Eagles vs. Saints: NFL experts make Week 11 picks

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The New Orleans Saints (5-4) are hitting the road and heading towards Philadelphia for another matchup at Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles (4-6) in an important NFC matchup.

The game has postseason implications and Jalen Hurts is looking for a repeat performance after upsetting New Orleans in his first start as a pro.

The expert’s picks are in, and most of the media is rolling with the road team.

The Inquirer -- Saints

(AP Photo/Chris Szagola)

Jeff McLane is rolling with New Orleans on the road.

A year later, in a new system, the Eagles have found success without Sanders. But the running back is likely to return Sunday. How he will fit in with Jordan Howard, Boston Scott, and Kenneth Gainwell remains to be seen, but more talent can’t be a bad thing. Right? Still, Sirianni will have to be prepared to stray from the blueprint if there isn’t much running room. Hurts has shown steady improvement with fewer drops, but can he handle 25-plus pass attempts against? This could be his greatest test yet.

On the other side of the ball, the Saints are Drew Brees-less as they were last season, but he’s retired and Sean Payton’s offense has struggled with consistency, especially after quarterback Jameis Winston’s injury. His replacement, Trevor Siemian, has been fine. But the Saints just don’t have the weapons they once did, and Alvin Kamara can only do so much and also missed practice on Thursday due to a knee injury. Jonathan Gannon could have another week when his defense isn’t allowing another 80-percent-plus completion percentage.

I think the Eagles have made strides the last few weeks, and as I said earlier, I should have chosen them last week. But my intuition says that the Saints defense won’t get fooled again. No, no.

Prediction: Saints 29, Eagles 23

The Athletic -- Saints

Sheil Kapadia is rolling with the Saints from a spread perspective.

The Eagles have morphed into one of the most run-heavy teams in the NFL. Last week, in a win against the Denver Broncos, they used a bunch of read elements with Jalen Hurts to rush for 216 yards. But this week, they go up against the best run defense in the NFL.

After last week’s cover against the Titans, the Saints are now 9-2 against the spread as underdogs over the past three seasons and 8-0 against the spread as underdogs without Drew Brees. I think this is a bad matchup for the Eagles’ offense, and I don’t have much faith in the Eagles’ defense.

The pick: Saints (+2)

Philly Voice -- Eagles

(AP Photo/Chris Szagola)

Philly Voice is rolling with the Eagles.

Saints at Eagles (-1.5): This is a matchup of strength on strength, as the Eagles’ red hot rushing attack will face the No. 1 rush defense in the NFL.

As we noted in our five matchups to watch, in the Eagles’ win over the Saints in 2020, which also happened to be Jalen Hurts’ first career start, the Eagles racked up 246 yards and 2 TDs on 36 carries (6.8 yards per carry) against a Saints run defense that finished fourth in the NFL in rushing yards allowed per game (93.9) and rushing yards allowed per attempt (3.9). Strip out that one bad performance against the Eagles last season, and the Saints would have finished second in rushing yards allowed per game (83.7) and first in yards per rushing attempt (3.5).

In taking a look at the Saints’ schedule over the last two seasons, the only other teams that they have faced that employed quarterbacks considered to be running threats were the Patrick Mahomes-led Chiefs (Week 15, 2020) and the Daniel Jones-led Giants (Week 4, 2021). They lost both of those games, like they did against the Hurts-led Eagles. In those three games against Mahomes, Jones, and Hurts, the Saints allowed an average of 169.3 rushing yards per game on 5.2 yards per carry. Will the Eagles rack up over 200 yards on the ground against this Saints defense again? No, probably not, but I do think they can run the ball effectively.

On the other side of the ball, this is not the explosive Saints offense you remember. They’re led by JAG backup Trevor Siemian, whose top three wide receivers are Deonte Harris, Marquez Callaway, and Tre’Quan Smith.

USA Today -- Saints

Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Five of their seven writers are rolling with the road team.

Tim McManus -- Saints

Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

McManus and Mike Triplett are rolling with the Saints.

The Eagles have had the league’s best rushing attack over the past three weeks, averaging an impressive 209 yards per game. The Saints, meanwhile, boast the No. 1 rush defense in the NFL. It’s strength on strength. Making things even more interesting: Philadelphia running back Miles Sanders could very well be back in the lineup after a multiweek absence due to an ankle injury. — Tim McManus

ESPN -- Saints

Mandatory Credit: James Lang-USA TODAY Sports

ESPN has seven of their 10 writers rolling with the Saints.

NJ.com -- Eagles

Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Kaye is rolling with the Eagles.

The Eagles pulled off a potentially monumental win in Denver last week. Now, they’ll face their biggest game of the season, as a win would station them pretty comfortably in the wild-card chase. The Eagles are 2-1 against the NFC South and their last home win came against the Saints last season.

Hurts’ first career win came against Sean Payton, and while the Saints have a terrific defense, we’ve seen the Eagles QB run wild on the unit before. Plus, Trevor Siemian is the level of quarterback that defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon typically has success against this season.

PICK: Eagles 23, Saints 19.

NFL.com -- Saints

Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Like Browns-Patriots in the AFC last week, this is a massive swing game in the NFC wild-card race. The Eagles have found an offensive identity that can’t be denied and their line is playing at a higher level than the Saints’ ballyhooed unit. But Philadelphia has steamrolled three straight opponents on the ground who are soft defending the run. New Orleans is ranked first in run defense DVOA. The Saints are battle-tested, showing a toughness since Week 1 against quality opponents that the Eagles haven’t yet displayed. It could happen here, but I’m going to believe that Trevor Siemian’s quality play thus far can continue.

CBS Sports -- Saints

Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Pete Prisco is rolling with New Orleans.

The Saints are playing consecutive road games outside the division, which is tough. The Eagles impressed last week in winning at Denver and Jalen Hurts is improving by the week. But this Saints defense is good and I think it will slow the Eagles’ offense. Saints get by with just enough offense.

Pick: Saints 21, Eagles 17

Pro Football Talk -- Saints

(AP Photo/Chris Szagola)

Florio’s take: The Eagles are soaring. The Saints are sinking. And that’s a recipe for New Orleans turning things around, at least for one day.

Florio’s pick: Saints 27, Eagles 17.

Bleacher Report -- Eagles

Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Hurts has a 108.3 passer rating the last two weeks, and I believe in him far more than I believe in Trevor Siemian, who lost the benefit of the doubt earlier in his career with the Broncos and Jets and was never as talented as Hurts anyway. The Saints might be a slightly better team beyond that, but not enough for me to take them in a virtual pick ’em situation on the road following back-to-back losses.”

Obviously, we wouldn’t fault you for waiting on Saints running back Alvin Kamara’s status to become more cemented before rolling the dice either way here, even if that might cost you value one way or another.

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