Two disappointing, but always intriguing teams will face off to close out Week 9’s NFL action on Monday night. The struggling Michael Vick will take his Philadelphia Eagles on the road to take on the 2-5 New Orleans Saints. Both teams had sky-high expectations entering 2012, but both have fallen a tad short of them thus far this season. And while it’s unlikely the Saints can recover for a post-season position, the Eagles still have a shot, but it’s going to take much better play from Vick and his underachieving teammates. It will be very interesting to see what Monday brings for these puzzling teams.
This is a do-or-die, make or break type of game for the Eagles, and specifically Michael Vick. With fans, and even players questioning his ability to lead this team, many calls have been made to go with back-up quarterback Nick Foles, but Andy Reid has held off. It was reported that Reid and Vick had a “heart-to-heart” conversation in the lead-up to this contest, and it will be intriguing to see how the team responds from this. New Orleans is awful defensively, and if Vick can’t play to his full abilities against a unit this porous, it could be lights out for him in the city of Brotherly Love. It won’t be easy protection-wise for Mike Vick though, as key guard Danny Watkins will miss this game due to a sprained ankle. Safety Nate Allen is also highly questionable for Monday night.
For the Saints, it’s simply been a tumultuous year. From the summer suspensions hailing from “bounty-gate,” to their horrid on-field play, New Orleans is a mess right now, with no end in sight. They may take solace in the fact that their opponent this week is experiencing their own share of problems, but the Eagles will be hungry and motivated in the Superdome on Monday night. New Orleans will be without the dynamic Darren Sproles for a little while as he’s suffering from a hand injury. Sproles is virtually irreplaceable in the New Orleans’ attack, and it will be interesting to see how they cope in his absence. New Orleans may not be well on their way to a playoff spot, but they have a lethal offense and can play with the best of teams on any given night. They’ll be raring to go, and will give a desperate Eagles side all they can handle in what promises to be a thrilling Monday night affair.
Eagles vs. Saints Betting Odds:
Philadelphia Eagles +3 (-115)
@ New Orleans Saints -3 (-105)
Over 51.5 (-110)
Under 51.5 (-110)
Betting odds taken from Bovada.lv
Eagles vs. Saints Pick:
In what is widely considered to be an absolute must-win game for a reeling Eagles side, I expect a peak performance from Coach Reid’s squad on Monday Night Football. Andy Reid has historically been a solid coach on the road when his team’s backs are against the wall, cashing in at 60% against the spread. Look for an inspired outing from his group on Monday evening.
It’s no secret that Mike Vick has struggled immensely with turnovers this season, but don’t look for that to be an issue on Monday evening. The Saints are simply terrible on defense, and the Eagles should be able to shred them at will. The Saints surrender over 474 yards per game and no team in NFL history has conceded more yardage through their first seven games than the Saints have. A team as loaded as Philadelphia’s should have no trouble moving the chains and making this defense look silly.
One main negative about Philadelphia this season is their inability to protect the quarterback. Vick has taken a beating through eight weeks, and it likely has to be significantly affecting his abilities. Fortunately though, this week the Eagles likely won’t be overwhelmed at the line of scrimmage as New Orleans possesses a non-existent pass rush. The Saints struggle at pressuring the quarterback and recording sacks, so expect Vick to finally have time in the pocket to pick apart a vulnerable pass defense.
Vick has been waiting all season long for his 2012 coming out party, and look for this game to serve that purpose. The Eagles will be rejuvenated this week as all of their fellow division rivals in the NFC East lost in Week 9, and they now know beating the Saints would definitely make up key ground. It’s about time for the talent of Philadelphia to shine through. They’re better in every facet than a soft New Orleans team, and look for a heroic outing from Mike Vick under the Monday Night lights. No favourite has covered the spread in any of the Eagles games this season, and look for that trend to continue as the underdog Eagles take this one outright.
PICK = Eagles +3 (-115)