Brian Allee-Walsh

Doug Pederson beat Sean Payton in a golf bet, but luck is running out for the Eagles

I am of the strong belief that clothes do not make the man, which might explain why a nice pair of comfortable shorts are my dress pants of choice. But rather it is the man who makes the clothes.

I say this in reference to Sunday’s game between the streaking New Orleans Saints (8-1) and the defending but floundering Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles (4-5) in the 11th week of the NFL season.

Because of a lost golf bet by Saints coach Sean Payton this summer, Eagles coach Doug Pederson won the right to have his team wear its home green uniforms for this important NFC clash (3:25 p.m., FOX) at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Saints, who typically wear black jerseys at home but not always, instead will don their white “color-rush” jerseys.

Pederson won a second golf bet against Payton, resulting in the Saints coach forking over a $5,000 donation to the Eagles Autism Challenge charity.

Money well spent, indeed.

That said, I suspect Payton will exact his pound of flesh Sunday. The Black and Gold are solid 8-point favorites at home, largely because the Eagles are decimated on defense and Saints quarterback Drew Brees and his band of merry playmakers led by sure-handed WR Michael Thomas are wreaking havoc on the NFL.

The Saints are 7-2 against the spread this season, having won their last seven games after failing to cover against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Cleveland Browns in consecutive season-opening home games.

Look, I know some Saints fans get absolutely giddy when their football heroes wear the white “color rush’‘ uniforms. And, I’m sure Pederson is tickled green that his Eagles will be wearing their home uniforms on the road in what should be a wildly partisan environment.

But the Eagles will need more than their home uniforms to beat the Saints.

It is not the uniforms that make the players but the players inside those uniforms, and, so far, the 2018 Eagles haven’t come close to resembling the gritty Super Bowl LII champion Eagles of a year ago. In fact, they were booed at home last Sunday night after losing to the Dallas Cowboys in a crucial NFC East game.

Will the visiting Eagles suddenly turn into Gang-Green, rediscover their Super Bowl persona and find strength from being a heavy underdog as they did in 2017 under backup QB Nick Foles when starter Carson Wentz went down with a season-ending knee injury?

I don’t think so.

I know this: The Eagles are going to get New Orleans’ best shot Sunday. And, at the end of the day, they won’t get a mulligan.

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