There are still several online sportsbooks that have the line at 54, and either way, I think there is some nice value on this total.
Big total, slow game
We all know about Chip Kelly’s hurry up offense by now. However while they do run plays rather quickly, they also run the ball out of their offense a lot. When most people think about hurry up offense, they think a bout two-minute drills and lots of passing. However Kelly and the Eagles have the best running back in the NFL this season, and you can bet they will use him in this game.
The Saints will likely attempt to run the ball a lot in this game as well, keeping the ball out of the hands of Nick Foles, LeSean McCoy and the Chip Kelly offense. The Saints have been very inconsistent rushing this season, but if they can at the very least establish a running game it will take them a long way in trying to keep this game close on the road.
The Eagles are going to do the same thing, except establishing a running game is going to be a lot easier when you have McCoy on your side. The league’s leading rusher should have little problem running on the Saints’ 19th ranked rushing defense, and if the Saints’ defense can’t slow down McCoy, it’s almost a death sentence for their chances in this game.
Both defenses should play well, especially the Eagles’, whose defense got very hot in the latter stages of the season. They are great against the tight end, leaving the Jimmy Graham matchup looking less like an area of strength for the Saints, and overall their passing defense has been good in the second half thanks to the solid play of corners Cary Williams and Bradley Fletcher.
The Sharp Pick
The fun part about this game is it’s going to be freezing cold outside, and even though it’s not going to be anywhere close to -13 like it will be in Green Bay on Sunday, it is going to hit the mid to low 20s, which could make catching the ball difficult.
The Eagles have played pretty solid defense at home this season, as five of their last seven home games have gone under the total. On top of that, the Saints have been awful on the road this season. Most people know they finished the year only covering one road game the entire season, however in their final five road games, their scoring was a huge issue. The Saints averaged less than 15 points per game in their final five road games, and the Eagles have one of the hotter defenses of the wildcard round.
Because of how bad they were on the road, the Saints finished cashing the under 6-2 on the road, and I see them doing it again here in the playoffs for our NFL pick.
My Pick: UNDER 54