Respect is earned not given! This was the message that Eagles players held onto all week leading up to last night’s NFC Divisional Playoff matchup against the red hot Atlanta Falcons. The #1 seed Philadelphia Eagles were underdogs against the #6 seeded Atlanta Falcons…..at home! That was about as disrespectful as disrespect could possibly get. Yes, the Birds are without starting QB Carson Wentz, who likely would’ve been MVP this year if not for a late season injury, but, as big of a factor that Carson Wentz was in the Eagles 13-3 record and number seed in the NFL playoffs, he didn’t do it alone. Now, because Wentz is out, the Birds are suddenly underdogs against a number 6 seed who barely snuck into the playoffs? Yeah, that was disrespectful, that was very disrespectful!
Before we get into anything else, let’s be clear about this: THE EAGLES DID NOT PLAY A GREAT GAME. Just our luck, we were 5 points better than the Falcons…..on that day. I believe that the Eagles would’ve lost that game last night against any other NFC team still left in the playoffs. (Saints, Vikings) But, the Birds were good enough to beat the Falcons last night. Especially the defense. Julio Jones had 9 receptions for 101 yards, and Tevin Coleman had 79 rushing yards on 10 carries, but the Eagles still held the Falcons high-powered offense to just 10 points. Looking at the game, and seeing the stats, are two different things. Because a lot of the night Tevin Coleman and Julio Jones seemed unstoppable. The Falcons seemed to move the ball up and down the field at will. The fact that they only came out of this game with just 10 points is amazing, and a major credit to the defense, especially the d-line.
The Eagles offense was not actually as terrible as it looked at times. Nick Foles was an efficient 23/30 for 246 passing yards, and more importantly 0 interceptions. Foles connected with 8 different receivers in the game. RB Jay Ajayi rushed for 54 yards on 15 carries. The stats looked pretty good on paper, but the game didn’t look that way a lot of the time. Foles looked very shaky early on, but in the 2nd half he seemed to settle down and find a little groove. Foles was actually not really that terrible, although I think we would be having a very different conversation if Matt Ryan had completed that final pass in the end zone to Julio Jones. But, he didn’t, and the Eagles pulled out a scrappy 15-10 win at Lincoln Financial Field in South Philly.
Lats night showed how important having the number one seed in the playoffs really is. The fans down at the Linc were out of their minds. The noise bothered the Falcons offense many times over the course of the game. The Eagles will have that home field advantage once again next week when they play the winner of the Saints/Vikings matchup. Yesterday’s game against the Falcons was an ugly affair. But as crazy as this may sound, an ugly game seems to work in favor of the Eagles at this point. If yesterday’s game had gone the way Atlanta had hoped it would (wide open and high scoring), the Eagles wouldn’t have had a chance. Before yesterday’s game, saying that the Eagles could possibly make it to the Super Bowl with Nick Foles at QB probably sounded stupid. This morning, being just one win away from that wild dream becoming a reality doesn’t seem so crazy anymore. In an ugly game, at Lincoln Financial Field in South Philly, the Eagles can actually pull out a win against the Saints or the Vikings. Call me crazy, but I really believe this. I predict an all PA Super Bowl this year! STEELERS VS EAGLES