The Philadelphia Eagles (13-3) are the first No. 1 seed to open the playoffs as an underdog, mainly because Foles is the starting quarterback instead of Carson Wentz. At times, Foles was ugly, too.
But let's look at the reasons why the Eagles can win this game. Their best bet is to hold the Falcons under 20 points all game and to set Philadelphia's offense up with good field position as much as possible. The Eagles defense stood stall at the goal line for a huge season-saving stand with just over a minute left that finally allowed this city to breathe again. The key for the Eagles is to make sure that their third-down plays are third and five or less because the Falcons have had trouble in some games getting off the field on third down. Top-seeded Philadelphia is an underdog (2.5 points as of Friday) to sixth-seeded Atlanta, the first time a No. 6 seed has ever been favored over a No. 1, according to ESPN Stats & Info.
As unsafe as the Falcons, last year's NFC Champions, can be, they have also been inconsistent throughout the season.
The Eagles are flying for another week. And that's OK. Foles doesn't have to be Wentz to win in the playoffs thanks to Howie Roseman and the rest of the Eagles staff building a championship caliber team around him.
In order for the Eagles to advance to the NFC championship game, their offense has to wake up, and put some serious points on the board.
But there's also a need for Wentz to be at least partly in the background so Foles can command center stage.
Can the Eagles beat Atlanta?
"Their defense is a very distinct style of defense that a handful of teams play in this league", offensive coordinator Frank Reich said. The Eagles would settle for anything better than what Foles had been to this point.
If we look to the regular season for examples, twice the Eagles surpassed 200 yards rushing - in Week 4 versus the Chargers (214 yards) and Week 11 against the Cowboys.
The total has gone over in six of the Titans' last seven games on the road against the Patriots. Just go be Nick. So close to a Super Bowl victory previous year, the devastating loss appears to have had a carryover effect for Atlanta, as they've underachieved all season. It turns out, though, that Foles is better at throwing the football than the Falcons' secondary is at catching the football.
While Philly was smarting this week with the Eagles getting points at home as the first underdog No. 1 seed to open the playoffs in National Football League history, the Falcons have been on a year-long mission to avenge blowing that 25-point lead in the Super Bowl to the Patriots. The real shocker in Minnesota has been the play of its backup quarterback, Case Keenum, and the success of the Vikings offence after losing two opening-day starters in Sam Bradford and rookie running back Dalvin Cook. He tied a season high with 15 carries, gaining 54 yards, and broke loose for a 32-yard gain on a screen pass - sprung by a pair of blocks from guard Stefen Wisniewski - on the fourth-quarter scoring drive.
The Eagles led virtually the entire game and took a 13-0 lead deep into the fourth quarter. The field goal was the longest in Eagles postseason history as well as record for any rookie in the playoffs. QB Matt Ryan: Including playoffs, 21 TD passes, 12 INT in 17 games in '17 (38 TD passes, 7 INT in 16 reg. season games in '16)...
Nick Foles and Jake Elliott, if you are reading this, you might want to ask the team to kick toward the south end zone in the second half.
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