NFC Divisional Round Preview: Atlanta Falcons vs. Philadelphia Eagles


The Atlanta Falcons' season has been a roller-coaster ride, enjoying the highs of two separate three-game win streaks and the low of a three-game losing streak, which included a loss to the non-playoff Miami Dolphins. But Atlanta's defense is flying all over the place right now; Takkarist McKinley is adding a layer and Deion Jones is a total freak, he has no business really being a linebacker.

"If we were getting ready to play a running back that was 1,500 yards, 12 touchdowns. we wouldn't have gotten one question about Julio Jones", Schwartz said. On December 8 the Eagles were 10-2.

2009 - Falcons lose to Eagles, 34-7, at Georgia Dome. But because the defense was able to keep him out of the end zone while simultaneously holding Atlanta to just 48 yards rushing, the Birds were able to have their way with Falcons. Instead, the Falcons went 3-for-4 in field goals.

The Falcons allowed more than 23 points in a game just once over the final eight games, and that included two matchups with the Saints and one with the Vikings. The Falcons do have a very good secondary that should be able to keep the Philadelphia passing game in check with Wentz out.

Trusting that their defense will eventually come through for them, running from spread formations and knocking Ryan around are the keys to beating the Falcons.

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2005 Postseason - The Eagles defeated the Falcons, 27-10, in the 2004 NFC Divisional Playoff game at Lincoln Financial Field.

Certainly, there are other factors at play, but with the importance that quarterbacks carry, the Falcons likely should be favored in this game.

Such ball control will certainly help the Falcons beat the Eagles in Philadelphia.

The Eagles, who won the NFC East with a 13-3 record, lost starting quarterback Carson Wentz to a season-ending knee injury in early December. In temperatures between 21 and 40, Ryan has career statistics of a 54.8% completion rate, averaging 263.5 yards per game with five touchdowns and one interception. It's easy to understand given that Carson Wentz won't be playing and Nick Foles will. Foles is as streaky as it comes for a backup quarterback, and it's totally possible he goes off for three touchdowns and doesn't turn the ball over. As opposed to a yards-per-attempt metric, NEP shows the expected points added on each play, illustrating the huge difference between a three-yard completion on 3rd and 2 and that same completion on 3rd and 4. But with how well the Falcons tackled against the Rams, they'll need to do a lot more than that. Eagles players visited Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. The Eagles' No. 1-ranked rush defense needs to stuff the ground game and make Atlanta predictable. Foles knows he needs to be better to compete in the playoffs but he isn't lacking confidence, stating, in a post-game transcript provided by the team, "we also know what we're capable of and how talented we can be because of how we play together".