The Philadelphia Eagles are not exactly getting the respect the number one seed in the NFL playoffs usually gets. And it is all because they lost starting quarterback Carson Wentz last month.
Wentz tore his anterior cruciate ligament on December 10 and has been out since, and the Eagles offense has struggled with Nick Foles at the helm.
Because of that, the Atlanta Falcons are slight favourites to beat the Eagles in the NFC divisional round on Saturday.
The Falcons (11-6) are the first sixth-seeded team to be favoured over a top seed since the NFL expanded the playoffs to 12 sides in 1990.
HOW WILL FOLES FARE?
He was not very good in Philadelphia's final two games. The Eagles (13-3) failed to score in a 6-0 loss to the Dallas Cowboys to close the season as Foles was just four of 11 for 39 yards with an interception in the defeat. That was after he went 19 of 38 for 163 yards with a touchdown and interception in an ugly 19-10 win over the Oakland Raiders in week 16.
Foles, who has thrown for 537 yards with five touchdowns and two interceptions this season, will have to be at his best against an opportunistic Falcons defense that forced a pair of turnovers in last weekend’s 26-13 wildcard win over the Los Angeles Rams.
CAN AJAYI REPLICATE HIS EARLIER SUCCESS?
A mid-season acquisition by the Eagles, the former Miami Dolphins running back lit up the Falcons on October 15. He ran for 130 yards on 26 carries in a 20-17 Dolphins victory in Atlanta.
The Eagles can help take some of the pressure off Foles with a heavy dose of Jay Ajayi. While the third-year back was with the Dolphins, Miami went 7-0 whenever he had 24 or more carries. He ran for more than 200 yards in three of those games.
WILL THE EAGLES BE ABLE TO STOP ATLANTA'S OFFENSE?
The Eagles had the NFL's fourth-ranked defense and the league’s top rush defense. The Falcons have not run the ball with nearly the efficiency they did last year on their way to the Super Bowl, but Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman remain a formidable tandem.
The bigger concern, though, is the outside with receivers Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu. When teams game plan to stop Jones, Sanu has a knack for having huge games. In the five games in which Sanu scored this season, Jones was kept out of end zone.
While the Eagles defensive backs will have to contain Sanu and Jones, they cannot let someone else — like receivers Taylor Gabriel or Justin Hardy or tight end Austin Hooper (those three have combined for seven touchdowns this season) — beat them.
20 de junio 2018
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|Serbia v Switzerland: Kolarov not interested in playing for a draw|
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|Uruguay 1 Saudi Arabia 0: Centurion Suarez strikes to send La Celeste, Russia through|
|Peru boss Gareca not a fan of ´novelty´ VAR|
|Nigeria v Iceland: Hallgrimsson anticipates another intense battle|
|Griezmann to face Peru despite ankle issue and struggles – Deschamps|
|Leicester sign Norwich´s Maddison|
|Leinster face Wasps, Bath, Toulouse in Champions Cup draw|
|2019 Ashes to start World Test Championship|
|Wizards to face Knicks in London next season|
|Vettel eyeing Paul Ricard profits - French GP in numbers|
|Malaga turn to Muniz once again|
|Amrabat: VAR doesn´t work if you do not use it|
|Suarez earns 100th Uruguay cap|
|You´ve got to look beyond football - Denmark chip in to fly new father Knudsen home|
|Neymar returns to Brazil training after injury scare|
|No passports required - Burnley´s 51-year wait for European tie sees Clarets draw... Aberdeen|
|Huddersfield bring in Bacuna to boost midfield|
|Forget the GOAT and the goatee - just enjoy Ronaldo and Messi|
|Ronaldo bearing down on Daei after going past Puskas - The top five goalscorers in international foo|
|Portugal 1 Morocco 0: Record-breaker Ronaldo sends Renard´s men out|
|Halep pulls out of Eastbourne International|
|Brazil v Costa Rica: Coutinho ready for more Selecao toil|
|Muller and Bierhoff dismiss reports of German disharmony|
|Mooy can play at a higher level, says Socceroos boss Van Marwijk|
|Remarkable Ronaldo breaks Puskas´ European record|
|Belgian Grand Prix deal agreed until 2021|
|Isco: I´m not going to speak to Ronaldo again!|
|Slater expects to be fit for Origin II|
|Curran and Overton added to England ODI squad|
|Hussey fears Australia will be left with ´mental scars´|
|Fabianski swaps Swansea for West Ham|
|Loftus-Cheek ready to replace Alli|
|England are a team now - Rashford|
|Lazaridis calls for Cahill to start against Denmark|
|Arzani and Ryan can play at the highest level, says Bosnich|
|Dust (Ja)pan and brush: Blue Samurai fans clean up in Saransk|
|Lodge reaches agreement over New York attack|
|Gerrard can become a strong manager - Arena|
|Arsenal target Torreira has left for €30m, says Sampdoria chief|
|Murray unsure over Wimbledon participation|
|De Gea has to bounce back from Ronaldo shocker - Bosnich|
|Martinez not looking for perfection|
|Farah´s Wests Tigers return confirmed|
|Cubs get extra-inning win to split doubleheader with Dodgers|
|Denmark will ´struggle´ if Australia stop Eriksen, says Jakobsen|
|Astros´ win streak ends at 12|
|Lahm backs Germany, Low after losing start|
|Messi has all our support – Dybala|
|Strickland apologises for ´stupid decision´ that led to broken hand|
|Five-time Open Championship winner Thomson dies aged 88|
|´Positive´ Pogba not bitter towards media, says Varane|
|Portugal privileged to have ´humble´ Ronaldo, says Pepe|
|Strickland breaks hand punching door after blown save, out for up to eight weeks|
|He will have received good money – Costa delighted by Griezmann extension|
|Kane: Pochettino sent me love hearts after World Cup heroics|
|Nationals place Adams on 10-day DL with broken finger|
|Dybala: I can play alongside Messi|
|Lewandowski: Poland didn´t take enough risks|
|England´s Kane aiming to reach Ronaldo, Messi levels with World Cup performances|
19 de junio 2018
|Kicker given three-year match-fixing ban|
|England confirm Alli thigh injury|
|Federer through, Zverev out in Halle|
|Back on the map and earning letters from ladies, Tabarez embraces Uruguay´s heritage|
|Rampant England rout Australia in record-breaking display|
|Pulisic in right place at Dortmund, says Arena|