New Orleans Saints (5-4, 4-5 ATS) at Philadelphia Eagles (4-6, 5-5), 1 p.m.
Brolley’s Saints Stats and Trends
The Saints have covered four straight games following a straight up loss.
New Orleans is 5-1 toward overs in its last six games.
Mark Ingram jumped right into a bellcow role with Alvin Kamara out of the lineup with a knee injury last week. He posted season-highs in snap share (85%), targets (7), receiving yards (61), and FP (20.8) on his way to finishing with 18/111/1 scrimmage. Ingram will once again lead this backfield unless Kamara is ready to return this week. The Eagles are giving up the seventh-most FPG (27.5) and 149.1 scrimmage yards per game to RBs.
Trevor Siemian has played better than the low expectations set for him, completing 19/34 passes for 298 yards (8.8 YPA) and two touchdowns for 19.9 FP in a loss to the Titans in Week 10. The Eagles have limited QBs of his caliber (Teddy, Goff, Darnold) to fewer than 10 FP since Week 5.
Deonte Harris has posted double-digit FP in four of his last five games after recording a season-high 84 receiving yards on three catches against the Titans in Week 10. Marquez Callaway scored his fifth touchdown of the season against Tennessee on his way to 2/37/1 receiving on four targets. Tre’Quan Smith is being used as the team’s #1 WR with a team-best 36 routes against the Titans, and he turned in a season-best 4/44/1 receiving on seven targets. The Eagles limited each of Denver’s WRs to fewer than 50 receiving yards last week, and Philly is giving up the third-fewest FPG (28.4) to WRs this season.
Adam Trautman has yet to score double-digit FP in a single game this season, but he’s been trending in the right direction. He’s seen 6+ targets in three straight games since Siemian entered the lineup in Week 8, and he has 30+ receiving yards in four of his last five contests. The Eagles are giving up a league-high 19.8 FPG to TEs this season after Noah Fant and Albert Okwuegbunam combined for 8/136 receiving last week.
Brolley’s Eagles Stats and Trends
Philly is 1-5 ATS in its last six games as a home favorite.
The Eagles had a three-game over streak snapped last week.
Philadelphia has been road warriors this season with all four of their victories coming away from Lincoln Financial Field.
It looks like Miles Sanders (ankle) is trending toward returning, and HC Nick Sirianni called him the team’s starting RB this week. The Eagles have rung up their three best rushing yardage totals in the last three weeks with Jordan Howard and Boston Scott leading the way, with the Eagles averaging 208.7 rushing yards per game in that span. Sanders will have the chance to lead this backfield in carries moving forward, but it’s likely to be a bit of a committee with how well Howard and Scott have played, and Howard could be the top option at the goal line. We’ll see just how good this run game is against a Saints’ run defense that’s giving up the fewest rushing yards per game (53.7) and just 2.8 YPC to RBs.
Jalen Hurts is averaging just 18.0 passing attempts per game over the last three weeks, and it’s resulted in his three lowest fantasy outputs after opening the year with 20+ FP in his first seven contests. Hurts has 50+ rushing yards in four straight games after falling below 50 rushing yards in four straight games between Weeks 3-6. The Eagles could be pushed to throw the ball more this week because of New Orleans’ pass-funnel defense, which is giving up the sixth-most passing yards per game (280.4) to QBs.
Devonta Smith scored a season-high 22.6 FP in Week 9 against the Chargers and he matched his best mark last week with 4/66/2 receiving on six targets against the Broncos. He’s up to 24% target share with Zach Ertz out of the picture and with Jalen Reagor and Quez Watkins giving Hurts little help. A.J. Brown disappeared with just a 16-yard catch in this matchup last week, but the Saints are giving up the third-most receiving yards per game (191.9) to the position.
