NFL 2018 Season - Week 16
 

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Past and Future
by Dennis Ranahan

While the East Coast got heavy snowfall earlier this week, today the six outdoor venues for the National Football League games will have perfect football weather. It will be cold in Chicago, where the Bears host the Minnesota Vikings in a game that will decided first place in the NFC North Division. Temperatures at Soldier Field will dip into the 30’s, and the New York Giants game at home against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will also have cold conditions with a forecast of 42 degrees.

Today, under the dome in the Big Easy, we may have a contest that involves last season’s Super Bowl winner and this year’s champion when the New Orleans Saints host the Philadelphia Eagles.

The Eagles won their franchise’s first Super Bowl to complete the 2017 season and they did it as no other team had, winning three postseason games as underdogs while seeded number one in their conference. The Eagles winning it all was accomplished by backup quarterback Nick Foles, who replaced the injured Carson Wentz in December after he had led the Eagles to the best record in the league only to have his campaign cut short by a season ending injury on December 10th.

The Eagles did not win another point spread decision during their final three regular season games with Foles running their offense, but the backup did have just enough to complete the season with the Eagles holding the top seed for the National Football Conference playoffs. Then, he downed the Atlanta Falcons and Minnesota Vikings at home in the playoffs while Philadelphia was a point spread underdog, as they were in Super Bowl LII when they upset the New England Patriots.

This year, Wentz’s return to the Eagles starting lineup was delayed while he still rehabbed his injured knee and Foles led the team to a season opening home win over the Atlanta Falcons and a second week loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Wentz returned in the third week, winning his first start over the Indianapolis Colts, but suffering losses in four of his next six starts including a setback last Sunday night against NFC East Division rival Dallas.

The Eagles open action today two games back of the Washington Redskins and are in desperate need of a win to restore their postseason hopes and an opportunity to defend their Super Bowl title.

In their path are the Saints, who lost on opening day but have strung together eight straight wins since that opening week loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. New Orleans now owns a two game bulge in the NFC South Division standings over the Carolina Panthers. The Saints are also in the catbird seat to secure home field advantage in the NFC playoffs based on their straight-up win over the Los Angeles Rams.

While my numbers suggest the Eagles have a legitimate shot at upsetting the Saints at the Mercedes Benz Super Dome, particularly with the more than a touchdown point spread, the public sees no problem in taking the Saints and laying the points.

The Saints (-7½) over the Eagles is the public’s third favorite play of the day. The two most bet teams by the wagering public are the Pittsburgh Steelers (-4½) over the Jacksonville Jaguars and Carolina Panthers (-4½) over the Detroit Lions.

As for our money rated plays for Sunday those selections are now posted on this site, and if a Bullet Play develops in the final hour leading up to the day’s first kickoff, that game will be added to the list of recommendations at 9:45 a.m. Pacific Time.