Falcons open as Favorites vs. Eagles
Despite being the No. 1 team in the NFC this year, the Philadelphia Eagles will be an underdog when they host the sixth-seeded Atlanta Falcons in the Divisional Round next Saturday.
According to oddsmakers from online sports book Bovada.lv, the Falcons opened as a 3-point road favorite following their win on Saturday night against the Rams. The line was quickly bet down to 2.5, however, and that's where the number currently sits. As for the total, the number hit the board at 44.5 but has been bet down slightly to 44. Early activity from public bettors is on the Falcons, who are receiving over 60% of the bets for this game.
Even though the Falcons are a six seed, observers knew this was a team capable of making a serious run. They passed their first test on Saturday night when they upset the Rams 26-13 as a 6-point road underdog. Atlanta was battle-tested coming into the playoffs, as the team had to beat the Panthers in Week 17 just to get in. They've essentially played two playoff games already and passed with flying colors, especially from a defensive standpoint.
In their last six games, the Falcons defense has given up only 16.3 points per game against the Rams, Panthers, Vikings, Saints (twice) and the Buccaneers. Five of those matchups were against playoff opponents. In fact, the Rams had the No. 1 scoring offense in the league this season and Atlanta held L.A. to only 13 points, including a single field goal in the second half. It was an impressive performance from a young, fast defense that is coming into its own under head coach Dan Quinn and new defensive coordinator Marquand Manuel.
On the other side, the reason the Eagles find themselves underdogs despite being the No. 1 seed is because of their quarterback situation. Carson Wentz was lost for the year back in early December when he tore his knee in a win over the Rams. Nick Foles was entered into the starting lineup and made key throws to help Philly hold onto the win in L.A. The next week, Foles completed 24-of-38 passes for 237 yards with four touchdowns and no picks in a win over the Giants.
Then trouble came.
On Christmas night, Foles completed just 19-of-38 passes for 163 yards with one touchdown and one interception as the Eagles rallied to beat the Raiders, 19-10. Foles was terrible, showing zero mobility and sailing passes high and wide to open receivers. If he plays like that again, there's no question a now-hot Atlanta team could punch its ticket back into the NFC Championship Game.