It’s been over a month since Eagles’ QB and then MVP front runner Carson Wentz went down with a torn ACL. The injury took him out for the season, and drastically changed the landscape of the NFL. At the time, the Eagles were 11-2, and favorites to win the NFC. Since Wentz went down, the Eagles have struggled to go 2-1 against the Giants, Raiders, and Cowboys. With Nick Foles under center, expectations for the Eagles plummeted. Heading into the Divisional Round of the NFL playoffs, the Eagles are the first one seed to ever be underdogs playing against the sixth seed. Vegas favors the Atlanta Falcons by three points, and it seems like no one believes in the Eagles.
Despite the unprecedented nature of the number one seed being underdogs against the sixth seed, the Eagles still have some things working in their favor. The Eagles went 7-1 at home this season, tied for the best home record in the NFL this season. Eagles fans are legendarily crazy, there’s no doubt that they will be wild for this game. The Eagles outscored their opponents at home by a whopping 150 points this season. The Eagles are definitely comfortable at home, and some may be writing off their home field advantage.
The weather on Saturday also seems to favor the Eagles. Around kickoff, it is projected that the temperature will be around 32 degrees. For a team that is a dome team and doesn’t play outside in the cold often, that could impact the Falcons.
But aside from the weather and home field advantage, the Eagles have one more huge advantage over the Falcons: their defense. The Eagles defense has been good all season, they’re fourth best in terms of points allowed, fourth in yards allowed, sixth in offensive plays against, and fourth in takeaways. This defense should not be underestimated. The defensive line is especially good, led by the mighty Fletcher Cox.
The Falcons have a lot of offensive weapons, but they finished 15th in the NFL in points per game. Julio Jones is one of the best receivers in the league, but he only has one touchdown catch on the road all year. Matt Ryan is the reigning MVP, but he hasn’t lived up to that award this season.
Saturday is going to be a tough game for the Eagles to win. Nick Foles and the rest of the offense is going to have to move the ball some, and Foles hasn’t exactly inspired confidence with his play so far. That said, the Eagles still have a fierce defense, and the home field advantage could make a big difference. The Eagles are the first one seed to ever be underdogs against the sixth seed, but don’t write them off yet.