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NFL Playoffs: New Orleans Saints vs. Philadelphia Eagles, Wildcard Round (Open Thread)

Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE

This will be a fresh opening-round game to watch, since the New Orleans Saints and the Philadelphia Eagles did not square off against each other during the regular season. The temperatures won't be nearly as cold as they will be in Green Bay on Sunday; the game-time temperature in Philadelphia is expected to be about 25 degrees (feels like 20) with no precipitation and very little wind.

I was not a believer in Chip Kelly's offense to begin the year, but they rallied late in the season to take control of the NFC East, thanks to the highest-rated quarterback in the NFL, Nick Foles. This team began the year at 3-5, but were 7-1 in their final eight games. The Eagles are as high-octane on offense as you can get. They were first in rushing yards, and first in passing yards per play. Foles does not turn the ball over, and while the Saints' defense has improved this year under Rob Ryan, LeSean McCoy should be able to exploit their run defense.

The Saints aren't going to roll over and die in the least. They are disappointed that they lost grasp of their division to the Panthers, but Drew Brees remains one of the league's best quarterbacks. The Eagles are very stout against the run, but struggle to defend the pass. There's a chance this could be a defensive battle, but I'm going to go more along the lines of a shootout. Kelly's hot streak for Philadelphia tips the shootout in their favor for my pick. Eagles 35, Saints 31


Game: New Orleans Saints vs. Philadelphia Eagles
Date/Time: Saturday, January 4, 2014 at 8:10 p.m. EST
Location: Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, PA
Television: NBC - Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth
NFL Odds: Eagles by 3