NFL Picks: Saints vs. Eagles NFL Wild Card

Jordan Sharp

Tuesday, December 31, 2013 7:58 PM GMT

The first NFC playoff matchup of the 2013 playoffs features a very intriguing game between the #6 seeded Saints facing the #3 Eagles in Philadelphia. The NFL Odds opened up with the Eagles as a -2 ½ favorite, with a total of 53.

This could end up being a very interesting matchup between a struggling road team, very capable of winning a Super Bowl, versus an NFC upstart looking to make a statement against the old guard. Let’s take a brief look at some of the key matchups and factors that may lead to some insight into this game.

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Old vs. New

The Saints went 1-7 ATS on the road during the regular season, and if they want to win the Super Bowl, they would have to do it all on the road. While winning on the road in Philadelphia is a tough task, it’s not impossible for Drew Brees and the former Super Bowl champion Saints. Their defense can still play well, and their offense is fully capable of matching the Eagles.

What the Saints will likely do is attempt to run the ball a lot in this game, keeping the ball out of the hands of Nick Foles, 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 LeSean 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.

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The Sharp Pick

These two teams haven’t hooked up since the 2012 season, and New Orleans crushed the Eagles at home 28-13. Of course those were the Andy Reid and Michael Vick Eagles, and this time they are playing in the cold weather of January in Philadelphia. The weather is calling for the temperature to be well below freezing by the time the game kicks off Saturday evening, and while that won’t favor either team, the Saints’ could be the most affected. They aren’t used to playing in such cold conditions, and if the ball feels like it’s made on concrete, it’s going to be tough to catch the ball.

The Eagles are also very good at defending the tight end, which could make it very difficult for Jimmy Graham on Saturday. When they played one another last season however, the Eagles were still very good at defending against opposing tight ends, and Graham went for 8 catches, 72 yards and a touchdown.

Knowing the Saints’ road woes this season, it’s going to be difficult to believe they can come into Philly and win. However so far in early NFL Odds betting, 55% of bets have come in on the Saints.

Make sure you check back later in the week for not only our NFL pick on the spread in this game, but the total as well, and of course, best of luck!

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