Great games abound this weekend in the NFL Playoffs! Can New Orleans stop their performance anxiety on the road and topple the Eagles? Dan Salem and Todd Salem tackle this topic head on in part two of this week’s TD Sports Debate. Two brothers from New York yell, scream and debate sports.
I cannot help but feel as though we, as football fans, were cheated here with this New Orleans Saints and Philadelphia Eagles matchup. How much more fun would this game be if it was being played inside, in New Orleans? Instead, with Philadelphia the home team, I’m not feeling too confident in an epic shootout. The Saints have been rather terrible on the road all year long. Their last road win prior to beating the downtrodden Atlanta Falcons by four measly points came way back in week five.
N.O. is obviously a showcase-worthy offensive team when comfortable, but even Drew Brees is rather ordinary on the road this season. His splits are alarming. In home games, he’s thrown for 2835 yards, completing 73.6% of his passes (!!) and gaining over 9 yards per pass. His touchdown to interception ratio? 27 to 3. Wow.
Now Drew Brees in road games is a different animal. He threw for 2327 yards, completing just 64% of his throws, gaining under 7 yards per pass. And the touchdown to interception ratio? A worrisome 12 to 9. There is nothing to be afraid of when the Saints come to town.
As for Philadelphia, they are a much different team since Nick Foles took over as the full-time starter, as everyone is acutely aware of. They finished out the year winning seven of their final eight games. It is never a comforting feeling to completely discount the New Orleans Saints, especially after seeing what Minnesota was able to do against Philly in week 15, but I would be very surprised if the Eagles did not advance.
So you’re picking the Eagles? It’s a fair pick and the Saints have done little to make us think highly of them on the road in a pressure situation. But I’m going to keep things simple and look at our quarterbacks. Drew Brees versus Nick Foles. I’ll let that sink in.
In any other context, during any other season, would this even be a question? Could you fathom a scenario that didn’t have Brees destroying the likes of Foles? This matchup is as close as we could get, but it’s still not close enough for me. I’ll take the post season experience of an elite quarterback over zero playoff experience with my hands tied behind my back and a blindfold on. I’m taking the Saints and Drew Brees.
I’m excited for this game. Chip Kelly made it to the playoffs, proved his doubters wrong and won the division in the process. I just know he is going to have a few aces up his sleeve to try and trip up Mr. Brees. I’m also psyched to see what Rob Ryan’s defense has in store for Philadelphia. But in the end it won’t matter. The Saints win by ten.