The Eagles get their shot at retribution on Sunday afternoon. The Saints handed the Eagles the worst loss of any defending Super Bowl Champion ever. Losing by 41 puts the Eagles in the “Top 100 worst losses in Super Bowl Era category” at #94. In the last five years, only four teams have suffered worse losses than the Eagles did in November.
Many, including me, thought the Eagles’ season was over before the Week 11 game against the Saints even started. We were finished. Adios, amigo. Better luck next year. The “New Norm” had turned into the old norm. Only the delusional fans were still clamoring that the Eagles were going to go win the Super Bowl.
Then a funny thing happened after “The Beatdown in the Bayou.” The Eagles beat two inferior opponents, the Giants and Redskins, but suffered a brutal loss at the Cowboys. Carson mysteriously came down with a broken back. The Eagles remembered how to play championship caliber football once their MVP was back under center, and St. Nick didn’t lose another regular season game. Doug somehow convinced Matt Nagy, his buddy, and the Bears to beat the Vikings in Week 17 to let the Eagles into the playoffs, only to get Double Doinked by them last Sunday.
The stage is set for an awesome game on Sunday. The Eagles are playing the team that smacked them around in a loss for the ages, for a chance to possibly go to Dallas next weekend to play to go to the Super Bowl. If that doesn’t get your heart pumping, you may wanna make sure you’re still breathing.
Things to Watch
- Past Eagles-Saints Playoff Clips: There have been a few memorable Eagles-Saints playoff games. Unfortunately, the two most recent have both resulted in Saints wins. Let’s just hope they show this clip, [embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QblWmRLoj6s[/embedyt] and not Sproles running the Alex Henery kickoff up the sideline at the Linc after Nick had given us the lead.
- The Saints’ Rust: The Saints haven’t played most of their starters since Week 16 when they locked up the #1 seed. That was December 23rd. Christmas seems like a long time ago, right? Well they haven’t played since before then. Look for the Saints to get off to a very slow start – and look discombobulated in the process.
- Eagles’ QB Controversy: This may not actually happen until after the game, but you may hear mention of it during the broadcast. The national media has finally started to talk about what we’ve been talking about for weeks here in Philly: Who is the best quarterback for the Eagles and Doug Pederson? Notice it’s not a question of who is the most athletic or who is just the best in general, but rather who is the best for the Eagles under Doug. Be listening for this very real controversy to come up during the broadcast.
Keys to Victory
- Red Zone Efficiency: The Eagles need to score touchdowns in the red zone and hold the Saints to field goals. Both teams will be able to move the ball easily in between the 20’s. The game will be decided by who is able to score touchdowns instead of field goals. This has been a staple of the Eagles’ defense for the last two years, minus the middle of the season when they forgot how to play.
- Turnovers: The Eagles lost the turnover battle 2-0 against the Bears last week. Other road teams who were -2 in the turnover margin were 4-112 in the last 40 years in the playoffs. The Eagles cannot afford to go negative again. If the Eagles give the Saints extra possessions, especially on the Eagles side of the field, they will lose.
- Hit Drew Brees: The Eagles must play sound in their secondary, and the pass rush must be tenacious. Drew Brees must be uncomfortable and feel the pressure all game. Bennett, Cox, Graham, and Long must have great games for us to win.
Did you know there was another team who lost by 40+ points in the regular season, who had a chance to avenge their loss in the postseason?
The Jets lost to the Patriots 45-3 in the 2010 regular season. Then in the divisional round, Mark Sanchez (Yes, that same butt-fumbling Sanchez) beat Tom Brady 28-21. If Mark Sanchez can beat Tom Brady in Foxboro in a playoff game after getting beat by 42 points earlier in the year, then literally anything is possible.
Anything except the Saints winning this weekend.