The New Orleans Saints (10-2) travel to the City of Brotherly Love, fresh from earning a playoff berth to battle the Philadelphia Eagles (3-8-1) in Week 14 of the 2020 NFL regular season. The Eagles are coming off a loss to the Green Bay Packers and will trot out a rookie quarterback against the Saints as they continue to push for the NFC East Crown. For the Saints, a win over the Eagles would clinch their fourth consecutive NFC South title and keep them in the driver's seat for a first-round bye.
Here are three things to watch for this weekend in Philadelphia.
Jalen Hurts Will Make His 1st NFL Start vs. Saints' Top Ranked Defense
Following a sub-par season from former first-round pick Carson Wentz, the Eagles elected to change starting quarterbacks before their Week 14 matchup with the Saints. Earlier this week, head coach Doug Pederson announced rookie QB Jalen Hurts would make his first NFL start against New Orleans this Sunday.
Hurts played in relief of Wentz this past Sunday against the Packers, completing 5 of 12 passes for 109 yards and his first NFL passing touchdown. The reigning Big 12 Newcomer of the Year is accustomed to the spotlight from his time competing in two Power 5 college football conferences, multiple college football playoffs, and an FBS Championship game. However, Sunday will be an enormous task battling the number two ranked total defense in the NFL.
New Orleans has feasted on opposing offenses this season, and with a near 100% healthy defensive line, the feast should continue against a group who has surrendered more sacks than any team in the NFL this season. Pro Football Focus ranks the Saints defense 2nd in the NFL in generating pressure on quarterbacks at a rate of 41.4% in 2020.
The Potential Final Start at QB for Taysom Hill in 2020
Last Sunday, Taysom Hill became the first New Orleans Saints QB to win his first 3 NFL career starts after defeating the Atlanta Falcons 21-16. The Swiss Army Knife has made quite the impression on the Saints coaching staff, bolstering the confidence internally that he is the eventual heir apparent to Drew Brees' job, per Jeff Duncan.
While the “Taysom Hill Experience” in 2020 has been a fun ride, it appears to be coming to an end as Drew Brees aims to return to the field in Week 15 against the Kansas City Chiefs. If that is the case, Sunday in Philadelphia could be Taysom Hill's final start at QB in 2020 and his final audition for the keys to kingdom in the coming years.
New Orleans Can Make NFC South History
The Saints made team history following their victory in Atlanta, clinching a playoff berth for the fourth consecutive season. However, the Black and Gold can now take things a step further and become the first team in the NFC South's history to win the division four straight seasons.
New Orleans can clinch the division title with one of three different results this weekend.
- NO win over PHI
- TB loss to MIN
- NO tie and TB tie
Since the division was founded in 2002, only two teams have ever won back-to-back NFC South division titles; both won three in a row (Carolina Panthers 2013-2015 and New Orleans Saints 2017-Present). The Panthers run was halted by the Atlanta Falcons in 2016, who went on to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl.
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