Says ESPN:

(6) Eagles at (1) New Orleans Saints

Sunday, Jan. 13 | 4:40 p.m. ET | Fox | Mercedes-Benz Superdome

Early FPI projection: New Orleans, 77.4 percent

Eagles’ best chance to win: Keep converting third downs.

The first 14 weeks of the season, the Eagles converted a middling 38.9 percent of their third downs. The final three weeks of the regular season, with Nick Foles starting in place of an injured Carson Wentz, they were fourth in the league, at 48.8 percent on third down. In Sunday’s comeback victory in Chicago, the Eagles converted five of 12 third downs — not spectacular but good enough against the league’s best defense, especially when you convert a fourth-and-goal when down by five with a minute left in the game. Foles looks very comfortable in those situations.

Saints’ best chance to win: Get some pressure on Foles.

He is 4-0 the past two postseasons, and he might just be unbeatable this time of year. But part of the reason Foles played so well the latter part of the season after Wentz got hurt was the performance of the Eagles’ offensive line. It was an elite protection unit this time last year, and it has shown the ability to be that again. Cameron Jordan & Co. need to dictate some things up front, make Foles uncomfortable and try to force him into some mistakes.

Stat to know: The Saints allowed an average of 84 rush yards per game the final eight weeks of the season, the fifth-best figure in the league over that span. In that same time, they allowed an average of 3.66 yards per carry on first down. The Eagles were just 24th in the league this season in yards per carry on first down, with an average of 4.14. The Saints have a chance to put Foles in some third-and-long situations if the Eagles can’t find some rushing success on the early downs.

Bottom line: The Super Bowl champions are 9-1 the past two seasons in December, January and February games started by Foles. Last season, the Eagles made their run from the No. 1 seed, meaning they had a bye and a pair of home games before the Super Bowl. Beating the top-seeded Saints in New Orleans without the benefit of a bye is a different kind of challenge. But then again, so was beating the mighty Bears’ defense on the road in Chicago, and they just did that.


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