Dallas Goedert will be in a race to play after suffering a concussion against the Broncos last week. He hauled in both of his targets for 28 yards before leaving after playing 20% of the snaps. Blocker Jack Stoll played 66% of the snaps with Goedert out last week while receiver Tyree Jackson saw 42% of the snaps. The Saints are giving up the eighth-fewest FPG (9.7) to TEs this season.
Barfield’s Pace and Tendencies
Pace (seconds in between plays): 27.4 (20th)
Plays per game: 67.3 (15th)
Pass: 54.8% (28th) | Run: 45.2% (5th)
Pace: 25.2 (3rd)
Plays per game: 62.9 (30th)
Pass: 54.2% (29th) | Run: 45.8% (4th)
All pace / play data is from the last eight weeks.
The Eagles offensive transformation over their last three games has been a necessary one. HC Nick Sirianni simply needed to help out his young quarterback by running the ball more and it only took seven weeks to figure it out, but here we are. The Eagles have gone a whopping 67% run-heavy on early-downs (red-zone not included) over their last three games. And, as a result, Jalen Hurts’ passing volume has fallen off of a cliff. Hurts was averaging 34.6 pass attempts per game in Weeks 1-7 but has since fallen to just 18 passes per game over their last three. Philadelphia is now basically running a copy of the Ravens early offense in 2018 with Lamar Jackson – everything centers around the run and play-action. Now, the Eagles have absolutely shredded the Lions, Chargers, and Broncos to the tune of a combined 628 yards on the ground over their last three games but obviously face their stiffest test yet here against a Saints front-seven that is allowing a league-low 2.89 YPC and 0.42 rushing fantasy points per carry to RBs.
Meanwhile, the Saints have remained the same slow-paced, balanced team over the last three weeks with Trevor Siemian under center. They’ve gone 56% pass | 44% run in neutral situations (game within a score in 1st-3rd quarter) against the Falcons and Titans – which is right in line with their game-plan all season long. If Alvin Kamara is back, I expect the Saints will want to come out and run the ball against this Eagles defense that is giving up the eighth-most YPG to opposing RBs.
Huber’s Key Matchup Notes
Trevor Siemian has put enough game managing football on tape to ensure he’ll receive at least one more opportunity elsewhere after his days as a Saint come to an end. And he certainly cannot be blamed for the lack of talent at receiver. It’s actually that lack of receiving weapons that should have already pushed Taysom Hill toward the starting gig. His ability to completely control games with his mobility just makes too much sense for a New Orleans team toying in danger after consecutive defeats. Hill led the Saints to a 3-1 record last season as the starter. With this defense and Alvin Kamara in the backfield, Hill could make some noise in the playoffs (if Kamara is healthy and the Saints get there, of course). That said, it was reported that he took some lumps last week, so his health would obviously dictate his involvement.
As in previous weeks, Hurts will be searching for DeVonta Smith to piece together his passing numbers. Smith put a 2/47/1 line on his former Alabama teammate Patrick Surtain II last week. And it’s a follow-up to collecting a 2/55/1 line inside the coverage of Chris Harris Jr. If Smith manages to do the same to Marshon Lattimore this week, it’ll be high time that we start chasing after some FPs.
Dolan’s Vantage Points
So, how about them Eagles?
Eagles offense since Week 8— Paul Hembekides (@PaulHembo) November 15, 2021
(last 3 games):
3.2 points/drive (1st in NFL)
84.6 total QBR (1st)
208.7 Rush YPG (1st)
22 10-yard rushes (1st)
54% 3rd down pct (1st)
62% drive score pct (1st)
42.3 avg drive distance (1st)
51% success rate (1st)
79.8 efficiency (1st)
the Eagles’ offensive shift to a focus on the run game — of which QB Jalen Hurts is an integral part — has piled up the yardage, and has Philly entering an easy second-half schedule with some hope of making a playoff run. Against the Broncos in Week 10, Hurts went 16/23 for 178 yards with 2 TD and a pick, adding 14/53 rushing — Hurts has now topped 50 yards rushing in four consecutive games. His interception came in the second half and was affected by a defender hitting his arm, but all in all, the Eagles threw just 3 passes in the second half as Denver consistently tripped over itself and made crippling mistakes (none bigger than Melvin Gordon’s fumble-six).
