Posted on January 11, 2019, by Travis Pulver
The New Orleans Saints have an interesting opponent this week in the Divisional Round of the playoffs—and not the Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles are who they are playing of course. While they will have to beat the team in order to move on to the NFC Championship, the team as a whole is not who the Saints must beat.
They have to beat the most known unknown commodity in the NFL today—the legend of Nick Foles.
The Eagles can’t be concerned with just game planning for Eagles quarterback Nick Foles. They must be concerned with the legend that he has become—the forgotten quarterback that doesn’t know how to lose.
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The Legend Begins…
Of course, he did plenty winning and losing early on in his career after getting drafted by the Eagles, traded to the Rams, and then picked up and eventually released by the Chiefs. When Kansas City let him go it appeared that the end was near, but then the Eagles wanted him to back-up Carson Wentz.
When Wentz was injured late in the 2017 season and Foles was pressed into action, everyone assumed the Eagles were done. But the forgotten quarterback did the impossible and led his team to Super Bowl glory– and a legend was born.
The world assumed the Eagles would demand a king’s ransom for him in the offseason and teams would line up to pay it. But instead they brought him back, paid him a little more, and then benched him after a loss to the Buccaneers in Week Two for Carson Wentz.
Just like that, the legend dies. Or does it?
The Legend Continues…
Foles was unimpressive in both games he started earlier in the year. So, it is not hard to understand why the Eagles wanted Went back in the lineup. But after such a lackluster showing, it seemed like the end could be near for Foles once again.
The Eagles will be releasing him at the end of the season. Yes, he was great in 2013 and again in 2017 when called upon. But there have been plenty of guys who have had intermittent success in the NFL. If teams can’t believe in him to be great every week, they aren’t going to want him.
But then Went had to go down once again late in the season and Foles was called upon once again to finish the season. However, this time, the team didn’t appear to be lining up for a playoff run at all. To even have a shot, they needed to win out and get a little help. But with all the injuries and how Foles looked at the start of the season, there was no way.
But with Foles at quarterback, the impossible happened and now the Eagles are set to play the New Orleans Saints for a spot in the NFC Championship game.
Can He Do It Again?
The oddsmakers are saying no (Saints are favored by eight). New Orleans has one of the most prolific offense in the league this year. Their defense is nearly impossible to run on, but there is a small flaw in their game. They struggle to defend against the pass (29th; 269 yards/game allowed).
This stat could be inflated since teams are forced to throw on them in order to catch up. But the Eagles are not going to be able to run the ball against the Saints—so, they are going to need to turn to the passing game early if they are going to move the ball.
With how Foles has been throwing the ball, it would make perfect sense to throw 50 times. If he continues to throw as well as he has been, the Saints could be in trouble.
To score the upset, not only do the Eagles need Foles to have another stellar game, they will need the defense to continue to play above and beyond expectations. Is it a tall order? Absolutely. But they answered the call last season against a very tough defense and good offense in the NFC Championship and again in the Super Bowl.
If they could answer the call then, there is no reason to think they can’t now. If you are betting straight up, it may be safer to take the Saints (-400). But if you are going against the spread, absolutely take the Eagles and the points (+8).