Sunday will see rookie quarterback Jalen Hurts make his anticipated NFL debut, and it will come against the hardest of teams, The New Orleans Saints. Sunday's opponents are looking to win their tenth straight game having started the season 1-2, and have the NFL's best-ranked defense. It will be no mean feat for Hurts, and he will be the fourth different Eagles quarterback to start against the Saints over the last four games. The only man to defeat them since 2007 was Sam Bradford. This Sunday will also see one of the unlikeliest quarterback matchups of the season as Hurts takes on Taysom Hill.
The Season so Far:
New Orleans had a difficult start to the season facing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Green Bay Packers in their opening three games. They began the season 1-2, and their only win was against the pre-season hype team in the Bucs on the opening weekend. After that they gave up 71 points across the two defeats against the Las Vegas Raiders and Green Bay Packers; it raised concern. Notoriously, New Orleans was viewed as one of the more dominant teams on defense in the NFL, and with Drew Brees struggling to air out the ball, the doubters were starting to look correct.
However, that did not last very long. Since that embarrassing two-game stretch, the Saints are on a nine-game win streak and for the most part, have looked untouchable. They defeated the Detroit Lions, LA Chargers, Carolina Panthers and Chicago Bears in one-score games, before having their statement win of the season against the Bucs. They forced Tom Brady to have one of the worst days of his career with zero touchdowns and three interceptions as they put a marker down on the rest of the NFC.
The week after that victory Brees suffered 11 broken ribs following the win over the San Francisco 49ers, and it meant it was time for Hill to stamp his mark on the NFL and showcase his abilities. He has gone 3-0 in those three starts, including playing in the weirdest game of the COVID-19 NFL season. With the Denver Broncos being forced to play without a quarterback in their 31-3 win. He will be hoping to keep Sean Payton's record with backup quarterbacks over the last two years perfect against the Eagles.
Their Biggest Threat- The Defense
The Saints defense ranks first in the NFL, and since the games against the Raiders and Packers they have not given up 30+ points. They conceded 29 points to the Lions, but that is as close as a team has gotten to breaking the 30-point mark. They then held the Buccaneers to three points, and have conceded less than 20 points in their last five games. They have incredibly only conceded two touchdowns since their overtime victory over the Bears. Their defense seems unstoppable.
They have given up the least yards in the NFL this season as they have only given up 3466 yards. That is less than 300 yards of offense per game. For a team that has struggled on offense all season, Sunday will be far from a cakewalk.
The Saints defense has talent all over the field and is flanked by star defensive end, Cam Jordan. He will look to cause havoc all night, and with Lane Johnson out, Jack Driscoll is going to have a difficult time trying to contain him. It may stop Doug Pederson from rolling Hurts out to the right-hand side when getting the rookie quarterback on the move. However, on the other side, Trey Hendrickson is no mug. He will line up against Jordan Mailata and leads the Saints in sacks with 10.5 as well as quarterback hits with 19. Rolling Hurts outside of the pocket is going to be a tough task, and ensuring he has time in the pocket will be even more difficult. They have Demario Davis leading the linebacker core, and a secondary with Marshon Lattimore, Janoris Jenkins. There is one other man that the Eagles should be afraid of on Sunday, and that is Malcolm Jenkins. After comments on how he felt disrespected after not being re-signed, expect him to look for revenge.