The “Saints can’t possibly win on the road in the cold” narrative has been so thoroughly espoused by the pundit crowd that an Eagles victory has been said to be a foregone conclusion. Hell, Mike Florio joked that the Saints shouldn’t even bother trying to win Week 17 to qualify for the playoffs because they’d have to go on the road the following week. Not that anything Florio will ever say has any bearing on what happens on the field. Just showing how much fun the chuckleheads have had with this presumption.
Drew Brees doesn’t exactly care for the narrative. Here he was at the postgame press conference following the blowout loss in Seattle.
Two road losses in the next three weeks only served to solidify that talking point as accepted reality. Now even the Saints seem to believe it, adding superstitious rituals from years past, such as eating Popeyes on the flight. No one likes to go into the postseason on a poor note, but it doesn’t necessarily preclude anything. Bear in mind that last year’s Ravens lost four of their last five regular season game before taking off out of the Wild Card round.
Were it not a defeat a few weeks ago in Minnesota, it would be hard to deny that the Eagles have gotten their shit together over the second half of the year. Stodgy NFL writers were eager to write off Chip Kelly early in the season and now he’s got Nick Foles among the best quarterbacks in the league. Foles was mostly mediocre in his rookie year in 2012. Not that there couldn’t have been some natural progression from Year 1 to Year 2 but it seems doubtful the leap would have been that dramatic without significant strategic advantages.
When the Cowboys got pressure on Foles last week in Dallas, he had a tendency to fold and focus on the rush. The Saints were fourth in the NFL in sacks, but to even get in situations where they can consistently pressure Foles, the Saints will have to take away the Eagles’ potent run game. With only the 19th ranked run defense, it’ll be a challenge.
Oh, and we’re gonna get real sick of hearing how Brees and Foles happened to attend the same high school in Austin by the end of the first quarter.