NFL PLAYOFF PREVIEW: NEW ORLEANS SAINTS NFC SOUTH (11-5) AT PHILADELPHIA EAGLESÃ¢??NFC
December 31, 2013INDIANA SPORTS PAGE
TEAMS MEET for 3rd time in postseason (1992 WC: PHI 36-20; 2006 Div: NO 27-24). Clubs split previous 2 playoff meetings. PHI leads all-time series, including postseason, 16-12.
SAINTS: Are in playoffs for 5th time under head coach SEAN PAYTON. Club has won 4 of past 6 postseason games, incl. win in SB XLIV…Saints had 5 players selected to Pro Bowl: QB DREW BREES (8th), G JAHRI EVANS (5th), TE JIMMY GRAHAM (2nd), G BEN GRUBBS (2nd) & DE CAMERON JORDAN (1st)…Team ranked 2nd in NFL in pass offense (307.4) & pass defense (194.1) & ranked 4th in NFL in total offense (399.4) & total defense (305.7)…QB Brees was 2nd in NFL in pass yards (5,162), TDs (39), comp. (446) & comp. pct. (68.6). Had 104.7 passer rating, his 4th season with 100+ rating. Brees has 3 consecutive 5,000-yard seasons & 4 overall. There have only been 8 such seasons in NFL history & Brees is only player with multiple 5,000-yard performances. In postseason career, has 104.2 rating, 2nd-best mark in NFL history. His 67.0 comp. pct. in postseason is highest mark ever. Brees has 3 consecutive 300-yard games in playoffs & needs 1 to tie record (4) set by HOFer DAN FOUTS. Brees has 1.02 INT pct. (4 INTs, 391 att.) in playoffs, best mark in NFL history…RB DARREN SPROLES has 7 TDs (4 rush, 3 rec.) in 8 career playoff games. Since 2011 (incl. playoffs), leads NFL RBs with 251 catches, 2,133 rec. yards & 17 rec. TDs. RB PIERRE THOMAS has 4 TDs (2 rush, 2 rec.) in 5 career playoff games. Recorded 1st season with 500+ rush (549) & rec. (513) yards…TE Graham had 86 catches for 1,215 yards & 16 TDs. Is 1st TE in NFL history with 1,200+ yards & 10+ TDs in 2 different seasons. Graham’s 16 TDs are 2nd most by TE in season. Had 6 100-yard games, tied for most ever in season by TE. Since 2011 (incl. playoffs), leads NFL TEs with 282 catches, 3,665 yards & 39 TDs. WR MARQUES COLSTON has 45 catches & 628 yards in postseason, both team records. Had 75 catches for 943 yards, his 7th season with 70+ catches & 900+ yards. Has 3 TDs in past 2 vs. Phi. Rookie WR KENNY STILLS led NFL with 20.0 avg. (32 catches for 641 yards)…DE Jordan (12.5) & LB JUNIOR GALETTE (12) each set career-highs in sacks. 1st Saints teammates with 12+ sacks each since 2000. Jordan ranked 5th in NFL in sacks & Galette was 6th. LB CURTIS LOFTON led team with 125 tackles & LB DAVID HAWTHORNE was 2nd on club with 89 tackles. CB KEENAN LEWIS led team with career-best 4 INTs & was 2nd on club with 11 PD. Since entering NFL in 2006, S ROMAN HARPER leads NFL DBs with 18.5 sacks (incl. playoffs).
EAGLES: Have 10 playoff appearances since 2000, incl. 7 division titles…CHIP KELLY is 1st rookie head coach in franchise history to win division title in 1st year…Eagles have won 7 of past 8, incl. 4 in row at home. Team set franchise records for points scored (442), total net yards (6,676) & touchdowns (53). Eagles led NFL in rush offense (160.4) & ranked 2nd in total offense (417.3). Club had 4,110 pass & 2,566 rush yards & joined 1998 SF as only teams with 4,000+ pass & 2,500+ rush yards in season…Eagles had 2 players selected to Pro Bowl: RB LE SEAN MC COY (2nd) & T JASON PETERS (6th)…Team is 1st in NFL history to have QB with 100+ passer rating (QB NICK FOLES, 119.2), 1,600-yard rusher (RB McCoy, 1,607) & 1,300-yard receiver (WR DE SEAN JACKSON, 1,332)…QB Foles led NFL in rating (119.2), avg. gain (9.12) & TD pct. (8.5). Had 27 TDs & 2 INTs, best TD/INT ratio in NFL history. Foles’ 119.2 rating was 3rd best mark in season in NFL history. In 4th Q, Foles had 127.8 rating, highest in NFL this season…RB McCoy led NFL with 1,607 rush yards & 2,126 scrimmage yards, both franchise records. Is 1st Eagle to lead NFL in both categories in same season since HOFer STEVE VAN BUREN in 1948. McCoy is 1st Eagle to win rushing title since Van Buren in 1949. McCoy led NFL with 79 rush 1st downs & was 2nd with 102 overall 1st downs…WR Jackson had career-high 82 catches & 1,332 yards. His 1,332 yards are 2nd most in team history & his 82 catches are most by Eagle WR since 1997 (IRVING FRYAR, 86). WR RILEY COOPER had career-high 47 catches, 835 yards & 8 TDs. Averaged 17.8 yards per catch, 3rd best mark in NFL. TE BRENT CELEK has 3 postseason TDs, tied for most by Eagles TE…LB DE MECO RYANS led team with 127 tackles. LB MYCHAL KENDRICKS had 4 sacks & 3 INTs, 3rd Eagle to accomplish feat in season & 1st since 1996 (WILLIAM THOMAS). Kendricks led NFL with 4 defensive FR. Team tied for 2nd in NFC with 31 turnovers & +12 turnover differential. LB TRENT COLE led team with 8 sacks. Has 80.5 career sacks, incl. postseason. Cole & HOFer REGGIE WHITE are only Eagles with 80+ career sacks with team. LB CONNOR BARWIN was 2nd on team with 5 sacks. CB BRANDON BOYKIN tied for 2nd in NFL with career-best 6 INTs. CB CARY WILLIAMS had 2 INTs in last year’s postseason & won SB with Bal. CB BRADLEY FLETCHER was 2nd on club with career-high 15 PD.