Saints or Ea­gles? Get the odds on Saturday’s NFC play­off

The Sun Herald - - Front Page - BY JEFF FOGLE Jeff Fogle writes the daily VSiN news­let­ter. Sign up at­let­ter

Sun­day, the New Or­leans Saints will take the field vs. the Philadel­phia Ea­gles (FOX, 3:40 p.m.) as fa­vorites to win the NFC and the Su­per Bowl. They will likely close near 8-point fa­vorites vs. the Ea­gles, would be a home fa­vorite in the NFC Cham­pi­onship game vs. ei­ther the LA Rams or Dal­las, and would be a slight fa­vorite over any AFC en­try to earn the Lombardi Tro­phy in At­lanta on the first Sun­day of Fe­bru­ary.

Com­pos­ite global odds to win the NFC: New Or­leans even money, LA Rams 7/4, Dal­las 8/1, Philadel­phia 8/1

Com­pos­ite global odds to win the Su­per Bowl: New Or­leans 9/4, Kansas City 4/1, LA Rams 9/2, New Eng­land 6/1, LA Charg­ers 10/1, In­di­anapo­lis 12/1, Dal­las 16/1, Philadel­phia 16/1.

New Or­leans should feel con­fi­dent Sun­day vs. Philadel­phia. These teams played in the Su­per­dome back on Novem­ber 18. The Saints were 7-point fa­vorites be­fore coast­ing to a 48-7 blowout. Game stats backed up the rout. New Or­leans won to­tal yardage 546-196 on 7.9 to 4.1 yards-per-play. Drew Brees passed for 363 yards with four TD’s. Car­son Wentz only threw for 156 yards with three in­ter­cep­tions.

Why is Sun­day’s point spread only eight (pos­si­bly ris­ing higher be­fore kick­off) given that re­sult? There are two key dif­fer­ences in­volv­ing the vis­i­tor.

Philadel­phia’s de­fense was ● in­jury rid­dled at the time of the first meet­ing. There’s no way to stop Brees and the Saints in­doors on a fast track when your de­fense is in­jury rid­dled! That stop unit has per­formed much more im­pres­sively in re­cent weeks. Not only did the Ea­gles shut down No. 3 seed Chicago on the road last Sun­day, but they also up­set the No. 2 seed Los An­ge­les Rams 30-23 on the road in mid-De­cem­ber.

Philadel­phia’s quar­ter­back ●

Car­son Wentz im­ploded vs. the Saints, a few games be­fore fi­nally be­ing es­corted to the bench so he could re­cover from a bad back. Nick Foles has been get­ting much bet­ter re­sults in his stead. And, he’s still show­ing that play­off magic that led to last year’s shock­ing cham­pi­onship run.

Hand­i­cap­pers and bet­tors must de­ter­mine whether those new de­vel­op­ments jus­tify Sun­day’s point spread. Worth re­mem­ber­ing that the Saints are VERY fresh and rested. Philadel­phia had to win its last three reg­u­lar sea­son games to sneak into the fi­nal NFC play­off slot.

It’s pos­si­ble that “ex­hausted Philadel­phia” is sim­i­lar to “in­jury-rid­dled Philadel­phia” in a way that could cre­ate an­other rout.

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