The 10-6 Atlanta Falcons will travel to Philadelphia to take on the 13-3 Eagles on Saturday in the NFC Divisional round with these teams taking very different paths to get here. The Eagles earned a bye last week by dominating the regular season but suffered a huge injury when MVP Candidate Carson Wentz was lost for the season in week 14. In the last 2 games of the regular season the Eagles scored 10 points combined with Nick Foles at quarterback and the Falcons are actually favorites in this game. It is the first time ever a one seed is an underdog against a six seed. For Atlanta, the last 2 weeks have been must win games and their defense shined in both victories. In the Wild Card round last week, the Falcons upset the Los Angeles Rams on the road 26-13 and gave up a combined 23 points against the Rams and Carolina Panthers in consecutive weeks.
Matt Ryan has now gone 7 weeks without throwing more than 1 touchdown. Last week against the Rams he played well finishing with a passer rating of 101. He completed 21 of 30 passes for 218 yards, 1 touchdown and 0 interceptions. His favorite target was Julio Jones who had 9 catches for 94 yards and the lone touchdown. Devonta Freeman led the team with 66 rushing yards and a touchdown on 18 carries. On the season the Falcons were ranked 13th by scoring an average of 22.3 points per game. Defensively, they recovered 2 fumbles, 3 sacks and 5 tackles for losses. For the year, They finished 8th in league by allowing 19.3 points per game and were 9th by allowing their opponents to gain 320 yards per game.
The Eagles were dominant during the season and earned their first round bye. The loss of Wentz is immeasurable and Foles struggled his last 2 games after looking good against the Giants in week 15. In the last 2 games he has thrown for just 202 yards with 1 touchdown and 2 interceptions. Luckily for the Eagles they are 3rd in the league in rush yards and their defense is one of the best in the league. They ranked first in the league in opponents rushing yards with just 79 yards. They also rank 4th by allowing their opponents to score just 18.4 points per game.
Despite the better record and home field advantage, the Eagles will be 3-point underdogs in this game. For the year, they went 10-6 against the spread including 5-3 at home. The Falcons have gone 7-9 against the spread this year including 2-6 on the road. Atlanta has the momentum with a 2 game win streak including a big upset victory last week against a very good Rams team. The Eagles have now had 2 weeks to prepare for this game and Lincoln Financial Field will be rocking. The loss of Wentz is significant but their defense has been great all season.
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