Sunday: Jaguars vs. Steelers at 1:05 p.m. (alson on CBS) and Saints vs. Vikings at 4:40 p.m.
The Falcons have been in playoff mode for almost a month now, having to win three of their last four regular season games to make the postseason and putting on a defensive effort against the LA Rams on Wildcard weekend to get a chance to face the number one seed. Well, if he were playing against the Falcons, one oddsmaker speculated, the Eagles would be 6.5 point favorites.
Luckily, they're going up against Nick Foles, who I can't see having much success. Even if Philadelphia keys in on running the ball this weekend, more stellar play from the Atlanta rush defence could mean Foles will have to win the game through the air, something the Falcons will likely be banking on.
In the last meeting of the two teams in the playoffs, it was cold (17 degrees at kickoff) and there was a bunch a snow for the NFC Championship Game in 2005.
"This is a definite line-of-scrimmage kind of game", Falcons head coach Dan Quinn said.
"This is not the way we think", he said. Just go be Nick. But the Falcon offense may have been over-valued somewhat in that Rams game.
Cox is the highest-paid player on the Eagles. If the Atlanta defense starts to cheat up, watch out for pass catchers such as Alshon Jeffery, Zach Ertz, and Nelson Agholor to take advantage of single coverage. The Eagles were 6-2 at Lincoln Financial Field in 2016, losing only to Green Bay and Washington, and this season the Eagles were 7-0 in South Philadelphia before falling to Dallas in the regular-season finale that had no bearing on the playoff seeding.
LeGarrette Blount rushed for 766 yards and two touchdowns in 173 attempts while Jay Ajayi added 408 yards and a touchdown in 408 carries.
Because of their defense, their running game and the chip on their shoulder, I'm going with the Eagles. Their players really swarm to the ball.
"I really do feel like he's fresh, and that is one of the advantages of what we've done and really managing that situation for him in whatever things he has going on physically", Eagles offensive coordinator Frank Reich said. The Falcons are a different, one might say more battled-tested team this time around. He's aggressive in his mindset, as aggressive a guy as I've been around. "Many teams don't get to this point, so you can't look back and reflect on the past too much because this team matters now". "It's a quality defense, but that's what we expect this time of year". The Eagles (at home) are still better than the Falcons, and the Vikings are better than the Eagles.
Veteran backup Matt Schaub took Ryan's place in practice on Tuesday. He was able to guide the Falcons back to the postseason once again.
Defensive end Chris Long said it would be foolish for the team to use this as motivation. They generated just four takeaways during the first seven games of the season but have forced 14 turnovers in the 10 games since. He's trying to keep things simple heading into this playoff matchup.
Foles was bad against Oakland in that second win, and his body of work over the past few seasons is uneven, to say the least. Since there are no more college football games to compete with, the NFL has some of the playoff games on Saturday.