Falcons at Eagles Prediction
Atlanta Falcons at Philadelphia Eagles (ATL -3)
Crazy that a 6 seeded Falcon team is favored over the number 1 seed Eagles in Philadelphia. But I'm not surprised. The Falcons were my Superbowl favorite at the beginning of the year and for good reason. They have tremendous talent on offense and have a defense that seems to improve every year despite the narrative that they are a average or bad defense. Now throughout the season and even now i'm not confident about my Superbowl pick. Their offense has underachieved, biggest reason was their talented Offensive coordinator left. And on defense they have just been inconsistent.
The Falcons Defense ranks 22nd overall according to footballoutsiders.com. 19th against the pass and 20th against the run. This is well below average. Despite those stats, the defense played lights out last week against the number 1 scoring offense in the Rams. Their defense held the Rams to just 13 points and made them look like they weren't ready for the big stage. Now statistically they played terrible against the run. I mean it was a dumpster fire. They allowed RB Todd Gurley to run for 7.2 yards per carry. That is huge. As far as their passing defense, they played pretty well. They held Rams QB Jared Goff to a completion percentage of 53% and ultimately and QBR of 38.5.
The Falcons defense will have an easier task against the Eagles in this one. Rushing the ball, the Eagles rank 17th. and their passing attack is average with QB Nick Foles under center. If the Eagles had Carson Wentz, this game would be Eagles all the way but with Foles, their comes a huge drop off in how good this team actually is without their Pro Bowl QB. The Question is, which Nick Foles is going to show up? The one that had over a 63% completion percentage and 4 TD's vs the Giants. Or will it be the one who threw for 50% and had only 1 touchdown and 1 interception against the Raiders. I know the Falcons Defense has been inconsistent this year and the way they defended the rush last game with terrible. But the Eagles dont have a Todd Gurley. and Nick Foles shouldn't be a problem. The Eagles do however have a better o-line than the Rams but to me between the Falcons D and the Eagles Offense, I believe this battle is a stalemate.
Now whats most impressive about this Falcons team is no doubt their offense. They have very good weapons all over. Last years MVP QB Matt Ryan, Pro Bowl Julio Jones who is one of the best wide recievers in the game and the Falcons have a duo of running backs in which are very good. The Falcons Offense has the weapons...but with the loss of their Offensive coordinator last offseason, this offense isn't the same, they have been widely inconsistent and when they face a tough defense, they tend to lose almost every time. Their Passing attack ranks 10th this season and their rushing attack ranks 16th. If the Falcons play to their talent, they should have a real shot of winning this game.
As far as the Eagles Defense, they have impressed this year. Their defense ranks 5th overall including 8th in defending the pass and 3rd in stopping the run. This Defense is exactly what the Doctor ordered for the Falcons. Like I said, the Falcons have the talent but with their inconsistencies i'm just not sold on them.
Everyone is picking the Falcons in this one because no one gives Foles a shot. Remember this game is in Philly and these Fans haven't seen an Eagles team this good since the years of Donavan Mcnabb. These fans will be going crazy. Its going to be cold and outdoors. The Falcons are a dome team so I expect this to be a factor. But again its Matt Ryan and a good Falcons Offense Versus Nick Foles and an average to below average offense with Foles. Like last week, the Falcons had an advantage that ultimately could be argued was one of the most important factors as to why the Falcons beat the Rams. EXPERIENCE. This Eagle team may not be as young as the Rams but they are almost just as inexperienced. In my opinion, this game will be very very close, and to me the game hinders on Philly QB Nick Foles.
Prediction: Falcons 20 - Eagles 19