The Saints is not an easy win for the Eagles

featured image

The Saints roster is in purgatory and they are in salary cap hell.

Alvin Kamara is having the worst season of his career, which was also the case last year. Their QB is Andy Dalton, 35, who started the season as a backup to Jameis Winston. They have extremely limited methods of updating this position. Of course, they don’t have their 2023 first-round pick; eagles do. Your best hope in recruiting is for someone to spend significant capital to sign Sean Payton.

Free agency is not going to help them. As it stands now, they are $54 million over the cap for next year, with 17 of their top 20 earners offering them no cap relief if released. They are by far the worst salary cap position for 2023.

So this team is screwed. They’re too good to be really bad (at least this year), but they’re too bad to be good. However, this team is not easy. This game may be closer than the talent discrepancy would indicate.

Santos pass defense is very good

The Saints offloading CJ Gardner-Johnson to the Eagles has been a huge help for the Eagles. But it didn’t hurt Santos much on the field either; his pass defense has been his engine this season. Trading a 24-year-old player because you’ve signed older, more expensive players for the same position is a poor way to run a football team, but it’s not back to bite them yet. (It will be.)

But for now, Santos’ pass defense is playing very well. They are second in yards per attempt, third in completion percentage, fifth in TD%, eighth in yards per reception and sixth in sack rate, which adds up to the second fewest yards per game (behind the Eagles ).

Their only problem is that they are pitiful at interceptions, tied with the Giants for worst INT% and lowest total INTs. Jalen Hurts threw more interceptions than Saints defenders. Which in a way makes his pass defense numbers even more impressive; they had to earn it all the hard way.

If Jalen Hurts were playing this game, you’d expect the Eagles to take a run-heavy approach, as the Saints’ run defense isn’t great at all and has struggled with QBs who aren’t afraid to run. Lamar Jackson had 82 yards, Marcus Mariota 72 yards and a TD, and Kenny Pickett 51 yards and a TD, though they held Kyler Murray to 30 yards on seven carries.

But with Gardner Minshew behind center, the Eagles run a traditional offense, which plays in the Saints’ favor. But the Eagles also have AJ Brown and DeVonta Smith, which they don’t.

On the one hand, the Santos defense still hasn’t given up a bad game to a QB who shouldn’t have had a great game. Joe Burrow has thrown for 300 yards and three touchdowns, but he is Joe Burrow. Geno Smith pitched for 268 and three TDs at the height of his run, which is now falling apart. But the Bengals and Seahawks have something in common that the Eagles have: an elite WR duo. Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins combined for 198 yards and two TDs, Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf for 192 yards and three TDs.

New Orleans is good at keeping you close

The Saints also did a good job of not taking a beating. They have 10 one-score games and two more that were decided by 10 points or less.

Most of their programming has been made up of flotsam and jetsam teams. In addition to the embarrassing NFC South, they played the Cardinals, Raiders, Steelers, Rams and Browns. They also played the Vikings and this might shock you but the Vikings won by an FG with 24 seconds to play. But even the legitimately good teams they played for, they gave it a hard time. Their biggest losses were 14 to the Ravens and 13 to the Bengals and 49ers.

Jameis Winston alone had five interceptions in three games. Since Andy Dalton took over as starter, the Saints have had just 14 turnovers in 12 games, a rate that would give them 17.5 turnovers in an entire season, 0.5 fewer than the Eagles. Dalton replacing Winston also reduced sacks, Winston took 11 in his three games, Dalton has 18 in 12 games.

After getting 23 turnovers in their first 11 games, the Eagles have only had three in their last four. This relative drought could easily continue into Sunday.

Andy Dalton is, well, was playing relatively well

Dalton had a poor game last week against the Browns, completing eight of 15 passes for 92 yards and an interception. But coming into the game, he was on a lucky streak. In the previous four games, he completed 71% of his passes for 8.5 yards per attempt and had six TDs and zero INTs. We will ignore that the Saints were shut out in one of those games, or that he averaged just 211 yards, or that he never threw 30 times in a game. The saints weren’t asking him to do much, but he was doing well. There’s a limit to how far competence can take you, like Andy Dalton never winning a playoff game or Derek Carr this week being told to go home so the Raiders don’t have to pay him next year. But he also builds a decent floor.

Good pass defense (against a backup QB) + solid but unspectacular QB + not turning the ball over is a combination that could very well make it difficult for the Eagles’ starters to rest in the fourth quarter. A close win over the Saints shouldn’t make anyone hit the panic button.


Post a Comment

Post a Comment (0)

#buttons=(Accept !) #days=(20)

Our website uses cookies to enhance your experience. Learn More
Accept !