However, I thought last week was the best Hurts has thrown the ball all season. He was 15/20 in the first half, and arguably his best throw, a frozen rope to Quez Watkins for a would-be TD, was dropped. The Eagles should stick with their newfound identity, and it’s also worth pointing out that Hurts has been exceptional on traditional play action (under center) since the shift. They didn’t do much of that against the Broncos, sticking instead with a high percentage of shotgun (a la Lamar Jackson’s Ravens), but coach Nick Sirianni has now shown multiple looks to defenses that they have to prepare for. And Hurts’ legs are the integral component.
Speaking of the run game, Miles Sanders (ankle) could be back this week. And Sirianni is making no mistake about his role.
“If Miles is healthy and ready to go, he’s our starter.” - Sirianni on Sanders.— Mike Kaye (@mike_e_kaye) November 17, 2021
While Eagle fans might rant and rave about how the run game has looked great since Sanders went down — and it has, with Jordan Howard and Boston Scott leading the way — I do think it’s curious that the Eagles’ run heavy approach actually seemed to start in Week 7, against the Raiders. Then Sanders got hurt early in the game — Sanders had 6 carries on the first two drives of that game before getting hurt, and the Eagles went extremely pass-heavy after the fact (Howard wasn’t active for the game). While Howard and Scott are running well — especially Howard — neither has Sanders’ home-run speed. It will be interesting to see how Sanders gets worked in here. I think he’s an RB2 if he goes.
Nick Sirianni said they expect Dallas Goedert (concussion) to play on Sunday. He says they haven’t made a decision on Miles Sanders (ankle) yet.— Dave Zangaro (@DZangaroNBCS) November 19, 2021
The Eagles will have recently extended TE Dallas Goedert this week after he left last week early with a concussion. The Saints haven’t allowed a single TE1 game this year, but Goedert and DeVonta Smith are really Philly’s only reliable passing targets.
The #Eagles and TE Dallas Goedert reached agreement on a four-year contract extension, sources say. The deal ranks top three amongst tight ends on an average-per-year basis.— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) November 19, 2021
Goedert, who was slated to be a free agent after the season, is now under contract in Philly thru 2025.
The Saints suffered a big blow midweek, as RB Alvin Kamara — who missed last week with a mysterious knee injury — was downgraded to no practice on Thursday after returning on Wednesday, and will miss the game. Plugged-in beat man Nick Underhill is calling it an MCL injury:
Alvin Kamara was not at practice for the Saints today after being limited on Wednesday. This is obviously not a good development as the running back works his way back from an MCL sprain. What does it mean? We cover that and more on The Dot presented by Matt Bowers Auto Group. pic.twitter.com/H71GCbE0Wf— Nick Underhill (@nick_underhill) November 18, 2021
With Kamara out, Mark Ingram is obviously right back in play.
I have a hunch that the Eagles will make life miserable for this Saints passing game, and it’s because of Trevor Siemian. I have a simple test:
A simple litmus test for NFL GMs:— Joe Dolan (@FG_Dolan) November 15, 2021
If your quarterback doesn't complete 70% of his passes against the Eagles defense, then he ain't it.
So, Jimmy Garoppolo, Dak Prescott, Patrick Mahomes, Derek Carr, and Justin Herbert have passed the test. Matt Ryan, Sam Darnold, Jared Goff, and Teddy Bridgewater have not. If you flip Jim G and Ryan… man, that looks pretty good.
And while I definitely view Siemian as a capable backup, I think he’s exactly the type of QB the Eagles can rustle, given his lack of weaponry at the receiver positions (even Taysom Hill is dinged up) and the injuries to both of his offensive tackles — Ryan Ramczyk and Terron Armstead.
As Tom outlined above… I do like this spot for TE Adam Trautman.