New Orleans Saints (1-3 SU, 2-2 ATS) vs. Philadelphia Eagles (1-3 SU, 1-3 ATS)
NFL Week 5
Date/Time: Sunday, October 11, 2015, 1:00 pm EST
Where: Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, Pa.
TV: FOX, DirecTV 708
by Badger, NFL Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: NO +4.5/PHI -4.5
Over/Under Total: 49
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Two one-win NFC teams that still have a long uphill battle to get back to playing good football will clash on Fox this Sunday, when the New Orleans Saints visit Lincoln Financial Field for a game against the Philadelphia Eagles.
The Saints finally got off the list of winless teams in the NFL last week, but they needed overtime to slip past the Dallas Cowboys at home in the Superdome last Sunday night, 26-20. With Drew Brees battling shoulder issues, the Saints are still in the must-win mode this week due to the fact they are three games behind the undefeated Falcons and Panthers in the NFC South standings.
Things are not as dire in the NFC East for the Eagles this early in the season, sitting just a game behind the rest of the division in the standings despite their early season stumbles. After another disappointing, 23-20, loss to the Redskins last week, if there was any remaining leash on Chip Kelly and the Eagles it is a full-fledged choker with no more wiggle room from the Philly faithful at all.
Oddsmakers set the opening point spread for this early Sunday game with Philly as 5-point favorites at home at the Linc. With most of the early steam on the underdog Saints, the number has dropped to 4.5 at most of the offshore sportsbooks on the Web. The over/under total opened at 48.5 and it has moved the hook up to 49 at most books, with a sprinkling of 49.5s at a few.
Even though Brees has had shoulder problems, the Saints and Sean Peyton still like to throw the ball to move the chains on offense. The Saints are still third in the NFL with 305 yards passing through four weeks, despite trading away the leagues best tight end and having a no-name Willie Snead as the teams top receiver thus far. The Eagles defense has played a lot of snaps already due to their struggles on offense, but theyve also been playing at less than 100 percent at multiple positions. With LB Kiko Alonso already out, starting CB Byron Maxwell (quad), LB Mychal Kendricks (hamstring) and DE Brandon Bair (groin) are all nursing injuries and listed as questionable for Sunday.
The struggles of the Eagles offense has been well documented already, but with the exception of one game versus the Giants, the Eagles stretch read-option style running game has still not found enough open running lanes. Sam Bradford has improved over recent weeks, but theres no denying the fact that the Eagles must have DeMarco Murray and the rest of the running back crew start to bust some big gains and loosen up opposing defenses. On paper, the Saints 27th-ranked run defense (allowing 123 ypg) looks like it might be a recipe for success this week for Murray and the Eagles, but the offensive line still needs to make it happen.
The Saints have enjoyed some really good success against the Eagles in recent times, with a three-game win streak and five victories in their last six games against Philadelphia. That includes a, 26-24, win last time these two played in Philly in the NFC playoffs back in January of 2014. The Saints also won 48-22 in their previous visit to the Linc, back in 2009 when Kelly was still running up 70 points a game in college at Oregon.
The betting trends will show that the road team has enjoyed a solid run at the betting window lately, going 4-1 ATS in the last five head-to-head. The over in the series has also been a good wager, going 5-2 in the last seven meetings and 3-1 in the last four played in Philadelphia.
Badger’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I know it doesnt seem like it, but I think the Eagles are about to explode any week now. You know Murray and Bradford are overdue, and Brees seems to be throwing it just fine with a bum shoulder. This could be the week the Eagles put up big numbers, and Brees and the Saints might have enough to keep up with them for awhile. I think Philly covers the spread, but Im taking the over of 49 this week with hopes that Philly goes over the total on their own.
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