By Michael Daley

The Eagles host the New Orleans Saint this Sunday at the Linc, and all eyes will be on new QB’s Jalen Hurts and Taysom Hill.

All the talk and focus this week will be on the Carson Wentz–Jalen Hurts saga, but this is also an important game when it comes to Hill’s evaluation.

In his three starts this season, we’ve seen him twice against an Atlanta defense that doesn’t pose much of a challenge. We’ve also seen him against Denver fielding a practice squad wide receiver at quarterback. The Broncos may have an above-average defense, but the game script awarded to the Saints thanks to an offense that couldn’t move the ball shielded Hill, who still left the game with a 47.2 overall grade.

This game against the Eagles should provide a clearer picture on where Hill is as a quarterback. New Orleans has ranked second in the NFL in expected points added per run play the past three weeks with Hill behind center, but they come in at just 20th in expected points added per pass play despite the two matchups against Atlanta. We still haven’t seen a whole lot that would indicate he can give the Saints enough as a passer in uncomfortable situations to where they would feel secure with him if he was forced to take quarterback snaps in the postseason. With a team pressure rate of 39.7% that ranks fourth in the NFL, the Eagles are capable of creating those uncomfortable situations.

The betting market doesn’t seem too thrilled about the Eagles pivoting to Jalen Hurts at quarterback, as the opening 6.5-point spread quickly pushed out to 7 — with 80% of the cash and tickets on the Saints.

The total has also dropped down to 44, with the cash and ticket percentages both liking the under. We could see a number of quarterback runs, which tend to slow the offensive production down.

There is quite a bit of unknown in this matchup for a game happening so late in the season. This makes it tough to find opportunities on any of the betting markets, with PFF Greenline just missing out on value for the total.

Eagles players should largely be avoided against this strong Saints defense. Miles Sanders is usually a must-start regardless of opponent, but he’s someone who could be worth benching for the week. Sanders was averaging 15 carries per game over the first 11 weeks of the season, but he’s coming off of games with six and 10 carries.

The Eagles brought back Jordan Howard, which took away some of Sanders’ carries and could potentially take away his goal-line work. The Saints defense allows the fewest fantasy points to running back at 16.1 per game. Philadelphia likely won’t be running much due to the game script. Boston Scott earned 37.2% of the third-down work in recent weeks, so Sanders lost some playing time in the pass game, too. This all adds up to another disappointing game from Sanders.

The Eagles defense is relatively average this year. They’ve been better against the run game, but that shouldn’t stop anyone from playing Alvin Kamara. Kamara received 15 carries — the most for him in a game in over two months. He still hasn’t been nearly as involved in the passing game as he used to be, but the run game production is still enough to start him.

Michael Thomas is also in a position to put up big numbers. He’s gained over 100 receiving yards in two of his last three games. The one exception was the Broncos game where the Saints had a very conservative, run-heavy game plan. The Eagles defense gave up 121 yards to Davante Adams last week and D.K. Metcalf gained 177 yards against them the week before. The only problem with Thomas is that he hasn’t scored a touchdown this season, and the Eagles are tied for the fifth-fewest touchdowns allowed to wide receivers. Thomas should have another 100-yard game on several catches but might not score.

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