presents a unique challenge.