Thanks to a Cody Parkey 43-yard missed field goal, Nick Foles’ magic lives to see another day when the Philadelphia Eagles head down to Louisiana to take on Drew Brees and the NFC’s top-seed, the New Orleans Saints, in a Divisional Round playoff game next weekend.
Late in the fourth quarter on Sunday, Foles led what ultimately ended up being the game-winning drive, converting on a fourth-down conversion to Golden Tate near the goal line, a score that put the Eagles up 16-15. Darren Sproles’ Herculean leap on the two-point conversion attempt came up an inch shy. After Tarik Cohen’s kickoff return and a dime from Mitchell Trubisky, Chicago was set up for the win, but was doomed when Parkey hit the goal posts again.
As of now, the line for next week’s NFC showdown, a rematch of a 48-7 ass-kicking earlier this season for the Eagles, is set at +9.5. The over/under is 51 in New Orleans:
The Eagles’ win marked the third lower-seeded team to win on Wild Card Weekend, continuing a surprisingly longer trend. Underdogs are now 14-1 against the spread over the past 15 postseason games, despite the Super Bowl matchup ultimately ending up as a battle of top-two seeded teams from each conference since 2013.
Of the four matchups next weekend, this will be the one game where the favorite is heavily played and will probably get a majority of the bets. The Eagles secondary allowed Trubisky to throw for 300-plus yards at Soldier Field, meaning Brees should have an easier time carving up a defensive backfield that started 13 different players this season — most in the NFL.
Foles’ followed up last year’s Super Bowl MVP performance by leading Philadelphia back from 6-7 to three consecutive wins and a wild card berth. The defending champions made good on their second wind, ousting the Bears, a team heavily favored to make a Super Bowl run with Khalil Mack and their defense, and advancing to their second straight Divisional Round.
The Saints, however, are not the Bears. Drew Brees for most of the season was with Patrick Mahomes in MVP discussions. A home playoff game at Mercedes-Benz Superdome with Alvin Kamra, Mark Ingram, Michael Thomas, and a bevy of depth. Sean Payton and the rest of the Saints coaching staff committed to running the ball with both Kamara and Ingram over the second half of the season.
While Doug Pederson has done an admirable job working with Foles once more to lead the Eagles into this position, it is going to be difficult for this offense to keep up with the high-powered Saints, if not for some turnovers. Early Prediction: Saints 34, Eagles 20