The Eagles were the last team standing in the NFC last year, but their chances of making it back to the playoffs took a serious shot on Sunday from the team that’s looking like it might just be the favorite to be the conference’s No. 1 team this time around.
The Saints jumped out to a 17-0 lead in the first half and kept pouring it on the rest of the way for a 48-7 win. That’s nine wins in a row for New Orleans and they’ve now scored 144 points over the last three weeks to set a franchise record for a span of that length.
All of the usual suspects starred for the Saints offense on the way to 547 total yards and rookie Tre'Quan Smith continued to show that he fits into that cast of characters. Smith caught 10 passes for 157 yards and one of the four touchdowns that Drew Brees threw over the course of the afternoon. Brees now has 25 touchdowns and one interception on what may be shaping up to be as special a season as he’s had in his brilliant career.
Atlanta will be the next team to try their hand at stopping the Saints and they could have linebacker Deion Jones back in the lineup as they try to pull it off. Chances are that won’t be enough, but perhaps a short week — they play Thanksgiving night –will help Matt Ryan, Julio Jones and company find success against a defense that’s allowed just 14 points during meaningful portions of the last two games.
The Eagles aren’t officially dead at 4-6 and Washington losing a game (and Alex Smith) on Sunday leaves them within two games of the division lead. They looked like a dead team for much of Sunday’s loss, however.
The offense did nothing in the first quarter once again and it’s getting a bit late in the year to continue thinking that they are suddenly going to put it altogether. Doug Pederson may have been trying to buck that prediction by keeping Carson Wentz and the other starters in until the end, but, like everything else for the Eagles on Sunday, it didn’t work.
They’ll face the Giants next Sunday and a loss will leave them with the same record as a team that started 1-7 this year, which pretty well illustrates how much things have gone off track in Philadelphia.