Saints Set To Shoot Down Eagles And March Into NFC Championship

A look inside the NFC divisional playoff game Saints vs. Eagles

Eight teams remain in the divisional round of the NFL playoffs, and the Saints (Who dat?!) are the biggest favorite on the board as they look to shoot down the Eagles and end the defending Super Bowl champs run towards a repeat. Fairway’s Football Forecast projects the Saints to do it in style at the Superdome and cash in for bettors at the leading online sportsbooks. Add the Saints to your teaser bets and profit from the experience.

NFL PLAYOFFS – NFC DIVISIONAL ROUND 
Philadelphia Eagles at New Orleans Saints
Sunday, January 13 – Mercedes-Benz Superdome 4:40pm ET
Odds: New Orleans Saints -8 (51)

I projected underdog winners throughout this season providing Fairway’s Football Forecast on these pages along with inside the numbers stats and information. A 35-19 ATS season included 26 outright underdog winners and an 8-1 kick down the stretch to finish strong. We carried it over last week in the playoffs with an outright winner on the Chargers (+3) over the Ravens and a little luck with Seattle stealing the money late, while also going over the total. Now we switch gears and take a Fairway favorite, and explain why with the stats, situation and scheduling parameters.

Eagles vs Saints at #HomeInTheDome

Will History Repeat Itself?

The Saints with QB Drew Brees and head coach Sean Payton won the Super Bowl in 2010 after rolling though the playoffs with three high-scoring victories. That included a most memorable NFC Championship game win over the Vikings and QB Brett Favre in overtime 31-28. The Saints went on to win the Super Bowl as a 6-point underdog over QB Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts, 31-17. During that 2009 regular season the Saints started 13-0 before losing their final three games to finish 13-3. New Orleans finished 13-3 this season and had a long 10-game winning streak. The Saints three losses were to Carolina, Dallas and Tampa Bay; same as this season. They also lost to Tampa Bay at home as a big favorite, and Carolina in a meaningless Week 17 match-up; same as this season.

Stats, Situation and Scheduling

The Eagles won five of their last six regular season games to make the playoffs at 9-7. On Dec. 9 the Eagles traveled to Dallas for a key divisional game. Philly was dominated, but miraculously sent the game to overtime with a late touchdown before losing in OT 29-23. Philly was out-gained 576-276, and Carson Wentz passed for three touchdowns without an interception. Tough to do much better with Nick Foles. The Cowboys rolled up 32 first downs and average QB Dak Prescott passed for a career-high 455 yards. How do you think head coach Sean Payton, QB Drew Brees and the Saints No. 3 scoring offense (31.5 PPG) will do in this week’s playoff match-up against the Eagles with an extra week to prepare?

Continuing on, the Eagles season looked lost as they were 6-7 following the Dallas defeat and needed another minor miracle to make the playoffs. As a 13-point underdog on the road again the next week, the Eagles pulled the shocking upset to beat the Rams 30-23. Quarterback Nick Foles was now leading the Eagles offense with Wentz injured, and Foles passed for 270 yards without a touchdown pass and one interception. The Eagles were out-gained again and allowed 407 yards. After leading Houston the next week at home by 13 points with less than five minutes remaining, the Eagles fell behind with two late Texans touchdowns. But Philly’s emotional roller coaster continued with a last second field goal to win 32-30 allowing Texans QB Deshaun Watson to pass for 339 yards and 2 TD’s without an interception. The same Watson who led the Texans offense to 7 points and a home playoff loss to the Colts last week. Finally, needing a win in Week 17 to make the playoffs combined with a Vikings home loss, the Eagles won at Washington 24-0 against a decimated Redskins team while the Vikings were beaten badly at home by the Bears 24-10.

On the road for the fourth time in five weeks, the Eagles pulled out another most miraculous win to open the playoffs at Chicago, 16-15. The Eagles used a fourth and goal touchdown conversion to go ahead in the final minute, before the Bears returned a long kickoff to setup a short drive into field goal range. The missed 43-yard field goal and “double-doink” heard round America hit the upright and crossbar and fell back onto the playing field. That left the Bears out in the cold and the playoffs, while Philadelphia moved on to play the Saints in the divisional round. Money line Bears bettors along with teaser bets on the Bears took a tough-luck loss.

So the Eagles will play their 5th road game in six weeks after going through a most emotional and physical pressure cooker, especially last week against a dominant Bears defense in a low-scoring grinder. A letdown is inevitable this week at New Orleans.

Take a look at a few other examples of last-minute emotional playoff wins and how those teams did the following week. In the 2016 playoffs, Minnesota led Seattle 9-0 into the 4th quarter of a freezing sub-zero wild card game outdoors in Minneapolis. The Seahawks scored 10 points to take a 1-point lead, but the Vikings drove down inside the 10-yard line in the closing moments to setup a chip-shot field goal. Wide left! Who could forget the feelings and emotions involved for not only the Vikings players and kicker in a devastating defeat, but the Seahawks emotions to recover from that freezing emotional grinder. The next week, the Seahawks were buried at Carolina in the divisional round. The Seahawks trailed 31-0 at halftime before losing 31-24 as a 2.5-point underdog. Letdown loser.

In last year’s NFC divisional round NFC playoffs, the Vikings pulled off the Minnesota Miracle. The Vikings were in complete control leading 17-0 at halftime and dominating the Saints as a 4 to 5.5-point favorite depending when you bet the game. But QB Drew Brees led the Saints back with three second-half touchdown passes to take a 21-20 lead with three minutes remaining. Fans and bettors were stunned, but the Vikings retook the lead 23-21 with 1:30 remaining. Brees did it again, leading the Saints down the field to retake the lead 24-23 on a Will Lutz 43-yard field goal with 25 seconds remaining. The rest they say is history and NFL playoff lore, as the Minnesota Miracle was complete with a 61-yard touchdown pass and immaculate reception from QB Case Keenum to Stefon Diggs. The stunned Saints, frenzy fans in Minnesota and across the country were in shock, as were sports bettors.

Minnesota traveled to Philadelphia for the NFC Championship game the following week and the Vikings were buried by the Eagles 38-7 and unable to perform at a peak level while failing to overcome the emotional elements and letdown situation.

The latest lines from the leading online sportsbooks and odds from Las Vegas

The Eagles are in a similar letdown situation this week at New Orleans following their miraculous win last week over the Bears. It’s even tougher with all the extra travel and flying the Eagles have been through since early December. Saints QB Drew Brees is back again this season and performing strong at age 39 with the leagues top QB Rating. Brees may continue to play into his 40’s like Tom Brady, but regardless, there won’t be many more chances to perform in the playoffs and win a Super Bowl during his Hall of Fame career.

Playoff ATS Notes: NFL playoff underdogs are 14-1 ATS since the start of last year’s playoffs and on a 10-0 ATS run following last week’s 4-0 ATS ‘Dog log in last week’s wild card round. That includes the Eagles Super Bowl victory which we projected as the FlyEaglesFly delivered as underdog.

Trends and streaks come to an end. New Orleans is not only a better team on both sides of the ball statistically, but the Saints personnel is stronger, healthier, rested and ready to shoot down the Eagles and ground the defending Super Bowl champs. The Saints will smack down the Eagles and roll to a big victory.

You can bet on it.

Article posted at osga.com.

Author: FairwayJay

FairwayJay is a leading national sports analyst and is recognized as one of the sports industry's most insightful handicappers and professionals. Follow him on Twitter: @FairwayJay