Philadelphia Eagles (1-3) at New Orleans Saints (1-3)
Chip Kelly did everything he could to put his stamp on the Eagles this off-season, changing just about everything. They swapped quarterbacks with the Rams, trading Nick Foles for Sam Bradford. They sent running back LeSean McCoy to Buffalo for middle linebacker Kiko Alonso and added both DeMarco Murray and Ryan Matthews to replace McCoy. They got rid of veteran guards Evan Mathis and Todd Herremans, even though Mathis had a great 2014, and let Jeremy Maclin sign with the Eagles, opting to replace him with 1st round rookie Nelson Agholor. On defense, veteran linebacker Trent Cole was let go, despite a strong 2014, and the Eagles re-signed the younger Brandon Graham to be their primary rush linebacker. Plus, their top-3 cornerbacks, Cary Williams, Bradley Fletcher, and Brandon Boykin are all gone, as is safety Nate Allen. Instead, they’re secondary consists of big free agent acquisition Byron Maxwell and a bunch of spare parts and rookies.
The results really haven’t been good. A 10-6 team in both 2013 and 2014, the Eagles have started 1-3 and rank 22nd in rate of moving the chains differential. The defense has been good, ranking 7th in rate of moving the chains allowed, thanks to a strong front 7, but their secondary has been a problem, as Maxwell ranks as Pro Football Focus’ 9th worst ranked cornerback 4 games into a 6-year, 63 million dollar deal. The offense, meanwhile, has been a disaster, as they rank 29th in rate of moving the chains. Sam Bradford has been a clear downgrade from Foles and they’ve struggled to get anything going on the ground with either of their new running backs, thanks largely to poor offensive line play. On top of that, the Eagles will be missing both middle linebackers Kiko Alonso and Mychal Kendricks with injury in this one, which hurts. The Saints will be missing talented left tackle Terron Armstead for this one and I wouldn’t put any money on them, especially since they’re not a good road team and they have to host the Falcons in like 3 days on Thursday Night Football, but they rank 16th in rate of moving the chains differential and should be able to cover here as 5 point underdogs.
Philadelphia Eagles 23 New Orleans Saints 20
Pick against the spread: New Orleans +5