The New Orleans Saints are anywhere from 5.5 to 6-point favorites tonight when they face the Philadelphia Eagles in the Big Easy. There are good reasons for the Saints having that advantage and here they are.
1) Drew Brees: In the NFL, he is the best of the best at quarterback this year. With 554 attempts the former San Diego field general has never thrown so many passes for so many yardsâ€”4,418. His 26 TDs and 11 INTs represent his best TD to INT ratio, except for his 2004 Charger season when he had 27 TDs and only 7 INTs. His average of 8.0 yards per completion is his best since becoming a starter in 2002. His average QB rating of 96.2 is second only to his 104.8 rating in 2004. Brees is almost impossible to stop and he has been the major reason for New Orleansâ€™ success this year.
2) Rookies: Wide Receiver Marques Colston and running back Reggie Bush have had amazingly productive first seasons in the NFL. Colston is the teamâ€™s leading receiver with 70 catches, 1,038 total yards, 14.8 in average yards per attempt and 8 touchdowns. RB Reggie Bush carried the ball 155 times for 565 yards and an average gain of 3.6 yards per carry. Heâ€™s had 6 TDs. Bush is certainly versatile, leading the team in catches with 88 and picking up 742 yards for an 8.4 average gain and 2 TDs. These young guys lack experience yesâ€”but both possess an amazing amount of drive.
3) Deuce McAllister: This tough, young running back leads the charge on offense with 244 carries, 1,057 total yards, a 4.3 average gain and 10 touchdowns. McAllister on the ground, like Brees in the air, is very difficult to stop.
4) Number One Rated â€œO:â€? The Saints field the best offense in the league. Additionally, thereâ€™s a whole lot of depth and plenty of talent to go around.
So, how is the Eagles defense? Sound, effective and finely tuned. They have a fine secondary and linebacking unit. The front line is not as sound as the rest of the club and they will have their work cut out for them with a team thatâ€™s a constant threat on the ground and in the air.
The Eagles must stop the Saints early and frequently. They cannot let New Orleans control the time of possession or their linemen will find it tough going by the second half. No matter how good a teamâ€™s defense may be, theyâ€™d be hard-pressed to entirely stop this Saintâ€™s club.
If the Eagles can keep it close for their QB Garcia going into quarter four, utilize their running game effectively and control the time of possession, they could come out ahead.
With all of those â€œifsâ€? and the point spread, this is an almost impossible one to call without some expert help.