New Orleans Saints

Eagles host Saints in matchup of one win teams

NEW ORLEANS

The New Orleans Saints and Philadelphia Eagles are both 1-3.

Both are 0-2 against their respective divisional brethren.

Essentially, both NFC teams have grossly underachieved through the first quarter of the regular season, leaving their playoff aspirations on life support.

And yet these teams seems to be going in opposite directions on the eve of their Sunday afternoon showdown at Lincoln Financial Field in downtown Philly.

The Saints appear to be trending upward, the Eagles are spiraling downward.

At least that's the perception based on reports and accompanying vibrations emanating from both camps this week, those feelings based largely on the outcome of their Week 4 games.

The Saints backed into the win column with a dramatic walk-off win 13 seconds into overtime against Dallas on national TV while the Eagles yielded a cross-country TD drive in a last-second loss at Washington.

Thus, the news trickling out of the City of Brotherly Love is not good. Here's a sampling of the gloom and doom:

n Coach/GM Chip Kelly is no longer a genius, never was apparently, though he posted 10 wins in each of his first two seasons and made the postseason once after leaving the University of Oregon.

nThat matters little now that's he's 1-3. He's losing his locker room. His college coaching style and uptempo offense doesn't work in the NFL nor endear him to the paid professionals who play the game for a living.

nAfter four games, he's failing miserably in his dual role as GM and coach. Since he already was preparing the meal, he fought for the right to buy the the groceries as well. Now Kelly runs the kitchen and he's serving up goulash after wheeling and dealing to acquire QB Sam Bradford, RB DeMarco Murray, RB Ryan Matthews, LB Kiko Alonso and CB Byron Maxwell in the offseason.

nOne week, Kelly says it's "not my scheme that's failing, it's the execution of the scheme,'' essentially blaming his players.'' In three games, Murray has 14 less touches per game than he did a year ago in Dallas. Bradford is running for his life. The defense can't get off the field. Too many three-and-outs on offense. The revamped offensive line is in a state of flux.

"This thing is a powder keg in Philadelphia; this could blow up,'' NFL Network analyst Brian Billick said.

In fact, Kelly already is being mentioned prominently as a potential replacement at USC and Texas.

All this and the Eagles are a 4-to-5 point favorite in most betting houses.

Go figure.

By comparison, the Saints appear to be a picture of stability after having righted their listing ship with a stirring win at home engineered by quarterback Drew Brees, who claims his bruised right throwing shoulder has sufficiently healed and he no longer requires being listed on the team's injury report.

Oh, the Saints are not problem free.

They are no real threat to run the ball. They have no true No. 1 receiver. They have trouble protecting Brees (FYI: Looks like injured LT Terron Armstead is out and top draft pick Andrus Peat (23 NFL snaps to his credit) is in against the Eagles). The defense can't sack the quarterback and gives up way too many yards.

Oh yeah, the kicker nearly cost them the game against the Cowboys and their punter likely is out of Sunday's game with a bad quad.

On second thought, these two 1-3 teams deserve one another.

May the "best'' team win, figuratively speaking, of course.

Brian Allee-Walsh, a longtime Saints reporter based in New Orleans, can be reached at sports@sunherald.com.

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