The Linc - NFL Wild Card Weekend 2014 Preview

Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 1/3/2014.

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Let's get to the links...

Saints head coach Sean Payton kinda called Chip Kelly fat - JimmyK, Philly.com
A lot has already been made of the difference in the Saints' play on the road and at home this season. At home, the Saints were undefeated, at 8-0. Away from the Superdome, they were 3-5, and 1-5 in their last 6 games. And so, in sports, when you struggle at something, you do whatever you can to change up the routine, even if it's just to provide a little boost of energy, or to deflect the attention of that issue to a something sillier. For the Saints this week, according to ESPN, that meant changing up their Gatorade (they went to whatever flavor dark green is), their pregame meal (to beefy mac), and new travel sweatsuits. When asked about size of his personal sweatsuit, Payton basically called Chip Kelly fat. He remarked, "Mine is smaller. It's smaller than Chip's, I know that."

NFL Weekend Preview - Bill Barnwell, Grantland
In the playoffs, dome-dwelling teams playing in temperatures below 35 degrees on the road are 3-22. The last time a team like that won was in 2004, when the Vikings beat the Packers in Green Bay. That was the year Chip Kelly turned things around for his employer after years of misery and losing records. He was in his sixth year as offensive coordinator for the University of New Hampshire. 2004 was a long time ago, man.

Saints Talk - Tommy Lawlor, Iggles Blitz
The Eagles play their first playoff game since 2010 this week. The Saints come to town on Saturday night, for what should be an interesting game. They are 11-5 and a veteran team. They missed the playoffs last year, but made it the previous 3 seasons and won the Super Bowl in 2009. The Eagles have a new coach, new systems and new players. The organization missed the playoffs the previous 2 years, which is what led to all the change. The Eagles made the playoffs in 2009 and 2010, but failed to win a game. The 2013 team doesn’t have a lot of playoff experience individually and they obviously have none collectively. I’m not sure the experience factor gives the Saints much of an advantage. All in all, you’d rather have experience, but that shouldn’t be the difference in winning and losing.

A Statistic Behind Every Super Bowl Contender - NYTimes.com
The Eagles finished the regular season ranking 29th in yards allowed. Only four teams have won the Super Bowl when ranked outside the top 20 in that statistic: the 2001 Patriots (24th), the 2006 Colts (21st), the 2009 Saints (25th) and the 2011 Giants (27th). Although no team with a bottom-five defense has won the Super Bowl, two of the last four teams to win the title had defenses that ranked in the bottom eight. So, what gives? Yards allowed is not a great way to measure a defense, and the Eagles’ defense is not as bad as that statistic would indicate.

All-22: When Foles Holds On To the Ball - Sheil Kapadia, Birds 24/7
Kelly has not hesitated to criticize Foles in the past – when warranted. After the Vikings game, for example, he labeled the quarterback’s play inconsistent. So was he protecting his quarterback here, or did he really feel like the breakdowns had more to do with protections and the receivers? Based on the tape, it’s the latter. On most occasions when Foles held on to the ball, he didn’t have anywhere to go with it. For examples, let’s go to the All-22.

Eagle Eye In The Sky: Saints Preview - Fran Duffy, PE.com
Without question, this will be the toughest test the Eagles have faced since the Denver Broncos back in Week 4. On both sides of the ball, the New Orleans Saints are multiple and can attack you in a multitude of ways. Let's start the All-22 analysis with head coach Sean Payton’s offense, led by star quarterback Drew Brees. When you look at successful teams around the league over the years, some offenses can win on pure talent alone. One team's players are bigger, faster and stronger than the ones that they line up against. Other times, coaches outscheme their opponents. The opposition may be more talented, but the coaching staff finds ways to put their players in positions to succeed and win on a consistent basis.

Can Chip Kelly and Nick Foles be the next Sean Payton and Drew Brees? - Bob Brookover, Inquirer
Something pretty special happened in Philadelphia this season, too, and it's fair to wonder if it is the beginning of a long-term future between a coach (Kelly) and quarterback (Nick Foles) that could be every bit as formidable as what has taken place in New Orleans over the last eight seasons.

Wildcard Weekend Predictions - FanSpeak
I said to start the season I felt the NFC was much stronger than the AFC and I still believe it. I thought Philadelphia was going to roll Dallas last week once the news came out that Kyle Orton would start for Dallas. They won, but it was a lot closer than I imagined. But they did what they had to do and now get a home playoff game versus the once dominating Saints. Two things we know about the Saints, Brees to Graham is tough to stop and the Saints suck on the road. Letting the Panthers pass them in the division was fatal for the Saints as now they have to go outside to Philly. How much I like Brees and how much the Saints defense improved from past seasons, I just don't see them ending their road woes. Chip Kelly has done a very good job in year one as he has gotten the Eagles past their home losing woes. I hate the Eagles and it kills me to do this but…. Philadelphia 27 - New Orleans 14

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