The New Orleans Saints (10-2) travel to Philadelphia to battle the Eagles (3-8-1) in a Week 14 matchup at Lincoln Financial Field. The Saints look to extend their winning streak to 10 games and clinch a fourth consecutive NFC South division title along the way. Below are three X-Factors that could prove to be the difference for the Black and Gold this week.
OFFENSIVE X-FACTOR: RB ALVIN KAMARA
There have been many concerns from fans regarding the play of Alvin Kamara since Taysom Hill took over at quarterback, seeing a dip in numbers in each of the first two weeks. Once again, Kamara proved that he is the Saints' most valuable offensive weapon by racking up 97 scrimmage yards and 1 score.
Along with nearly a 100-yard outing, Kamara played 62% of the Saints' offensive snaps, which broke a two-game skid of playing less than half of the team's offensive snaps. The Saints are continuing to build momentum moving towards the playoffs. Drew Brees will return from rib injuries in the coming weeks. It will be imperative that Alvin Kamara continues playing stellar football, particularly this week against the NFL's 25th ranked rush defense.
The weather in the north-east in December is always a question mark, and though there is not rain/snow in the forecast for Sunday, Philly can be a tricky place for a quarterback to play. For Taysom Hill, leaning on the rushing attack will be huge in what feels like a potential trap game. The Saints will go as far as Kamara will carry them, and this week he will be tested by the Eagles.
DEFENSIVE X-FACTOR: DE CAMERON JORDAN
The Saints defense has been ballin' since November. They have surrendered just two touchdowns in the last five games. However, this week a rookie quarterback making his first NFL start awaits the Saints defense. Jalen Hurts, a mobile quarterback, has the challenging task of battling one of the league's top defenses this week, but his legs and improvisation could be his saving grace against the Saints' ferocious front seven.
Philadelphia's offensive line has been one of the worst in football, allowing more sacks than any o-line in the league. That same offensive line must protect rookie Jalen Hurts as he battles a Saints defense that ranks in the top-five for QB sacks in the NFL.
Making Hurts uncomfortable early is vital, and no one better to disrupt a young quarterback than All-Pro defensive end Cameron Jordan. His ability to not only get to Hurts but also contain him inside the pocket throughout Sunday's action could make a long day even longer for the Eagles offense.
WILD CARD X-FACTOR: QB TAYSOM HILL
With a victory last week against Atlanta, Taysom Hill became the first New Orleans Saints quarterback to win each of his first three NFL starts. In Week 14, Hill could see his final start at QB in 2020 with Drew Brees looking to return from his rib/lung injury as soon as next week.
Over the previous three weeks, New Orleans' offense has consistently out possessed opponents. The trend needs to continue on Sunday. Look for Taysom to manage and control the game with his legs as he helps the Saints improve to 11-2.
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