Week 9: Philadelphia Eagles at New Orleans Saints
- QuarterbacksMichael Vick’s days as the Eagles’ quarterback appear to be numbered. After the Eagles lost to the undefeated Falcons in Week Eight, Vick said that Andy Reid told him a change at the quarterback position was being considered. While Vick has had turnover problems throughout the season, he did not turn the ball over once against the Falcons.Drew Brees had one of his most frustrating games at Denver in Week Eight, and he should be primed for a much better effort against the Eagles. Brees loves lighting up the scoreboard at home and he certainly has the skills to do that. He reads defenses as well as any quarterback in the game and throws an extremely accurate pass.
- OffenseThe Eagles should be much more consistent on the offensive end. They certainly have the weapons to cause problems for any defense. Running back LeSean McCoy can get it done as a runner and a receiver and wide receiver Desean Jackson can stretch the field. Tight end Brent Celek has good hands and can pluck the ball in tight quarters.The Saints have a ton of weapons who can devastate any defense, including Marques Colston and Lance Moore. Jimmy Graham has superior talent at tight end as he can go up the seam and stretch the defense. Darren Sproles is very difficult to cover when he comes out of the backfield on a pass pattern. Pierre Thomas runs with balance and power.
- DefenseThe Eagles fired defensive coordinator Juan Castillo during their bye week and then came out and played one of their worst defensive games against the Falcons. They did not bother Matt Ryan and the Falcons’ running game also caused problems. It could get even worse this week against the explosive Saints. Middle linebacker DeMeco Ryans had nine tackles against Atlanta.The Saints have been vulnerable on the defensive side of the ball all season and they were devastated by the Broncos. Peyton Manning threw for 305 yards and the Broncos also ran for 225 yards. Beleaguered linebacker Jonathan Vilma returned against the Broncos, but he is not yet in top form. Strong safety Roman Harper seems like he is a step behind on many plays.
- Special TeamsThe Eagles can’t complain about the performance of placekicker Alex Henery, who has made 12-of-13 field goal attempts this season. Matt McBriar averaged 48.0 yards per punt against Atlanta and dropped two of his three kicks inside the 20.The Saints are not getting a lot from placekicker Garrett Hartley, as he has made 7-of-9 field goal attempts this season. Thomas Morstead averaged 51.6 yards on eight punts against the Broncos and dropped 4-of-8 kicks inside the 20.
The Saints probably are not going to make a miracle run to get back in the playoffs, but it’s unlikely they will start to mail it in. There’s no pressure since head coach Sean Payton isn’t around. However, that’s not the case with Andy Reid, who is unlikely to come back unless the Eagles make the postseason.