New Orleans Saints vs Philadelphia Eagles Matchup
Giants’ DE Michael Strahan once said this about Philly fans, “It's the only place where you pull up on the bus and you've got the grandfather, the grandmother, the kids and the grandkids—everybody's flicking you off. At other stadiums, they give you the thumbs-down. Here, they give you the middle finger.”
Philadelphia is known as a tough place to play. From throwing snowballs at Santa Claus to booing everyone including their own players to throwing things on the field at other players and refs. Philly’s reputation precedes itself. No matter if the Eagles play in Franklin Field, Veterans Stadium or Lincoln Financial Field, opposing teams and officials know they’re in for a hostile environment.
Saints fans have also built a reputation for the city of New Orleans. Their fans are known more for noise than recklessness. Playing in the Superdome since 1975, fans have turned that place into a dome of decibels. Early on, the team didn’t do any favors in helping to build loyal fans based on winning. They didn’t have a winning season for 20 years and didn’t win their first playoff game until their 34th season.
The loyalty of both fanbases have given their franchises two of best home field advantages in the NFL.
The Saints and Eagles have played each other 35 times. Four of these meetings were in the playoffs. New Orleans has won three of those playoff games. The Eagles hold the win advantage overall 19-16. The first meeting between these teams was in 1967. It was Eagles @ Saints. New Orleans won the game 31-24. The most recent game was at the end of 22 season. The Saints won that game 20-10.
Eagles visited the Superdome in the 1992 Wild Card Game. It was a rematch of the season opener which Philly won. The Saints only lost three more games all season, finishing 12-4. New Orleans were 3.5-point favorites in the game. They looked to be every bit of the favorite early on leading 17-7 at halftime. The Saints kept this 10-point margin going into the fourth quarter up 20-10. Then, the unthinkable happened. The Eagles scored the most points ever in a playoff fourth quarter. They scored 26 unanswered points highlighted by a safety and pick six that punctuated the game 36-20 Eagles.
In 2006, the Divisional Playoff game was Eagles @ Saints. I remember really liking this Eagles team, although looking back they weren’t very good. They won six games in a row, including a playoff game, with their backup QB Jeff Garcia. New Orleans was a young team who earned a playoff bye. This game started off slow. It was 3-0 Saints after the first quarter. Garcia threw a 75-yard bomb to take the lead and they went into halftime up 14-13. After half, Brian Westbrook ran 62 yards to put the Eagles up 21-13. I thought that was the game. Momentum was on Philly’s side and the young Saints wouldn’t respond. But they did respond, scoring back-to-back TDs and led 27-21 in the fourth quarter. The Eagles kicked a field goal to trail by three and were driving late to tie the game. On 4th down they completed a deep pass but was called back for a false start. Saints held on to win 27-24 and changed the course of their franchise. I, on the other hand, was devastated. Nothing like playoff losses.
- Drew Brees: 2nd most pass yds (80,358) & TDs (571) in NFL history, franchise leader in pass yds (68,010) & TDs (491)
- Rickey Jackson: Franchise leader in sacks (123), solo tackles (1104) & forced fumbles (38)
- Marques Colston: Franchise leader in rec yds (9,759) & TDs (72)
- Morten Andersen: Original best kicker ever; retired with most points, field goals and games played in NFL history
- Reggie White: 2nd most sacks in NFL history (198), franchise leader in sacks (124), one of best defensive players ever
- Chuck Bednarik: Played offense & defense earning NFL All-Pro on both sides, 2x NFL champion, one of the most feared players ever
- Brian Dawkins: Only player in NFL history with 25 INTs, 25 sacks & 25 forced fumbles
- Steve Van Buren: Franchise leader in rush TDs (69), led NFL in rushing 4x
Who Wins the Next One?
The Eagles dominate the Saints at home. They are 11-4 in Philly but only 8-11 when in New Orleans. My recommendation would be to back the Eagles at home. The sample size dates to 1967. It might have something to do with the Saints playing outdoors when in Philly. That would be a matchup to watch as the Eagles have a potent running game led by their QB Jalen Hurts. The Saints haven’t been able to stop the run with their older front 7. The cold weather should help the Eagles running attack in this one.