PHILADELPHIA -- They played at the same high school, put up remarkably similar numbers while starting at quarterback for two seasons and took their teams to the state championship game.

Now the Philadelphia Eagles' Nick Foles and New Orleans Saints' Drew Brees will face off against each other in the NFC playoffs Saturday night at Lincoln Financial Field.

"I was always watching him from afar, from the same area; from the same high school," said Foles, 24, in his second NFL season. "He's a great player -- one of the best ever to play the game at the position. So he's a guy I've watched and learned from. He's done a lot of great things throughout his career, on and off the field."

"I'm sincerely happy for his success because obviously we're from the same high school and I kind of know the road he's traveled," said Brees, 34, a 13-year pro. "I don't know him that well, but everything I've heard about him is he's a tremendous young man and you can see just by the way he plays he's mature beyond his years. It's been fun to watch his success. I know we're not playing against each other, but it's kind of interesting how it's all come together."

Brees set passing records at Westlake High School in Austin, Texas, from 1995-96, winning the Texas 5A state championship as a senior. Foles was the the starter in 2005-06, breaking Brees' records, but falling short in the state championship game.

Yet the two have met just once, last season when the Eagles lost 28-13 to the Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in a game Foles didn't play. Brees traveled to Westlake for a 10-year reunion of the state championship team in 2006, when Foles was a senior, but was in and out quickly on what was an NFL game weekend.

While Foles surpassed Brees' Westlake records for passing yards (5,658) and touchdowns (56), he has a long way to go to get near the eight-time Pro Bowl selection's NFL numbers.

Brees ranks in the top five in career accuracy (65.3 percent), yardage (51,081) and touchdowns (363). Since joining the Saints as a free agent in 2006, he leads the NFL in passing yards (38,733), TD passes (283), completions, attempts and completion percentage. He has 72 games of 300 yards passing and 10 of at least 400, which also lead the league over that span.

Asked what is the greatest challenge in facing the Saints and Brees, Eagles coach Chip Kelly said: "The challenge is Drew Brees. He's just so talented and has such a great command of what they're doing."

"You've got five guys in a progression, he can go from one to five like that," said Kelly, snapping his fingers. " He understands coverage and he understands how you're playing them; very, very difficult to fool. It's a lot like the matchup when you're playing Peyton Manning. They are so skilled in their offense and what they're doing, you've got to present a lot of different looks to him and he's got a lot of weapons to throw to. I think that's going to be a huge challenge for us."

Foles will also present a challenge for the Saints. Although he began the season as Michael Vick's backup, Foles led the Eagles to a 7-1 finish that carried them to the NFC East title and was the league's top-rated QB with one of the most statistically impressive seasons in NFL history.

Foles' 119.9 passer rating was the third-highest in league history - Brees' best season was 110.6 two years ago - and his 27:2 TD passes-to-interception ratio was the best in history.

"It's extremely impressive," said Brees. "Those are pretty unprecedented numbers, especially for a guy who's in his first year as a starter."

"When you watch Nick play, I don't know that you feel like you're looking at someone who has not had the snaps or is limited with the amount of plays that he's had," said Saints coach Sean Payton. "He's very poised, very comfortable with what he's doing. He knows where his outlets are. He knows where he's beaten blitz. I think his transformation this year has been amazing."