By Danny Cox
The New Orleans Saints finished the 2013 season with an 8-0 record at home and some astronomical numbers for both the offense and the defense. Unfortunately, they won’t be playing their Wild Card playoff game at home as it will be in the chilly confines of Philadelphia against the Eagles.
The Saints are 3-5 on the road this season and three of those losses came in cold weather cities. In fact, the Saints have never won a road playoff game. Doesn’t make for that good of an outlook for the Who Dat Nation, does it?
Well, in order for the Saints to get the road monkey off of their back and stay alive in the playoffs, they need to not even think about how bad they have been on the road this season or any years before it. There are some really positive things that the Saints can focus on as they travel to Philadelphia, and those things should make them smile.
Drew Brees had his third consecutive season of passing for more than 5,000 yards, and it was his fourth overall. No other quarterback even has two 5,000 yard seasons.
It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise either because Brees has some incredible weapons that he can use against other teams and they go by the names of Jimmy Graham, Marques Colston, Lance Moore, Robert Meachem, Pierre Thomas, Kenny Stills, Ben Watson, and the list could go on and on.
Now, the real smile should be placed on the faces of the Saints when they realize that the Eagles are awful in defending the pass. Actually, they have the last-ranked pass defense in the NFL, and Brees should already be picking his spots.
The black and gold merely have to learn how to deal with the cold, and not let it affect them.
Another thing the Saints have to do is be able to utilize Thomas, Mark Ingram, and Khiry Robinson in the running game. If the Saints get a big lead, they are going to want to run that clock out and not rely on passing the ball more. That holds especially true with a weather forecast that is predicting wind and snow.
The Eagles also have a very good offense that is led by Nick Foles and a top-ranked running game orchestrated by LeSean McCoy.
Saints defensive coordinator Rob Ryan will need to call up the blitz packages to fluster Foles while also making sure that the defense never loses sight of McCoy.
New Orleans will have to win three road games in order to get to the Super Bowl this year. That’s a feat that took the Saints all year to accomplish, but the potential is there. If the team can somehow channel the energy of the Superdome while on the road, the away game woes will be a thing of the past.
For more Saints news and updates, visit Saints Central.
Danny Cox knows a little something about the NFL, whether it means letting you know what penalty will come from the flag just thrown on the field or quickly spouting off who the Chicago Bears drafted in the first round of the 1987 draft (Jim Harbaugh). He plans on bringing you the best news, previews, recaps, and anything else that may come along with the exciting world of the National Football League. Danny is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on Examiner.com.