Eagles versus Saints: Intriguing matchups to watch on New Year’s Day

DeVonta Smith #6, Philadelphia Eagles (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
DeVonta Smith #6, Philadelphia Eagles (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

15. 54. Eagles -5.5. 6-9. FOX. Sunday, December 1st. 13-2. 1 PM EST

Two weeks remain in the Philadelphia Eagles regular season. The most important of their two games as of right now is, as always, the coming contest. It’s always about the next game. The Birds, following a three-game road trip, return home to the friendly confines of Lincoln Financial Field to face a New Orleans Saints team that they’ve faced in both 2020 and 2021.

A win guarantees the NFC East’s crown and the top seed in the NFC Playoffs. We expect a more focused team than we saw in Week 16 versus the Dallas Cowboys on Christmas Eve. In short, we expect the Birds to seal the deal. If you aren’t excited about this one, you may want to check your pulse.

Here are a few matchups to watch during the Eagles versus Saints contest.

Matchups decide games. There are plenty of subplots and individual battles to watch. Look at them as individual battles within the game.

Alvin Kamara versus the Eagles’ run defense

After sitting out of the Saints’ practice sessions on Wednesday and Thursday, Alvin Kamara was a full participant on Friday. We expect him to play. No one should worry though.

The Eagles’ defensive line is good enough to limit him on the ground. Philly’s second level owns enough athleticism at the linebacker position to keep him from making game-changing plays as a receiver out of the backfield.

Cameron Jordan versus the right side of the Eagles’ offensive line

Jack Driscoll isn’t the player that Lane Johnson is, but who is really? He has his hands full versus Cameron Jordan this week. If Jordan becomes an issue, we aren’t opposed to using a tight end to chip in and help with protection.

The Saints’ O-line versus the Eagles’ pass rush

The Eagles have racked up six sacks or more in each of their past four games. The Saints have given up 30 sacks on 6.1% of their dropbacks. It would be fun to see the Birds’ pass rush harass Andy Dalton and rattle him a little.

A.J. Brown, DeVonta Smith, and Quez Watkins versus the Saints’ secondary

There’s only one NFL team that has allowed fewer passing yards than the New Orleans Saints. Believe it or not, that team is the Philadelphia Eagles.

Quez has to be stronger to the ball. Truthfully, we place last week’s interceptions on him, but we still trust this Eagles receiving corps versus Paulson Adebo, Marshon Lattimore, Bradley Roby, and Alontae Taylor, especially with Marcus Maye out.

Lattimore was limited during practice all week, but he has yet to be ruled out. It looks like he might play.

Nick Sirianni, Shane Steichen vs Dennis Allen, Ryan Nielsen, Kris Richard

Saints Co-Defensive Coordinators Ryan Nielsen (defensive line) and Kris Richard (secondary) have done an admirable job of aiding Dennis Allen who, as we know, is a defensive-minded head coach.

The Birds have weapons everywhere on the offensive side of the ball, even without Jalen Hurts if he, indeed, doesn’t play. Nick Sirianni and Shane Steichen tend to outsmart themselves. If they take what they are given and avoid the temptation of trying to choreograph the game, Philadelphia will win this game going away.

Philly versus Philly

We’ve watched and rewatched all 15 games this season. Then, we watched them again. The Birds have won 13 games. Their only losses came primarily because of self-inflicted wounds and errors, yet they still had opportunities to win late anyway. We can all agree with that right?

At the risk of sounding disrespectful, here’s where we stand. The only team that can beat the Philadelphia Eagles is the Philadelphia Eagles. If they pay attention to the basics and don’t take plays off, they’re better than every team they’ll face the rest of the way.

We repeat. If they don’t help the Saints out and outsmart themselves, they have nothing to fear here.

Hot. 10 Saints looking to ruin Week 17. light