Our New Orleans Saints vs. Philadelphia Eagles predictions examine a game where both teams have a lot still at stake with questions over the play of their quarterback. Let’s take a look at the current NFL betting odds, the main storylines to watch, and make a prediction for the game. Note that all odds are from DraftKings Sportsbook as of Monday, Dec. 26.
Saints vs. Eagles Odds
Saints +245, Eagles -295
Saints vs. Eagles Prediction
This game is somewhat complicated by the fact that we are likely to see Gardner Minshew again at quarterback for the Eagles, with Jalen Hurts expected to miss at least one more week with a shoulder injury. If Hurts were to play, this would likely be closer to a nine or even 10-point spread as opposed to just below a touchdown at 6.5 points.
To say it was a mixed performance from Minshew last week against the Dallas Cowboys is an understatement. He threw the ball 40 times, completing 24 passes for 355 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions.
As expected, Minshew was much less of a threat with his legs, carrying the ball just four times for five yards and a touchdown. However, against a less-experienced offense than the Cowboys, the Eagles would likely still have come out on top in that matchup.
Ball security was a big issue for Minshew. He threw the two interceptions and fumbled it twice, losing one of them. In total, Philadelphia turned the ball over four times. In both games that the Eagles have lost this year, they turned the ball over on four occasions. There has only been one other game this year where they turned the ball over more than twice. Yet, seven of their 17 turnovers have come in the last two weeks.
We cannot read too much into the Saints last week, with the extreme weather conditions impacting that game more than most. What we have seen in the last two weeks coming out of the bye, however, is a much greater reliance on the run game. New Orleans averaged just 58.8 rushing yards per game in the five games leading into the bye but have averaged 143 rushing yards over the last two weeks.
Two elements are crucial in most games, but they could really determine the outcome of this one. The Eagles cannot afford to keep turning the ball over. In the four games they’ve turned the ball over two or more times, Philadelphia has gone 2-2. Yet, both wins were by a combined six points.
The other element that will be intriguing is inside the red zone. The Eagles lead the league with a 72.2% conversion rate inside the red zone. However, the Saints are a top-five defense inside the 20, holding opposing offenses to a TD rate of just 48.8%. If New Orleans can prevent Philadelphia from finding the end zone, they’ll give themselves a chance, but likely more so of covering than actually winning the game.
The tough part of this Saints vs. Eagles prediction is that the way this game likely goes depends on the Eagles’ ball security. If they turn it over multiple times, then they will give the Saints every chance to hang around.
However, New Orleans’ defense is the worst unit in the league at forcing turnovers, with just 11 on the season. In contrast, the Cowboys are the best unit in the league, forcing 30 turnovers this year.
It’s hard to see how the Saints can keep this one close against a far more complete Eagles team. Even with Minshew under center, Philadelphia should be able to move the ball, whether on the ground or through the air.
Saints vs. Eagles Prediction
Eagles 27, Saints 17