After snatching up the NFC East with three weeks left to play, the Philadelphia Eagles are fresh off a first-round bye and will host the Atlanta Falcons and their experienced offense on Saturday at 4:35 p.m. ET on NBC (live streams at NBCS ports.com, Yahoo! Sports, and Fubo TV). Falcons vs. Eagles: Updated Odds, Stat Predictions for 2018 NFC Divisional Game Eagles need good QB showing vs. Falcons in NFC Divisional Round game
A No. 6 seed has never been favored over a No. 1 seed in the divisional round of the NFL playoffs, per ESPN Stats & Info. But that could mean less to the Atlanta Falcons, who are favored by 2.5 points over the home-team Philadelphia Eagles in their divisional showdown on Saturday. It’s amazing what a difference a quarterback makes. The Eagles lost starter Carson Wentz in December to a torn ACL, and though they went 2-1 to finish out the season, bettors and fans alike are clearly worried that Nick Foles won’t be able to carry the torch.
In fact, according to Westgate Superbook oddsmaker Ed Salmons (h/t ESPN’s David Purdom), the Eagles likely could have opened as 6.5-point favorites over the Falcons with Wentz under center. Now the Eagles will have to take on an Atlanta team that shut down the Los Angeles Rams 26-13 in the opening weekend of the playoffs. Let’s take a look at all the information you need to know to tune in to this NFC clash, as well as make some stat predictions for each team’s biggest weapons.
No. 6. Atlanta Falcons (-2.5) at No. 1 Philadelphia Eagles
Date: Saturday, January 13
Time: 4:35 p.m. ET
TV: (NBC, NBC Sports Live)
Falcons Stat Predictions
Matt Ryan: 250 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT
Julio Jones: 104 yards, 1 TD
Devonta Freeman: 70 yards, 1 TD
Tevin Coleman: 40 yards, 1 TD
The Falcons averaged 249.4 passing yards and 22.1 points per game, and they’ll likely beat both of those marks against the Eagles. Sure, it’s not their defense that the Eagles need to worry about. Philadelphia has been impressive on that side of the ball, allowing just 306.5 total yards per game and 18.4 points. But the Falcons enter this matchup confident both from their win over the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC Wild Card Round and from the knowledge that they’re favored despite traveling to Lincoln Financial Field.
Atlanta has both Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman back in the lineup and healthy and can wear the Eagles down on the ground before Matt Ryan and Julio Jones take to the air. Jones disappointed when it came to finding the end zone in 2017, scoring just three touchdowns. But expect him to come up big when his team needs it most and help lead the Falcons over the Eagles to advance to the NFC Championship Game.
The team is coming off a big Wild Card Round win over the up-and-coming Los Angeles Rams — who couldn’t come up with their first playoff win since the 2004 season. The Falcons’ defense was able to limit Rams quarterback Jared Goff to 259 yards passing and just one touchdown. By creating turnovers and limiting their own on offense, the Falcons were able to control the clock and finish the day with a 26-13 win.The winner of this NFC Divisional Round game will face the winner of Sunday’s Saints-Vikings game in the NFC Championship.
Time: 4:35 p.m. ET
Location: Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, Pa.
Streaming: NBC Sports | Yahoo! Sports | FuboTV
Odds: The Falcons are 2.5-point favorites.
There is some uncertainty whether first-year Falcons offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian will be back with the team in 2018.
Eagles head coach Doug Pederson has been having his players with Super Bowl rings (like, Malcolm Jenkins, Chris Long, and Torrey Smith) talk to the team this week.The Falcons appear to be playing their best football of the season at the right time.Only one player sat out of practice earlier in the week for Philadelphia, linebacker Dannell Ellerbe. Ryan’s experience in a number of different schemes has allowed him to develop into a versatile weapon for the Falcons.
What we’re seeing now from Ryan is a QB who is comfortable doing everything. He’s fine taking a back seat to the running game if the situation calls for it. When needed, he can throw the ball up and down the field and carry the team with his arm. Ryan can also show off his mobility, executing play-action fakes and buying extra time on bootlegs and rollouts.