Atlanta Falcons: 3 Key players to beating Eagles in Divisional Round

Ross Houston
January 13, 2018

A berth in the NFC championship game is at stake when Ryan leads the Atlanta Falcons (11-6) against the Philadelphia Eagles (13-3) in a divisional playoff Saturday.

With Wentz out, Nick Foles will be in the driver's seat for the Eagles, and he's managed to put up 537 yards with five TDs and two picks in limited action this year.

The disrespect is real, and the Birds have had enough of it.

"I'm used to it now", Ryan said about returning home.

Despite their denials to the contrary, the Birds are motivated by the apparent disrespect. They ran for over 200 yards with Ryan Mathews and Wendell Smallwood shouldering the load while the defense intercepted Matt Ryan once and held Atlanta to 48 yards rushing. "Our mindset is we all we got".

MULTIPLE BACKS: Both teams have options in the backfield. Philly's best special teams punt returner, Darren Sproles, was placed on IR early this season. Let's go be Nick.

The idea of being an underdog is being taken as disrespect by some of the players while others embrace the role. "[My message] to the team is the same thing: We have a great opportunity".

Except, after he went out and played very well and threw four TD passes against a brutal New York Giants team, he's been something of an unmitigated disgrace ever since.

It's not like the former Arizona star doesn't have playoff experience. He completed well under half his passes (23-of-49) for just 199 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. Atlanta have won three of their last four games against the Eagles, however. "Maybe I wasn't doing that as much those games". It's as simple as that. Of course things are never that simple in this league.

Now the time is coming to find out who the real contenders and pretenders are. This alone could give the Eagles an advantage. Ajayi is the type of back who can own a game if given carry volume. Ryan Mathews was the offensive star for the Eagles with 109 yards rushing and two touchdowns, but he's out of the National Football League now.

"It takes time for quarterbacks to get into a rhythm", said right tackle Lane Johnson. Atlanta's defense is the better of the two in this game, which is why I will lay the points on the road. Do you know what everybody says? They were able to run the ball really well and played excellent defense. That's not going to change.

Reason for fear: Ben Roethlisberger said he doesn't think this will be his final game at Heinz Field, but Jacksonville could be the team that makes him stop flirting with retirement and seriously consider it.

Quarterback Nick Foles #9 (R) of the Philadelphia Eagles warms up as injured quarterback Carson Wentz #11 (L) looks on before the game against the Dallas Cowboys at Lincoln Financial Field on December 31, 2017 in Philadelphia.

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