Eagles-Saints live updates: Philly comes out flying, builds early lead

Philadelphia Eagles broad receiver Jordan Matthews pulls in a landing reception in entrance of New Orleans Saints unfastened protection Marcus Williams. (Gerald Herbert/AP)

The Saints glance rusty: The primary quarter is over and the Saints path, 14-Zero. They give the impression of being rusty after giving Drew Brees a relaxation in Week 17 after which having a first-round playoff bye. The Eagles, in the meantime, had been enjoying for his or her postseason lives each week down the stretch. The Saints did subsequent to not anything on offense within the first quarter. The Eagles nearly compelled every other turnover past due within the quarter when Brandon Graham stripped the ball from Brees. The Saints sooner or later recovered the free soccer, and the officers to start with awarded them a primary down, ruling that the Eagles in short had ownership of the ball all through the post-fumble scramble. However that ruling was once overturned by the use of the following replay overview. The Saints had been left dealing with fourth down and punted. (Eagles 14, Saints Zero, 15:00 left in 2d quarter)

Eagles building up lead: The Eagles are taking it proper to the top-seeded Saints. They made it two touchdowns on two possessions and upped their result in 14-Zero when Nick Foles scored ton a one-yard quarterback sneak arrange by means of a 30-yard finishing touch to broad receiver Alshon Jeffery and a three-yard run by means of Wendell Smallwood. Foles and the Eagles’ receivers are difficult the New Orleans defensive backs down the sphere. Jeffery’s catch got here towards Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore. There was once one damaging building for the Eagles, when guard Brandon Brooks was once taken from the sphere on a cart all through the pressure. (Eagles 14, Saints Zero, four:37 left in 1st quarter)

Saints lose Rankins: A nasty get started has gotten worse for the Saints. Defensive take on Sheldon Rankins was once taken from the sphere on a cart. He’s been one of the crucial Saints’ higher defensive gamers this season. The group to attain first has received each sport up to now all through this NFL postseason. The Saints are going to have to wreck that development in the event that they wish to advance to the NFC identify sport.

Eagles take early lead: The Eagles wanted a excellent get started, they usually’ve gotten it. They cashed in at the turnover by means of the Saints with a 37-yard landing move from Nick Foles to broad receiver Jordan Matthews. Foles’s magic contact has persevered into every other sport, a minimum of for now. He went five for five for 65 yards at the pressure. (Eagles 7, Saints Zero, 10:41 left in 1st quarter)

Excellent get started for Eagles: It was once deafening within the Superdome at kickoff, and the Saints went on offense first. They went for a large play at the opening snap however Drew Brees’s deep move supposed for Ted Ginn Jr. was once intercepted by means of Eagles cornerback Cre’Von LeBlanc. That’s a excellent get started for the Eagles when they misplaced by means of 41 issues right here all through the common season.

Pregame: The Saints, after a first-round bye, start a postseason wherein they’re the NFC’s peak seed and don’t have to depart New Orleans, so long as they retain profitable, till heading to Atlanta for the Tremendous Bowl. However first, they’ll need to usa the protecting Tremendous Bowl champs, dealing with the Eagles in an intriguing convention semifinal and the weekend’s ultimate sport.

Can Nick Foles summon any longer magic for the Eagles? The reigning Tremendous Bowl MVP makes every other get started at quarterback instead of Carson Wentz, sidelined on account of a pressure fracture in his again. Foles orchestrated the three-game profitable streak on the finish of the common season that were given the Eagles into the playoffs, and he was once on the helm for final weekend’s first-round playoff triumph at Chicago, which was once preserved when Bears kicker Cody Parkey neglected a double-doink box objective, with the ball putting each the upright after which the crossbar, within the ultimate moments.

Already, some wonder whether the Eagles will have to rethink their long-term dedication to Wentz and keep on with Foles, whose contract incorporates a $20 million mutual possibility for subsequent season, as their long term starter. Nevertheless it’s first issues first, and the Eagles’ process this weekend is daunting: They misplaced, 48-7, on the Superdome in November.

