Gus Kattengell’s Saints Report – Eagles Game
Monday night in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome a battle between two teams with struggling seasons will take place. The (2-5) New Orleans Saints are hosting the (3-4) Philadelphia Eagles and both share similarities.
Both teams have played below expectations and have gone through turmoil. New Orleans of course has dealt with the whole bounty situation and started the season 0-4. Philadelphia’s season has been a reality show. A 3-1 start has lead to three straight losses, the firing of a defensive coordinator, and the need for a heart to heart between head coach Andy Reid and quarterback Michael Vick. Reid for a while has hinted publicly about a possible change at quarterback. Vick has struggled this season, fumbling the ball nine times, and only throwing nine touchdowns to eight interceptions.
Back on Wednesday the Eagles held a player’s only meeting in which according to Vick who lead things off, nine or 10 players stood up and spoke. “It is very productive for us and we keep those conversations private,” Vick told reporters on Wednesday. “But at the same time I think we all have to reevaluate our situations, look ourselves in the mirror and (figure out) what we can do better individually and collectively.”
The Saints seemed to have been turning things around with back to back wins prior to a stinker in Denver last week. Pick a reason or explanation for the team’s performance this year and it’s been asked of the team. This week, are players trying to do too much question popped up? “I think it’s human nature,” said Saints quarterback Drew Brees this week. “It’s natural to feel like there is a piece missing or certain pieces missing that you would need to do more or extra. That might add pressure.”
Philadelphia is averaging just 17.1 points per game putting them in a tie for 28th in the NFL. You know what Saints fans are thinking. A defense that has yielded 3,323 miles this season (that’s good for 1.8 miles by the way), could be what the doctor ordered for the struggling Eagles offense. Running back LeSean McCoy hasn’t been the given the ball enough per the folk covering the Eagles which is scary because Philly is the 10th best team at rushing the football. The Saints in case you’re wondering are 31st in stopping the run.
Vick and the Eagles offense has struggled to throw the football as he we held for under 200 yards last week and you can get to him as he has been sacked 20 times this season. Now the question is can the Saints defense take advantage of it. Linebacker David Hawthorne looks to have finally healed from a troublesome hamstring and will be back in the lineup so that should help. Let’s hope so because the 530 yards given up last week to the Broncos was the seventh consecutive game a Saints opponent has racked up over 400 yards, that hasn’t happened since 1950.
The big news injury wise this week is the loss of running back Darren Sproles to a broken hand. The team hasn’t given out an official time table while some NFL insiders see it as a 4-6 week injury. It’s a big hit since Sproles ranks second on the team in receiving, third in rushing and is the Saints main kick returner.
Huh? What’s that? Oh yea, that Saints fans screaming NOW WILL WE SEE CHRIS IVORY? I do believe you’ll see Ivory this week.
Wide receiver Courtney Roby will also not play in the game due to a shoulder injury. Receiver Joe Morgan will also be available after missing last week with a chest injury.
So hopefully the added pieces help on both offense and defense. The Saints will need it. Philadelphia is having a turbulent season because they have talent. That is the bad part for the Saints while the good part is that what’s kept the Eagles from playing up to their potential is team chemistry and lack of leadership. Reading reports from Philadelphia this week this appears to be a team that goes south once things start heading south.
The Saints there for have to limit their mistakes and yes to sound like a coach avoid losing the turnover battle. Converting on third down would help as well as last week in Denver the Saints offense converted just 1 of 12 third downs. Look the Saints defense is going to be bad. If they get a turnover and hold the Eagles under 400 yards I’ll bake a cake and celebrate but you can’t count on it. So yes it’ll be up to the Saints offense in this game.
I think this game is probably the shoot out people thought would happen in Denver. Philadelphia will be geared up for the game. Their backs are against the wall. The Saints better be ready to match the intensity. I think they can but it will be a wild ride. I say 35-31 Saints.