Falcons To Defeat Eagles On The Road

Ryan was solid last week

We’re down to the final eight in the NFL as the Divisional Round of the post-season begins this week. The elite teams of the league re-enter the fray, beginning with the Philadelphia Eagles as they host the Atlanta Falcons at Lincoln Financial Field.

Atlanta produced an excellent performance on the road last week to defeat the Los Angeles Rams. The Falcons were able to stymie the Rams’ potent offense, limiting the running prowess of Todd Gurley. Jared Goff also had a tough outing in his playoff debut, with Los Angeles only managing to put 13 points on the board at the Coliseum.

Matt Ryan was impressive as he made enough throws to win the contest. He connected with Julio Jones nine times for 94 yards along with a touchdown. Devonta Freeman was active on the ground also notching a score to take the game away from the Ram. Dan Quinn’s men were on form on both sides of the ball, which is an encouraging sign for another challenge on the road.

The Eagles were dominant in the regular season with Carson Wentz at quarterback. However, his season-ending injury changed the landscape in the NFC playoff picture. Backup Nick Foles is not the same calibre of player and could leave the number one seed exposed to a one-and-down exit.

Philadelphia have talent in their running game and on their defense. Whether it will be enough to see them past the Falcons and into the NFC Championship game is another matter. Doug Pederson and defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz are going to need an excellent plan to stop Ryan and company.

We’ll now break down both teams and look at the latest betting odds for the contest.

Philadelphia Eagles

The pressure is on Foles

The Eagles’ were on course for a dream season as they were surging towards the number one seed with an MVP-calibre quarterback pulling the strings. However, Wentz’s torn ACL sustained against the Rams has left them exposed, despite clinching top spot in the NFC Conference.

Foles did have a solid campaign under the tenure of Chip Kelly in the 2013 season, throwing 27 touchdowns to two interceptions. The 28-year-old was solid against the New York Giants in his side’s victory on the road, although he did have a poor outing in a narrow win over the Oakland Raiders. He did nothing to dispel any notion of potential struggle in the playoffs in limited action against the Dallas Cowboys.

As a result, it’s anyone’s guess what the Eagles are going to get out of the quarterback position. Life will be made tougher by a defense on the rise – therefore Pederson will have to have a solid plan in place to ease the pressure on Foles. LeGarrette Blount and Jay Ajayi may be able to ease the burden – both players had success on the ground. The two running backs are big men, with Blount approaching the 250lb-mark, and there will be not a lot of willing tacklers should they get to the second level. That could be an underrated aspect of the contest, with both players capable of racking up the yards.

The Eagles’ defense has been impressive and a lot will rest on how they handle Ryan. Their pass-rush is capable of creating havoc in the backfield, with their plethora of defensive lineman. The secondary will have to step up to limit Jones in the passing game. Should Philadelphia win the line of scrimmage it will go a long way into edging the game in their favour.

Atlanta Falcons

Ryan was solid last week

The Falcons’ playoff mettle was on full display last week against the Rams. Atlanta used their experience of last season to great advantage, putting a potent offense to the sword. Quinn’s men limited Gurley in the running game and put the contest into the hands of Goff. Los Angeles’ quarterback was unable to cope with their defense or the occasion, allowing the road team to advance.

Fate has thrown the Falcons into a favourable situation facing Foles rather than Wentz and another potent offense. Quinn’s men could be on the path to redemption by reaching the NFC Championship game for the second year on the bounce. The way the Falcons are playing on both sides of the ball is making that a real possibility. They’re not the explosive offense of the 2016 campaign, with Ryan firing on all cylinders. Their defense is not a shutdown force, but both units are playing complementary football, which has seen them defeat two good teams in their last two matches.

Ryan was not spectacular last week, completing 21 of his 30 passes for 218 yards. The one touchdown throw he made was outstanding, throwing to Jones in the endzone even though he slipped on the turf in the process. The 32-year-old is getting just enough out of the offense to guide his side over the line. He is making the Falcons a dangerous prospect down the stretch.

Atlanta were able to control the line of scrimmage at the Coliseum. Grady Jarrett, Vic Beasley and Takkarist McKinley were able to provide pressure, while Deion Jones and Keanu Neal were tackling machines in the open field. If this unit plays another quality game – it might deliver another road victory for the Falcons.

Betting Options

The Falcons were impressive on the road and had the steel needed to string victories together in the post-season. Due to their experience last season, Quinn’s men appear to have the savy needed to handle the occasion of the playoffs. The Eagles have only competed once in the post-season in the past six years, which ended in a home defeat to the New Orleans Saints in the Wildcard Round. Foles was the quarterback on that occasion and he could be heading for another early exit.

Back the Falcons for the victory at odds of -147   with BetOnline, but take the Eagles on the +3 spread at -110   with Betway as Atlanta are not so good they’re a guaranteed to ease through. Expect the Eagles to struggle to put points on the board with Foles at quarterback. Take the under on 19 points with BetVictor at -111 . Mohamed Sanu scored five touchdowns in the regular season. If the Eagles focus on Jones then it might leave an opening for the other wideout. At +200   with BetVictor he’d good value to find the endzone anytime.

Tips Summary

Atlanta Falcons To Beat Philadelphia Eagles
Saturday 13th January 2018 16:35 ET (21:35 GMT)
Odds: -147

Take +3 Philadelphia Eagles
Saturday 13th January 2018 16:35 ET (21:35 GMT)
Odds: -110

Philadelphia Eagles To Score Under 19 Points
Saturday 13th January 2018 16:35 ET (21:35 GMT)
Odds: -111

Mohamed Sanu To Score Touchdown Anytime
Saturday 13th January 2018 16:35 ET (21:35 GMT)
Odds: +200