The Philadelphia Eagles
are all set to make NFL history this coming Saturday, although not in a particularly good way. As things stand in the world of the bookmakers, the Eagles will be the first No. 1 seed team to go into their first playoff game as the underdogs.
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Ever since the NFL began basing their home-field advantage estimates on a team's regular-season stats in 1975, no team has found itself in the Eagles' unique position. Eagles' odds for the game on Saturday currently see them as 2.5 point underdogs.
Why so little faith?
The Eagles' uncomfortable position becomes a whole lot clearer once you take a look back at what they've been going through in the past weeks. In Week 14 of their regular season, the Philadelphia Eagles
suffered a heavy blow when their star, MVP nominee quarterback Carson Wentz, was laid down by a season-ending tear to his ACL. The quarterback's knee injury will place him in crutches and off the field for the foreseeable future, and his replacement in the starting line-up, Nick Foles, hasn't been quite up to the task of summoning the Eagles' thunder.
Wentz had been instrumental in revitalizing an Eagles side that had been stumbling quite a bit in the past, and his absence in the closing games of the regular season only served to underline the size of his role in the team.
The Eagles will be taking to the field to face off against a No. 6 seeded Atlanta Falcons side that swept past the No. 3 seeded Los Angeles Rams
in their 26-13 game last Saturday. The Eagles and the Falcons have a bit of history going back to their meeting in November 2016, a game in which the Eagles manage to rise above the Falcons to win the game 24-15.
The game saw the Eagles tally 208 yards, their season's best. While their go-to ball-carriers will be different this time around (Ryan Matthews is no longer with the team), the Eagles' offensive line looks to be pretty much the same with Stefen Wisniewski, Brandon Brooks, and Jason Kelce all set to take up their places come Saturday.
Will the Eagles be able to pull off a win once again? That's the question on everyone's mind.
The Weather Factor
The Eagles won't be expecting any favors when it comes to the weather on Saturday, either. The hosts of the divisional playoff game have played their last three games in almost winter-like conditions. Their Week 15 game against the New York Giants
saw temperatures drop to 35 degrees. Their Christmas day game against the Oakland Raiders
was even chillier at 29 degrees. New Year's eve saw things get even more brutal with the thermometers reading a frigid 19 degrees. The Eagles went 2-1 in these games, and they will be facing an Atlanta side that hasn't had to play in weather below 40 degrees for the whole season.
With that in mind, Saturday's forecast of around 50 degrees with a chance of showers seems to tilt the scales just that little bit extra towards the Falcons' side. We can only wait and see if the Eagles will be able to rise to the occasion against the odds.