NFL Week 14: Saints vs. Eagles odds, preview and pick
When the NFL released its schedule for the 2020 season, many fans expected the Week 14 showdown between the Philadelphia Eagles and New Orleans Saints to have major significance for the NFC playoff race.
Instead, the Eagles and Saints are going in opposite directions. Philadelphia (3-8-1) has lost four in a row, and has benched quarterback Carson Wentz and given his starting duties to rookie Jalen Hurts.
The Eagles are home underdogs for Sunday’s matchup, and are looking to upset a Saints team that is a strong Super Bowl contender.
Sun, December 13 2020, 9:25 PM
New Orleans Saints
Jalen Hurts, you're going in
This has been a tumultuous season for Wentz, and this week, Eagles head coach Doug Pederson finally pivoted away from the former second overall pick as his starting quarterback.
The move puts rookie Jalen Hurts into the starter’s role – at least for this week – against a Saints defense that is gaining momentum late in the season.
New Orleans is fifth in the league in quarterback sacks, and has given up the fourth fewest passing yards. The Saints have also only given up five rushing touchdowns all season – the fewest in the league.
The Eagles do not have a list of game-breakers. Now, Philadelphia will turn to the 22-year-old Hurts in hopes of finding something to spark this beleaguered offense.
Hurts has thrown 15 passes this season in limited playing time, completing eight for 142 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. He has more rushing attempts than passing attempts, running for 82 yards on 17 carries, for an average of 4.8 yards per attempt.
At first glance, this is a no-win situation for the Eagles by putting Hurts in against an NFC powerhouse. If he struggles in the first half, do the Eagles go back to Wentz in the second? Or does Philadelphia view this as turning the page as a franchise and looking to the future with Hurts as the quarterback?
The Saints won’t concern themselves with that storyline. They’re out to win the top seed in the NFC.
Michael Thomas rounding into form for New Orleans
Michael Thomas has been one of the best receivers in the NFL since joining the league in 2016, but his 2020 campaign got off to a rocky start.
He was injured in Week 1, and faced a one-game, team-imposed suspension in October for punching a teammate. Both instances forced Thomas out of the lineup for a total of eight weeks.
But he finally seems to be rounding into form as the big-play, target-heavy receiver for the Saints.
In two of his last three games, Thomas recorded double digits in targets, with 22 catches in that span. Twice in the last three games he went over 100 yards receiving, although the end zone has proven elusive so far.
He’s another focal point for opposing defenses, who now have to contend with not only running back Alvin Kamara, but stopping Taysom Hill and his ability to run and pass the football. The Saints' defense might be on fire right now, but Michael Thomas has the ability to heat up New Orleans' offense.
Saints vs. Eagles injury report
On that note, Michael Thomas was listed as a limited participant in practice on Wednesday and Thursday due to an ankle injury, according to the Saints injury report. His status bears watching heading into the weekend. Veteran cornerback Patrick Robinson did not practice for the Saints on Wednesday or Thursday with a hamstring injury. Fellow cornerback Janoris Jenkins was also limited with a knee injury. Defensive end Marcus Davenport (concussion) was a full participant in practice on Wednesday and Thursday.
For the Eagles, defensive tackle Fletcher Cox was a full participant Thursday, after missing Wednesday’s session with a neck issue. Cornerback Darius Slay was limited in practice this week due to a knee issue. Linebacker T.J. Edwards also did not practice Wednesday or Thursday because of a hamstring injury.
Will the Saints cover the spread against the Eagles in Week 14?
Saints vs. Eagles betting trends
The Saints have won nine in a row straight up, and are 7-5 against the spread. As an away favorite, they are 3-2 ATS. The Over is 7-5 in Saints' games, but is just 3-3 when NOLA is on the road.
Philadelphia has struggled against the spread this season, with a 4-8 record, including 3-3 on home turf. The Eagles haven’t played in too many thrillers, either, with the Over just 4-8 in their games this season. The Over is 2-4 in Philadelphia home games.
Score prediction: Saints 27, Eagles 13