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Saints Nation: Scouting the Eagles

I have to admit that it gets a little old scouting other teams when no matter who the opponent is the result is getting gashed 500+ yards regardless. Maybe this game at home on Monday Night could be the exception? At least Michael Vick has been struggling mightily with turnovers… but the flipside is the Saints' defense is just what the doctor ordered for an overhyped quarterback having a miserable year. Here is how the Eagles stack up against the Saints.

OFFENSE:

Michael Vick is playing badly enough that Andy Reid considered reportedly considered replacing him before this game, but he will indeed start. Despite racking up enough yards to be 13th overall on offense, the Eagles have struggled to punch drives into the end zone. They rank 28th overall in points scored. Turnovers have a lot to do with that. Vick has a 59% completion percentage, 8 interceptions and a lowly 78.6 passer rating. Vick is the one primarily responsible for the offense's poor play because they have a very capable runner in star back LeSean McCoy and an elite offensive line. Will Smith, who is somehow still not suspended, will face another mammoth tackle in King Dunlap that overmatches him. Cam Jordan will battle the best blocker he's faced this year in Todd Heremans. The Eagles also have the #1 rated guard according to PFF in the entire league currently in Evan Mathis. So that doesn't bode well for the Saints as every offensive line has whipped this. This will be even worse. The big play guy is of course DeSean Jackson, but Vick has played so poorly he hasn't hit him for many big plays. Brent Celek, Jason Avant and Jeremy Maclin are other capable playmakers that should have nice games against this porous Saints' secondary. Ultimately, this offense lives and dies with the play of Vick. A quarterback that by and large has lacked accuracy, held on to the ball too long, has been injury prone, and made critical mistakes. The big question is whether Vick continues his form to snap the Saints' defense out of it's funk, or if the Saints' defense plays bad enough to snap Vick out of his.

DEFENSE:

The Eagles defense is good and it's largely kept this team afloat despite the offense struggling to put point on the board and putting them in bad situations. The Eagles are 12th overall in large part thanks to good balance, but I wouldn't say they do anything extremely well. This is a good matchup for the Saints. The Eagles only have 9 sacks on the year and so this should be a team the Saints can protect Drew Brees well against. Jason Babin leads the team in sacks with just 2.5. That's less of a pass rush than the Saints have had, believe it or not. The studs on this defense are DeMeco Ryans at linebacker who is having a stellar year, Cullen Jenkins at defensive tackle who is a premiere run stuffer, and Nnamdi Asomugha at corner. Asomugha seems to have lost a step, though, and he's struggled a bit this year. The Eagles also start Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie who is a big playmaker. Still, while this defense is pretty solid they haven't made a ton of plays this year. I am concerned about their ability to jam the Saints' receivers at the line of scrimmage and be physical enough to leave no one open, but Brees should have time to look through his progressions. If Jimmy Graham doesn't drop every ball in sight and the Saints should be able to move the chains. Not having Darren Sproles in this game will be tough, but I believe the Saints can hit Devery Henderson and/or Joe Morgan deep in this game.

SPECIAL TEAMS:

Kicker Alex Henery is solid and 12 of 13 on the year. Punter Matt McBriar has a huge leg but he will outkick his coverage from time to time. With Courtney Roby and Darren Sproles both out the Saints' special teams has a huge hole. I'm not sure who will return punts, but that may negate the opportunity to capitalize on a bad punt by McBriar. The Eagles also has solid coverage units. Brandon Boykin and Damaris Johnson are the primary return guys and have been very poor this season at getting anything going, so Thomas Morstead should be able to limit them with ease.

Andrew Juge

About Andrew Juge

I like the Saints. A lot.

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