Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints must jump yet another hurdle to end their road wearies.
An unforgiving snow storm reportedly dumped between 2-3 million pounds of snow onto Lincoln Financial Field ahead of Saturday night’s NFC wild card matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles.
According to The Express-Times, the Eagles announced as many as 600 workers will remove the snow before kick-off. As if the field won’t be frozen enough for the Saints, the local weather forecast calls for temperatures to fall to as low as 19 degrees.
With Brees under center, New Orleans went 3-5 on the road, and he threw nine of his 12 interceptions in opposing stadiums. In nine career postseason starts the former MVP has also lost all three of his road match-ups.
Favored after winning seven of their final eight games to capture the NFC East, Philadelphia will likely be bothered by the cold as well, but have their home crowd to warm them up.
The Eagles also hold the luxury of the NFL’s leading rusher in running back LeSean McCoy. The fifth-year back totaled a career-best 1,607 yards and nine touchdowns, and added another 52 receptions for 539 yards receiving.
Quarterback Nick Foles joins McCoy in the backfield as the NFL’s highest rated passer, and an alum of Westlake High School in Texas just like Brees. Now in his second year and making his first postseason start, Foles completed 64 percent of his passes for 2,891 yards and 27 touchdowns to five interceptions, and helped receiver DeSean Jackson total his first 1,000 yard season in three years.
Brees will miss his top running back in Pierre Thomas, who was ruled out due to a back injury. While the Saints attack is mainly built around Brees arm and tight end Jimmy Graham, Thomas was a veritable threat as a pass-catching back gaining 549 rushing yards and a career-high 77 receptions for 513 yards and five total touchdowns.
The Saints do have several of options to rely on at running back, including Darren Sproles and Mark Ingram, along with rookie Khiry Robinson.
New Orleans outside linebacker Keyunta Dawson is listed as questionable after failing to participate in practice all week. But safety Rafael Bush gradually worked his way back throughout the week and is listed as probable for the Saints second-ranked pass defense.
The Eagles will miss center Julian Vandervelde (back) for the second straight week. Safety Earl Wolff (knee) is questionable, limiting the Eagles 32nd-ranked secondary.
Betting Odds: Philadelphia favored by 3
Over/Under: 54 points
Time: Saturday, 8:10 p.m. ET
TV Channel: NBC
Live Online Info: SNF All Access here
Prediction: Philadelphia 34, New Orleans 33
Currently covering NBA, NFL, MLB, along with Real Madrid and Barcelona, focusing on trades, controversy, and injury updates. Joined IB Times in August 2012.