The Saints had been one in every of 3 NFL groups (at the side of the Chiefs and Rams) to moderate greater than 30 issues in step with sport all through the common season. They totaled simplest 95 issues of their ultimate 5 video games. However quarterback Drew Brees sat out the common season finale, and the Saints’ offensive line is more healthy now after accidents compelled a excellent little bit of reshuffling down the stretch.

Brees and Trainer Sean Payton are looking to take the Saints again to the Tremendous Bowl for the primary time since their identify within the 2009 season. Payton supplied his gamers with some visible motivation when he introduced a Lombardi Trophy, a Tremendous Bowl ring, greater than $200,000 in money (consultant of every participant’s attainable postseason percentage) and 3 armed guards to a group assembly Monday.

“I feel [it was] simply appearing and looking to give everyone a imaginative and prescient, particularly the younger guys, as to clearly what we’re after and the chance that we’ve got, particularly because the [No.] 1 seed,” Brees stated when he met with newshounds at midweek. “Simply understanding that we keep an eye on it and all of it comes thru this position …. This sport is an important factor this season. I feel we’ve taken that means every sport this yr — making every sport, that sport, an important sport this season.

“Whilst you do this, you get to a playoff sport and everybody talks about, ‘K, neatly now, it’s the playoffs and is the preparation other?’ No. If we’ve been coming near it this fashion the entire time, then let’s simply pass play ball. It’s every other sport. We all the time be expecting to play our best possible. We all the time be expecting to move out and execute to perfection. So let’s pass do it.”

Is it taking place once more? (David Banks/AP)

When: Sunday, four:40 p.m. Jap.

The place: Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans.

How you can watch on TV: Fox.

How you can flow on-line: FOXSportsGo app.

Odds: Saints -Eight.

What’s subsequent: The winner advances to the NFC identify sport on Jan. 20 towards the Los Angeles Rams. The Saints would host the Rams, whilst the Eagles would play in Los Angeles. The Saints beat the Rams at house in November, 45-35. The Eagles beat the Rams in L.A. final month, 30-23.

Matchup to observe: Saints broad receiver Michael Thomas vs. Eagles’ backup cornerbacks

It sounds as if, on paper a minimum of, that the Eagles did higher than anticipated in containing Michael Thomas of their Week 11 blowout loss to the Saints. Thomas was once held to 4 catches, 92 yards and a landing. In reality, it took them double-teaming Thomas nearly all the sport to simplest hang him to these figures. In that 48-7 defeat, Jim Schwartz dialed up one of the quirkiest coverages you’ll ever see — now not simplest doubling Thomas, but in addition double-covering Alvin Kamara out of the backfield at the similar play. The end result was once Saints broad receiver Tre’Quan Smith going off for 157 yards on 10 catches.

Therein lies the issue with dealing with Drew Brees: He simplest wishes a step of separation to burn your protection. In PFF’s complex quarterback charting, we discovered that Brees finished 79.1 % of his makes an attempt when his receivers had just a step of separation — the easiest determine within the league by means of five.three share issues. The Eagles can have been in a position to escape with their ragtag secondary within the components towards Mitchell Trubisky, however that turns out in doubt within the Superdome towards Brees. We’ll most likely to find out very early on if the Eagles accept as true with their corners to move one-on-one with Thomas, and the way they hang up will pass some distance towards deciding the sport. — Mike Renner, Professional Soccer Center of attention

Learn extra at the NFL playoffs:

The NFL linebacker has been devalued. Leighton Vander Esch is right here to modify that.

What’s the name of the game to Nick Foles’s magic? The play of the Eagles protection.

Westlake Top produced two Tremendous Bowl MVPs. On Sunday, they’ll meet within the NFL playoffs.

‘We were given it accomplished!’: The interior tale of ways Patrick Mahomes landed with the Chiefs

‘Regardless of the place I’m, I nonetheless consider her’: A grieving father plans to play towards the Patriots

Philip Rivers is working out of time, making this week’s alternative that a lot larger

John Clayton: The four greatest questions heading into the NFL playoffs’ divisional around

NFL playoffs ATS selections: House favorites will have to fight to hide in divisional matchups

Those one-on-one matchups may just come to a decision the NFL’s divisional-round video games

The Saints and Rams had been the massive winners on wild-card weekend

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