Are The Suspect Eagles Ready For The Battle-Tested Falcons?

Posted January 13, 2018

Editor's note: NESN.com's Mike Cole, Ricky Doyle and Andre Khatchaturian deliver their National Football League picks every Thursday of the season, and here's who they like in the Atlanta Falcons-Philadelphia Eagles NFC divisional-roudn game, with the line from OddsShark. The Falcons are listed as three-point road favorites against the Carson Wentz-less Philadelphia Eagles with a 41-point total in a Saturday matchup, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. That game was dominated by the Vikings but a lot has changed for both teams.

The Vikings have changed their look since then, too, with quarterback Case Keenum taking over, but two constants are their No. 1-ranked defense and 9-2 ATS record over their last 11 games. But on the offensive side of the ball, the Falcons have a whole season of Eagles defensive data to work with. The Falcons quarterback was superb against the Los Angeles Rams in the wild-card round, completing 21 of 30 passes for 218 yards and a touchdown in a turnover-free performance. 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. They are sitting pretty! No one really knows what to expect from replacement Nick Foles. Foles and Co. can probably be pretty risky on a short field, but won't be almost as effective having to travel all the way down the field. If the Falcons offensive line can not handle their business up front, Matt may struggle. They have talent and a roster full of players who probably resent their team success being boiled down to Wentz alone. It's fast flow and they are not going to pull any punches.

Foles has never faced Quinn, but he beat the Jaguars in 2014 with the Eagles and in 2016 with the Chiefs. The beginning of the game will be huge for the Eagles. "Go play. Let's go execute the offense, '" coach Doug Pederson said. The Falcons defense is good, but it is still beatable.

"I think having this time to self-scout. you realize, 'Hey, just go out there and play.' Maybe I wasn't doing that as much those games". If that didn't happen, Philly would not have picked up Jay Ajayi, who is the modern day "beast mode".

On defense, Philadelphia has the advantage. He ran for more than 200 yards in three of those games.

Ryan continues to be quite durable as he hasn't missed a game because of an injury since the 2009 season. Philadelphia averaged 28.6 points per game and allowed 18.4.