Much has been made about the Philadelphia Eagles’ historic underdog status as a one seed against a six seed. The majority of “experts” across media and social media networks are siding with the Falcons not just to win but in many cases cover the -3 line set for the Atlanta Falcons. For every Eagles fan who wants to keep faith in their team, I can’t objectively say any of those people picking the Falcons are wrong. Unless there’s something drastically different Nick Foles and the Eagles have been hiding at the end of the season as a way to surprise opponents in the playoffs, I think most people picked the right bird.
Those trying to find optimism in the upcoming Eagles playoff picture point to the remarkable 27 and two season. That 27 TD to two INT season put up by Foles is an outlier to the overall Nick Foles career. The 119.2 passer rating looks like a misprint next to the five seasons in which he played in seven games or more where his average passer rating didn’t go above 81.4. It’s furthermore convenient to forget that the consequence of playing in an offensive style that Foles benefited from so greatly was crushing to the defense and had them on the field more than two games worth of snaps more than other teams. Turning every game into a shootout worked for stats, but that’s about where the benefits ended.
Others wanting more optimism are looking at week 15 against the Giants where Foles threw four touchdowns to no interceptions with very few miscues. It’s convenient to forget that the Giants were one of the worst teams in the league this year. Yes, Foles was very impressive, and the offense looked like it didn’t miss a beat with the loss of Carson Wentz. Unfortunately, the season had more games left in which the offense looked like that of a team ready to pick number one in the draft rather than be number one in the playoff rankings. That Giants team finished 28th or worse in rushing yards allowed, passing yards allowed, total yards allowed, and points allowed.
On the other side of the ball, the Falcons have legitimate wins against legitimate teams: Green Bay with Rodgers, Dallas by 20 points, at Seattle, New Orleans, and Carolina. Most big wins came at home, but there’s evidence of producing against the league’s top talents. The Eagles’ two signature wins were at Carolina and at the Rams, two games anchored by the play of Carson Wentz.
Raw objectivity says the line put on this game is accurate and moreover that it will come to fruition. For as much optimism as the players and home media want to shroud it with, I tend to agree with Vegas.