Philadelphia, PA - To this point of the NFL season, the defending Super Bowl champions have not had the toughest of schedules. Their nine opponents so far have gone a combined 36-44-1. Their next seven opponents have gone a combined 42-23-0. It doesn’t look good for the 4-5 Eagles.
Week 11: Philadelphia Eagles Vs New Orleans Saints
It’s a mystery as to why this team has had its struggles, it lost virtually no players during the offseason, only adding veteran pieces in free agency and drafting rookie players. The games the Eagles have didn't win, including last weekend against Dallas, have been very close games. The Eagles are only losing by about four points each game, while their victories, minus the Giants game, have come by an average of just over five points. The Eagles are getting into many close games, and they just aren’t pulling it out.
Last week the Eagles offense crawled out of the gate, while their defense kept them in the game. In the second half, the Eagles offense got back to work, but the defense side couldn’t stop a fly. Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliot tore through the Eagles leaky run defense for over 150 yards and a score, including the eventual game-winner. It was a winnable game and one the Eagles needed to have, especially knowing they had a date with the Saints just seven days later.
The New Orleans Saints have won nine straight games and are coming off a 51-14 shellacking of the Bengals - Cincinnati fired their defensive coordinator that same week. New Orleans can punish both through the air and on the ground and have done both with tremendous success. Drew Brees has enjoyed a record-breaking season, while he’s gotten considerable aid from a sturdy offensive line, a two-headed monster in the backfield, and acrobatic receptions left and right from Michael Thomas.
For the Eagles to win this game, they need to play much better offense. Things were just sloppy for Philadelphia last Sunday, and they need to correct it. Realistically, the Eagles aren’t going to shut down New Orleans on offense - nobody has yet. The best they can do is play solidly in the red zone, and pressure Drew Brees. If they can force check downs and force them to run, the Eagles could make some stops. The Eagles offense needs to play this game like a playoff game because it effectively is. With the Eagles playing the Rams on Christmas, they need to find a way to win this game to try and stay alive. I don’t think 9-7 will win a division or a wild card spot.
Final Score: Eagles, 17. Saints, 27.