NFL divisional round odds, line: Saints vs. Eagles picks, optimal predictions from expert who went 8-2 on Philadelphia games
Josh Nagel has his finger on the pulse of Nick Foles and the Eagles
The Philadelphia Eagles shocked the Chicago Bears last week, but it doesn't get any easier for the reigning Super Bowl champions as they face the NFC's top-seeded New Orleans Saints on Sunday at the Superdome. The kickoff is 4:40 p.m. ET for the rematch of a Week 11 game New Orleans (13-3) easily won 48-7. But that was before Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles was under center. The Eagles (9-7) have won six of seven since that defeat. New Orleans is favored by eight in the latest Saints vs. Eagles odds, with the over-under for total points at 52. Before locking in any Saints vs. Eagles picks and NFL predictions for Sunday, you'll want to see what handicapper and Philly expert Josh Nagel is saying about the game.
A West Coast-based analyst who has won numerous handicapping contests, Nagel has his finger on the Eagles' pulse: All time at SportsLine, he's an incredible 8-2 in against-the-spread picks involving the reigning Super Bowl champions. That includes nailing both of his Eagles picks this season. Nagel went with Philly (-5.5) in its 28-13 win over the Redskins on Dec. 3, and took the Eagles (-1) in their season-opening 18-12 victory over the Falcons. Anyone who has followed him is way up.
Now, with an NFC Championship Game berth on the line, Nagel has locked in a confident point-spread pick for Sunday's game (stream live on fuboTV). He's sharing his Eagles vs. Saints picks only at SportsLine.
Nagel knows Drew Brees has to be licking his chops as he prepares to face the Eagles' 30th-ranked pass defense. Brees completed an NFL-record 74.4 percent of his passes, leading the league with a 115.5 QB rating with 32 touchdowns. He was part of the league's top combo with wide receiver Michael Thomas, who hauled in 125 passes for 1,405 yards and nine scores.
Alvin Kamara was one of the premier pass-catching running backs with 883 yards and 14 touchdowns on the ground with 81 receptions and 709 yards receiving, making New Orleans' offense a pick-your-poison conundrum for defenses.
The Saints' defense has been a weakness for a long time, but that's not the case this year. Cameron Jordan and Sheldon Rankins have combined for 20 of the teams' 49 sacks, and the front seven ranks No. 2 against the run. The Saints have won six straight home playoff games. They've been the No. 1 seed in the NFC just once before -- 2009, en route to the franchise's only Super Bowl title.
But just because the Saints are the top seed and will play at home doesn't mean they'll cover against the surging Eagles.
Nagel also knows it was a trying season for Philadelphia's defense, but the unit closed the year with a shutout of the Redskins to help them get into the 2019 NFL Playoffs. Their ability to stop the run and make the Bears one-dimensional during Wild Card Weekend was a major reason why they were able to win the game. Against a New Orleans offense that thrives on balance, if the Eagles can win the battle at the line of scrimmage and keep running backs Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram bottled up, it would make life difficult for the Saints.
Accomplishing that starts up front for the Eagles, so expect Fletcher Cox, Michael Bennett and Timmy Jernigan to be key. They've been disruptive up front the last two weeks. When they're not making plays of their own, they're freeing up defenders like Nigel Bradham and Jordan Hicks to plug holes and play sideline-to-sideline to force the running game wide.
We can tell you Nagel is leaning over, but his much stronger play is on the spread. He says a new wrinkle in this matchup makes one side of the spread a must-back. He's only sharing what it is, and who to back, at SportsLine.
Who wins Eagles vs. Saints? And what new wrinkle makes one side of the spread a must-back? Visit SportsLine now to see which side of the Saints vs. Eagles spread you need to jump on, all from the senior analyst who's 8-2 all time picking for or against the Eagles.
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