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Saints To Advance To NFC Championship Game

January 11, 2019

The New Orleans Saints have a challenge on their hands in the NFC Divisional Round facing off against the Philadelphia Eagles at the Superdome.

The Eagles had fortune on their side against the Chicago Bears last week. Cody Parkey had the opportunity to send the Bears through to the Divisional Round, but he missed a 43-yard field goal to allow Philadelphia to advance.

Nick Foles continued his run of clutch play for the club. With the game on the line in the fourth quarter on fourth down, the quarterback connected with Golden Tate for the match-winning touchdown. The defense has started to find their form to aid Foles and the offense, which is a warning for the Saints in the contest.

New Orleans were arguably the best team in the NFL throughout the campaign. Their offense sputtered slightly towards the end of the season. However, on home soil and with extra time to prepare for the showdown expect Drew Brees and company to come out firing.

The Saints have not reached the NFC Championship Game since their run to the Super Bowl in the 2009 season. It’s time for Brees and Sean Payton to end their drought on Sunday.

Brees will see off the Eagles' playoff surge

New Orleans Saints

The Saints have been outstanding since week two of the campaign, reeling off 13 wins and dropping only two matches. The last of those came in the final week of the term when Payton opted to rest his starters against the Carolina Panthers. Brees and his team-mates successfully passed through the gauntlet of the Pittsburgh Steelers in their previous outing to secure the number one seed.

The club took the time to sit their key players to ensure that they’re fresh for the Divisional Round. It’s a risky strategy as teams can occasionally come out of the bye out of sync. New Orleans’ passing game relies on the rhythm between Brees and his pass-catchers so it be an interesting passage of play, especially in the first quarter.

Payton’s men were firing on all cylinders the last time the two sides played. They put the Eagles to the sword with ease. Tre’Quan Smith enjoyed a breakout performance for the Saints, notching 157 receiving yards and a touchdown.

Smith has been quiet since and could be an important player to ease the pressure on Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara. Thomas and Kamara have been the keys to the Saints’ success all season with Brees. They slowed down somewhat towards the end of the campaign and will need to regain their best form to defeat the Eagles.

New Orleans’ defense has been solid enough during the season. The playoffs are time for playmakers and they have two dominant players on the defensive line. Cameron Jordan and Sheldon Rankins have been excellent throughout the term and they will need their best against a good Eagles offensive line.

Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles and Foles did it again in the post-season. Philadelphia and their quarterback continue to produce when the lights shine the brightest. Needing a late touchdown to take the lead against the Bears on fourth down on the goalline, Foles connected with Tate for the score. It put the reigning Super Bowl champions ahead by a point.

Mitchell Trubisky led Chicago in range for a game-winning field goal. However, Parkey’s low kick was tipped at the line by Treyvon Hester and then struck both the post and the upright before falling the wrong side of the line. Call it luck or clutch play, the Eagles remain on course to defend their crown in Atlanta.

Carson Wentz was the quarterback when the Eagles travelled to the Superdome in November. He had a game to forget, throwing three interceptions as Philadelphia were on the receiving end of a 48-7 hammering. Since then Doug Pederson’s men have won six out of their seven games, with their only defeat coming at the hands of the Dallas Cowboys on the road in overtime. The Eagles appear to be peaking at the right time and have big-game players ready for the occasion. Alshon Jeffery and Zach Ertz are rediscovering their form from last season, while Tate is emerging as a playmaker.

On the other side of the ball, the defensive line is starting to bring pressure. Fletcher Cox, Michael Bennett, Chris Long and Brandon Graham have the ability to make life difficult for Brees. The secondary has been maligned for much of the campaign, but there’s more than hope that Philadelphia can pull off another upset.

Head to Head

Games Played: 28 New Orleans Saints: 12 Philadelphia Eagles: 16

As previously mentioned the Saints and the Eagles last met in the regular season when Payton’s men obliterated the NFC East outfit, putting 48 points on the board. Rematches within the same campaign are always different and it would not be surprising to see a closer contest.

The Saints have beaten the Eagles twice with Brees and Payton as their quarterback-coach combo. On the first occasion New Orleans edged out their opponents at the Superdome by a three-point margin. Brees put forward a solid performance throwing a touchdown, although much of the heavy lifting was done by running back Deuce McAllister.

It was a similar story in their clash in the 2013 post-season in the Wildcard Round where Brees and Foles faced off. Shayne Graham was kicked a game-winning field goal from 32 yards to secure the victory at Lincoln Financial Field for the visitors.

Match Betting Options

The game should be a completely different contest from their meeting in November. However, the Saints are extremely strong on home soil and will be well rested for the match. Brees and Payton have had time to develop their gameplan and routes to attack the Eagles’ defense.

Philadelphia have momentum and lightning in a bottle once again with their quarterback. They will provide a tough challenge for the Saints, but expect New Orleans to secure the victory at -340  with Bovada. The handicap of +6 is very intriguing given that the Saints could secure a narrow win by a touchdown, therefore take the option at 888Sport at 7/5 .

Expect the game to be a lower-scoring affair compared to the first matchup – therefore take the under on 51 total points at odds of -105  with TopBet.  The defensive or special teams touchdown bet should also be taken at odds of +180  with TopBet.

Player Betting Options

Both teams have playmakers that will be keen to make their mark in the post-season. Ertz has notched a lot of crucial scores for the Eagles over the past few seasons, including his touchdown in the Super Bowl. Back him for another touchdown anytime at odds of 7/4  with Betway.

Thomas has been money since he arrived in New Orleans in the 2016 campaign. The 25-year-old could be in line for big game therefore take him to score anytime at odds of 11/10  with Bet365 and to lead the Divisional Round in receiving yards at +500  with BetOnline.

Brees has not been as active throwing the ball downfield this season compared to previous terms. However, back him to lead the Divisional Round in passing yards with a stellar outing at +550  with BetOnline.

Tips Summary

New Orleans Saints To Beat Philadelphia Eagles
Sunday 13th January 2019 16:40 ET (21:40 GMT)
Odds: -340

Philadelphia Eagles +6 Spread
Sunday 13th January 2019 16:40 ET (21:40 GMT)
Odds: 7/5

Under 51 Total Points To Be Scored
Sunday 13th January 2019 16:40 ET (21:40 GMT)
Odds: -105

Defensive Or Special Teams Touchdown To Be Scored
Sunday 13th January 2019 16:40 ET (21:40 GMT)
Odds: +180

Zach Ertz To Score Touchdown Anytime
Sunday 13th January 2019 16:40 ET (21:40 GMT)
Odds: 7/4

Michael Thomas To Score Touchdown Anytime
Sunday 13th January 2019 16:40 ET (21:40 GMT)
Odds: 11/10

Drew Brees To Lead Divisional Round In Passing Yards
Sunday 13th January 2019 16:40 ET (21:40 GMT)
Odds: +550

Michael Thomas To Lead Divisional Round In Receiving Yards
Sunday 13th January 2019 16:40 ET (21:40 GMT)
Odds: +500

  • Drew Brees
  • New Orleans Saints
  • NFL
  • Nick Foles
  • Philadelphia Eagles

    About the author

    Simon Sinclair
    Simon Sinclair

    Sports Writer

    Simon is a freelance sports writer from the UK. He passionately writes about all kinds of sports, sharing his predictions on everything from the latest cricket matches and golf tournaments to major horse racing events and popular American sports.