PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (3-4)
at NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (2-5)
Kickoff: Monday, 8:30 p.m. EDT
Line: New Orleans -3, Total: 51.5
Two teams desperate for a victory cap off Week 9 when the Eagles visit the Saints on Monday night.
It’s getting close to do-or-die time for both these teams, and they both looked awful last week. The Eagles let Atlanta jump all over them at home, their third SU loss in a row, and they’re rumored to be ready to turn to rookie QB Nick Foles. Starting QB Michael Vick didn’t turn it over last week, but he reportedly made multiple mistakes changing plays. Philly fired defensive coordinator Juan Castillo during its bye week but still allowed 392 yards and 30 points at home to Atlanta after making that move. New Orleans struggled in Denver, with TE Jimmy Graham clearly hampered by his ankle injury. The Saints defense is still the worst in the NFL, even with the return of LB Jonathan Vilma and DE Will Smith, as they allowed 500-plus yards each of the past two weeks and they’ve yet to hold an opponent under 400 yards.
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Vick threw for just 5.5 yards per pass attempt in last week's 30-17 loss to Atlanta, but threw a touchdown with no picks, giving him 9 TD and 8 INT on the year. With the Saints defense playing so poorly against both the run and the pass, Philly can choose to attack either way. Last week, the Broncos threw for 305 yards and rushed for 225 yards against New Orleans. No NFL running back is more versatile than LeSean McCoy, who is being used more and more in the passing game recently with 14 catches in the past three weeks. He will likely improve his running over this span, where he's gained just 120 yards on 46 carries (2.6 YPC). The speed of McCoy and WR DeSean Jackson, who has had either eight or nine targets in every game this season, needs to be utilized against this horrific Saints defense. Speaking of defense, the Eagles have to find a way to put pressure on the quarterback, as they have a pitiful two sacks over their past four games. This lack of a pass rush is a big reason the defense has forced just two turnovers in the past five games.
Although Saints QB Drew Brees does have a quick release, he has been sacked 13 times already this year. That hasn't affected his production though, as Brees ranks second in the NFL with 2,310 passing yards and 20 TD. Even though Graham still hasn't fully recovered from his high ankle sprain, he was still able to catch five passes on 10 targets for 63 yards and a touchdown last week. Top WR Marques Colston had the same exact numbers as Graham (10 targets, 5 rec, 63 yds), giving him 30 catches for 420 yards and 5 TD over his past four contests. The Saints rushing game continues to be an afterthought, as they have the fewest rushing attempts in the NFL (139, 19.9 per game) leading to the fewest rushing yards (73 YPG) and third fewest yards per carry (3.7). With last week's 51 yards on 17 carries, the Saints now have four straight games of fewer than 90 rushing yards. Defensively, New Orleans has done little right. This team has just three interceptions for the entire season and has generated just seven sacks in the past four games. The Saints rank 31st in rushing defense (170 YPG) and 30th against the pass (305 YPG).