There isn’t enough time in the day to talk about how amazing the Philadelphia Eagles played throughout the 2016 – 2017 season. Philadelphia came into the year expected to fall into third place, at least, in their crowded vision — falling behind Dallas and likely Washington as well. Instead, Philly rose to the challenge and grew behind the play of their suddenly MVP-level quarterback, Carson Wentz. With Wentz at the helm, Philly was able to take the top spot in their division and coast into the playoffs — at least until Wentz went down with a messed up knee. Now, Philly is facing off against the sixth-seeded Atlanta Falcons for the divisional round and the Eagles are already being slated by Vegas as the underdog.
The first week of the NFL playoffs, known as Wildcard Weekend, certainly lived up to its name. Among the incredible games was Tennessee shocking the world by defeating Kansas City and Atlanta blowing out Los Angeles. Atlanta won back some pride and confidence and now the Falcons will be on the road to face off against the top-seeded Eagles. Only, Philly is suddenly not really the ‘top seed’ in this game anymore. Atlanta has won over the hearts of gamblers everywhere and now analysts are getting behind the red-hot Falcons in their game against Philadelphia.
Now, Philadelphia would rather have played Atlanta but that doesn’t mean that the Eagles are going to get to coast to a win here. Philadelphia comes into this game with a backup quarterback at the helm in Nick Foles and a roster of young players that haven’t gotten much experience in the postseason. Contrast Philadelphia’s exposure to the playoffs with an Atlanta team that is fresh off of a Super Bowl appearance and hungry for a chance to return and clean up their reputation.
When Atlanta and Philadelphia take the field next weekend they’ll be doing so with all attention on the play at quarterback. While Foles has, ostensibly, found success in Philly before he has never had this kind of pressure on his shoulders. For Atlanta, Matt Ryan looks loose and his connection with superstar wideout Julio Jones looks to be better than ever. Ryan and Jones will decide what happens in this game for Atlanta and Philadelphia will have to hope that they can find some way to stave off their rapidly diminishing confidence long enough to find a victory.