Facing the high-flying Saints offense Sunday at the Superdome is going to be a pretty daunting task for the Eagles’ defense.
It’s pretty daunting for the Eagles’ offense too.
Because while Jim Schwartz’s unit will be tasked with trying to stop the NFL’s highest-scoring team, the Eagles’ offense will be tasked with trying to keep pace. And that won’t be easy.
“Yeah, I think you think about that whenever you’re playing against a good offense,” center Jason Kelce said. “I think that in the back of your head, you know that you’ve got to execute offensively. At the end of the day, it doesn’t change up that much. Because, for us, we want to go out and execute as hard as you can regardless. It’s not like you’re going to try extra hard. I don’t think that usually corresponds well.”
Part of that is true. It’s basically what offensive coordinator Mike Groh said. The Eagles want to score every time they get the ball; that won’t change no matter who they’re playing.
But the Eagles also know they’re averaging just 22.0 points this season and 22 points isn't going to cut it against a team that’s averaging 36.7 points this season, the highest mark in the NFL.
Take a look at the scoring disparity:
• The difference in average points per game between the Saints and Eagles is 14.7, which is more than two other NFL teams (Cardinals, Bills) are scoring per game this season.
• The Eagles have gotten to 30 points once this season. The Saints have scored 40-plus in five games and have scored 30-plus in seven of nine.
• Over the last two weeks, the Saints have scored 96 points — 70 of them came in the first halves of those games. The Eagles have scored 61 total points in their last three games.
• Last week against the Bengals, the Saints scored 35 points in the first half. The most points the Eagles have scored in any game this season was 34.
“Obviously, we realize as of late, they’ve gotten up on teams early,” Carson Wentz said. “We have a ton of confidence in our defense, but that’s a heck of an offense over there. We don’t try to look too much into that, because, at the end of the day, we have high expectations and standards on the offensive side of the ball. We realize we have some things that we need to clean up, especially in situational football, some of it being red zone and those sorts of things. We realize we might have to score, but again, we have a lot of confidence in our defense. And we’re excited. This is going to be a fun matchup.”
The only loss the Saints (8-1) have this season came in the opener when the Bucs were hot and beat them 48-40. One of the more troubling things is that in the only two games the Saints have been kept under 30, they won both. The Browns held them to 21 points in Week 2, but the Saints won 21-18. And the Ravens held them to 24 points in Week 7, but the Saints won 24-23. That’s clearly not the way they were built to win, but they’ve done it twice in nine games.
Still, that has to be the objective for the Eagles. In both of those two games, the Browns and the Ravens had halftime leads of 6-3 and 10-7, respectively, before allowing the Saints to come back. If the Eagles want to have any chance to win this game, they can’t let the Saints run away early.
If this ends up being a shootout, the Saints just have bigger guns.