NFL expert Tom Selwyn (@Tom_Selwyn) shares his expert opinion on the best bets available from Sunday's clash in New Orleans.
Philadelphia Eagles @ New Orleans Saints | Sunday 13th January 2019, 21:40 | Sky Sports
When these two teams met in week 11 this season, it was one of the most one-sided beat downs I’ve seen in some time. In fact, the 48 – 7 loss the Eagles suffered at the hands of the Saints was the largest margin of defeat for the defending champs ever. Both teams have trended in opposite directions since then, however, with New Orleans prolific offense dropping off and Philadelphia basking in the 2nd coming of Foles-mania.
Indeed, the hype surrounding Foles appears to be glossing over the fact that, despite a bit of a late-season slump, the Saints were the best team in the league this year. There is something to Foles though.. and every time I (along with a lot of people) doubt him, he just keeps winning. He is obviously not Joe Montana, but he sure plays at a high level in the big games and should, along with a much-improved defence, make this a considerably more competitive game than the week 11 shellacking was.
Despite this, my feeling is that the Saints are too good, especially at home where Sean Peyton and Drew Brees are undefeated in the playoffs (5 – 0), for the Eagles and although they will not be crushing Philadelphia by 41 points this time around, they will have enough to cover the 8 point spread. New Orleans -8 for me.
When the pairing of Peyton and Brees have two weeks to prepare for their opposition, they have been nigh on unstoppable – they are 9 – 2 in those games, including being 10 – 1 against the spread and have a point differential of +116. I have faith that they will have fixed what was ailing the offense and assert themselves early on.
Eagles CBs Avonte Maddox and Rasul Douglas have gotten better as the season has gone along and are one of the primary reasons Philadelphia’s defence has improved, but, as demonstrated a couple of times last week by the Bears, they can be had by double moves. The Saints coaching staff will definitely know this and I’ll be intrigued to see if Maddox especially can maintain his discipline when faced with some of the speedy WRs that New Orleans possess – they will certainly be tested.
Last week, I had a little extra play on a TE in Mark Andrews. He, belatedly, came through and I’ll be attempting to repeat the trick again this week. This time my focus is on Saints TE Ben Watson. I’ve always had a soft spot for Watson (his tackle on an INT return way back in 2005 is something to behold) and it pleases me he’s still getting it done on a great team.
His line is currently at 16.5 and that’s far too low in my opinion. The number of times that Watson failed to cover 16.5 yards in the 13 games he’s played this season? 2! Stats Value, anyone?
New Orleans have been one of the most fun teams to watch all year and I think they’ll be giving us another show on Sunday evening.
Philadelphia Eagles @ New Orleans Saints – New Orleans Saints -8 (13/14 Red Zone)
Philadelphia Eagles @ New Orleans Saints – Ben Watson Over 16.5 Receiving Yards (10/11 Paddy Power)