Falcons looking to reach second straight NFC Championship Game

Sunday, 14 Jan, 2018

The top-seeded Philadelphia Eagles will compete in their first playoff game in four years when they host the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC divisional round Saturday at Lincoln Financial Field.

The Eagles (13-3) secured a first-round bye and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. "Everybody is entitled to their own opinion but at the same time this team, the coaching staff, we know the kind of work we put in day in and day out". "No. 1 seed team with an opportunity to go get a Super Bowl". That said, I'm still leaning toward the Eagles here. Philly's best special teams punt returner, Darren Sproles, was placed on IR early this season. Drew Brees has the edge over Case Keenum at quarterback, but Minnesota has the NFL's No. 1 scoring defense (15.8 ppg), No. 2 pass defense and No. 2 rush defense. The Falcons have the fifth-best opponent sack percentage and the Eagles don't really get to the quarterback (22nd in sack percentage). They were also 2 for 4 against the Rams last week. This means an bad lot of pressure will be on the O-line to open up holes for the two-headed Running Back monster.

"This defense is much improved over the course of the season", Pederson said. They didn't necessarily want their offense and defense to meet in the middle. He'll play, but may not be almost as imposing as a result.

The bigger concern, though, is the outside with receivers Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu. Not that they were firing on all cylinders to begin with.

Ricky: Eagles. I love the matchup inside for the Eagles, with defensive tackles Fletcher Cox and Timmy Jernigan going up against a Falcons offensive line that lost starting guard Andy Levitre before last week's game against the Los Angeles Rams.

Despite Jones going to the sidelines to take plays off quite often, Dan Quinn said that he isn't anywhere near as hurt as he has been in the past, and that he knows how to mentally and physically prepare himself week after week to make sure injuries don't hold him back.

As anybody who's ever traveled can tell you, it takes a toll. Now the Eagles' best shot at a Super Bowl in over a decade rests in the hands of Foles, the 28-year-old journeyman who is a serviceable and adequate backup but doesn't provide anything close to the dynamic playmaking of Wentz. They have now forced at least one turnover in six straight away games after failing to force a single one in their previous three.

Foles completed 47 of 87 passes for 439 yards (with five touchdowns and two interceptions) in his three games, barely playing in the third. While the performance of the offense was concerning in the last two contests against the Raiders and Cowboys - particularly the play of quarterback Nick Foles - they were also being treated as glorified preseason games.

In this December 25, 2017, file photo, Philadelphia Eagles' Jay Ajayi reacts after scoring a touchdown during the first half of an NFL football game against the Oakland Raiders, in Philadelphia.