New Orleans Prepared To Welcome Garcia Back to Philadelphia
Last Sunday Drew Brees set a personal record and tied a franchise record with 6 passing touchdowns in a single game. The last time he played the Eagles he set a franchise record of 18 consecutive completions in a 38-23 loss (admittedly some of those completions came the week before these two teams met). During that last meeting, Donovan McNabb was huge against a porous Saints defense, rushing for 40 yards and throwing 3 touchdowns on 263 passing yards. One other touchdown came off a big run which Donovan fumbled and was recovered in the end zone by Kevin Curtis. Saints fans may remember this as the play that they lost starting cornerback Mike McKenzie for the remainder of the season.
The 38-23 victory was somewhat bittersweet for the Philadelphia Eagles. They were not destined to the playoffs but were able to avenge the prior season's playoff loss at the Superdome. Had the Eagles won they would have played the Chicago Bears in the NFC championship. Instead the Saints were able to defeat an Eagles team led by Jeff Garcia in what would have seemed to be his final game as an Eagle. He went on to play for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the next two seasons. Now at age 39 he is returning to the Eagles for what may be one final shot to be a thorn in the Saints' side.
Garcia led the Bucs to two victories in 2007 and a 1-1 record in 2008 versus the New Orleans Saints. His return to Philadelphia is huge with Donovan going down for a few weeks with broken ribs during their week one contest. Garcia is returning to a system he's very familiar with and is expected to immediately contribute. Andy Reid knows that and had this to say about his expectations: "He's someone who knows this offense and has been very successful in this offense. He can be a positive influence on Kevin Kolb."
However, Jeff Garcia has spent the last two years in a different system and spent the entire off-season learning another playbook out in Oakland. As much of a professional as Jeff Garcia is, I have a hard time seeing him having the ability to return to the system and be able to open up the entire playbook. He should make an impact as he is familiar with the Saints, but then again he has yet to play the Saints' Defense led by Gregg Williams.
The revamped Saints Defense will be looking to improve on their performance against the Detroit Lions in week 1. With Jonathan Vilma returning, and Darren Sharper and Jabari Greer being picked up in free agency, the Saints are looking good so far. They gave up some points against the Lions, but most of the points came from very poor special teams coverage. They'll need to improve somewhat on their performance to slow down or stop the Eagles who are riding high after demolishing the Saints' NFC South foes in Carolina. However, if you're an Eagles fan, don't expect to pick off Drew Brees four times this Sunday. While Drew Brees will never admit that he's driving toward any NFL record, he looks as if he may be trying to get his passing yardage record this season while erasing Brady's single season TD record.
While this is going to be a tough game for both teams, I have a strong feeling that the Saints' offense will have a good day while the Eagles' offense struggles with Jeff Garcia trying to remember his way around Lincoln Financial Field.
So here's my guess at the score: 42-18 Saints with at least 2 turnovers for Williams' defense.
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