After securing a first-round bye in the playoffs, the Philadelphia Eagles will host their first playoff game in five years when they play the Atlanta Falcons.

After losing Carson Wentz in Week 14 to a season ending ACL tear, the Eagles go into their playoff game as the first number one seed to be considered the underdog since 1970. However, let’s break down both teams to determine if that is a fair assessment, or if the Eagles are being severely under-appreciated.

QB

Like I mentioned previously, the Eagles will go into their upcoming playoff game as a 3-point underdog. The biggest reason for this, and perhaps the only reason, is they are now relying on backup quarterback Nick Foles to get them to the Super Bowl. Foles has significant starting experience, including starting his own playoff game against New Orleans in 2013. However, since Carson Wentz went down with an injury, Foles has looked less than impressive in his three regular season starts this year.

In comparison, Foles will go head-to-head with the reigning NFL MVP in Matt Ryan. Ryan’s Falcons come into the weekend as the lowest seed in the NFC, but will look to take his team to the conference championship game for a second consecutive year, despite playing outside, on the road, in some frigid weather. Throughout his career, Matt Ryan has been plagued by post-season collapses, but will this be the year he finally gets that elusive Super Bowl ring?

Advantage: Atlanta Falcons

RB

In perhaps the most even position battle, both squads use a running back by committee formula in their running game.

For the Eagles, their three-headed backfield is lead by Jay Ajayi whom they acquired in a trade with Miami earlier in the season. He is complemented by LeGarrette Blount and Corey Clement, who provide both a bruising between the tackles style and a shifty runner who can catch the ball and make people miss out in space.

For Atlanta, their backfield is comprised of Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman. Freeman is the clear-cut lead back, but Coleman will see his fair share of snaps as well. Both backs have similar skill sets, making their running attack a dynamic force that defensive coordinators will have to account for.

In the end, the Eagles running backs are just too versatile. The pure number of runners who will get to touch the ball on Saturday is a scary thought for the Falcons’ defense, and will be a challenge come this weekend.

Advantage: Philadelphia Eagles

WR/TE

The Falcons have been notorious for their high-octane offense over the past couple seasons. This is largely in part to Julio Jones, who is arguably the best wide receiver in the entire NFL. Around Julio, Matt Ryan has other weapons such as Mohammed Sanu and tight end Austin Hooper.

While the Falcons rely primarily on Julio Jones to make big plays, the Eagles have a variety of different weapons that they use to move the ball down the field. Wide Receiver’s Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor along with tight end Zach Ertz are all having career best years this season. In addition, rookie Mack Hollins has shown flashed of brilliance when given a chance to shine as well.

While it is undeniable that Julio Jones is one of the best in the game today, it is the Eagles variety of options here that give them the edge. If the Eagles secondary can find a way to lock Julio down, it should be a long day for the Falcons.

Advantage: Philadelphia Eagles

Offensive Line

Both teams pose strong offensive lines, but unfortunately for the Falcons this one is a no-brainer.

The Eagles have one of, if not the, best offensive line in football. Despite left tackle Jason Peters going down with a season ending injury, the Eagles line has not missed a beat. With 4 of 5 of their starters being named to the Pro-Bowl as either a starter or alternate, this Eagles line looks to dominate just as they have done all year.

Advantage: Philadelphia Eagles

Defense

The Atlanta defense has been a weak spot all year, but in the past couple weeks they look to have stepped up their game tremendously. Pass rushers Vic Beasley and Dontari Poe anchor a solid defensive line, but it’s their linebackers and secondary that get them into trouble. Cornerback Desmond Trufant is the unquestioned leader of the Falcons’ defensive backfield. However, the lack of help around him means they will have a tough day guarding all the explosive weapons on Philadelphia.

On the other side, the Eagles have perhaps the top defense in the entire league. Led by an incredibly strong front seven, their secondary has also been playing the best football we have seen from an Eagles backfield in recent memory. Cornerbacks Jalen Mills and Ronald Darby have had stand-out years for the Eagles and look to be up to the challenge come Saturday.

Advantage: Philadelphia Eagles

Final Analysis and Prediction

Despite coming into the weekend as the supposed “underdog”, the Philadelphia Eagles have way too much going for them to be counted out of this game. With a ferocious defense and an offense loaded with versatile weapons, it might prove to be too much for the Falcons. If Nick Foles can take care of the football, and manage the game the Eagles should be able to cruise to their first NFC Championship game in a decade.

Predicted Final Score: Falcons 17, Eagles 21

For quality up-to-date sports reporting, visit our website, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter.

Author Details
Content Creator at ArmChair Philadelphia Eagles , The Armchair All-Americans, LLC
Jason Marcus, 20, is a junior telecommunications major at Penn State, University Park. Born and raised in suburban Philadelphia, Jason spends most of his time doing what he loves: cheering on the Penn State Nittany Lion’s on Saturday’s at Beaver Stadium, watching the Eagles on Sundays or binge-watching professional wrestling or bad reality television shows during the week. He hopes to graduate from Penn State in the spring of 2019 and then go onto work in sports television production. Jason joined Arm-Chair All Americans because he wanted a professional platform to write about his favorite teams, while continuing to sharpen his skills.
×
Content Creator at ArmChair Philadelphia Eagles , The Armchair All-Americans, LLC
Jason Marcus, 20, is a junior telecommunications major at Penn State, University Park. Born and raised in suburban Philadelphia, Jason spends most of his time doing what he loves: cheering on the Penn State Nittany Lion’s on Saturday’s at Beaver Stadium, watching the Eagles on Sundays or binge-watching professional wrestling or bad reality television shows during the week. He hopes to graduate from Penn State in the spring of 2019 and then go onto work in sports television production. Jason joined Arm-Chair All Americans because he wanted a professional platform to write about his favorite teams, while continuing to sharpen his skills.

LEAVE A REPLY

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.