At one point of time, the 2017 Philadelphia Eagles
had a reputation for being as intimidating as their record. It now seems, however, that that isn't the case.
(11-6) at Philadelphia Eagles
Saturday, January 13, 4:30 p.m. ET
Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia PA
Looking at things from a general perspective, the Eagles have maintained a decent season under Doug Pederson. At first glance, the Eagles won't seem very bad in shape with 13 wins - more than what any team scored in any other year (except 2004, when they went to the Super Bowl) and found themselves Carson Wentz - their best quarterback. They've even survived their key players (like Jason Peters and Wentz himself) getting serious injuries.
Even with the impressive 2-1 stretch, however, the Eagles' odds for the Playoffs don't seem to be very strong. If anything, Philadelphians are terrified to see the Eagles along with #1 post-season seed.
Although one cannot say that Eagles fans aren't excited to see their team playoff for the first time in four years, one can say that their appearance in the playoffs doesn't really intimidate the teams - at least the way that they used to.
On the December 17th game, where the Eagles defeated the Giants
by 34-29, with Nick Foles (Wentz's replacement) making an impressive 4 touchdowns. However, Jim Schwartz's defense against Eli Manning was quite sloppy. On the December 25th game, the Eagles did defeat the Raiders
by 19-10, but were very close to losing. And how can one not mention the New Years Eve game, when the Eagles were defeated at 6-0, even with their best backups and starters doing their best?
Technically, the Eagles stand at Number 1 in both the NFL and the NFC. Yet, they don't seem to have a very imposing presence and barely intimidate any other on the NFC playoff team. In fact, one can say that they only stand second to the Tennessee Titans
Now one can argue that this doesn't really mean anything. After all, the league is known for its dominance of parity, teams with feeble chances have gone on to win Super Bowls and there is practically no correlation between head-to-head match-ups of NFC playoff teams. All the same, there is a lot of worry regarding Philly's chances, and with quite good reason. Most people failed to understand the fact that Wentz's All-Pro-caliber impact, which was the Eagles' strong point, would turn out to be the exact opposite on reaching Injured Reserve post-Week 14. However, if the team is banking on its defense to stand and win an overrated offense by Dallas on Sunday - without taking any from Foles and the others, it might just get itself getting dropped out of NFC.
On the flip side, though, it is still reasonable to have faith in the fact that Schwartz and his men will be able to carry the team. After all, the Eagles' do have good turnover numbers, retain their best players, and has pretty much all of its players (bar linebacker Jordan Hicks) ready for the Divisional Round weekend. What is not reasonable is to have faith in the false notion that defense will be just as dominant in the postseason, and be able to compensate for the Eagles' weak offense. Unless the Eagles get players like Matt Ryan, Cam Newton, or Drew Brees, they don't really stand much chance to win. This is indeed a digression, given that they were very capable of competing blow for blow - as of last year itself!
Which brings to the ultimate question: Where will the Eagles stand, especially since they have been already been relentlessly teased on account of their early-season run?
While the Eagles' recent games may have dampened people's expectations, they haven't extinguished all hope, certainly not those of the die-hard Eagles fans. While some may think that Pederson's team isn't what it used to be in November, the Eagles are still in-control of how they can perform and can totally turn the tables, despite their slipping face value. They still have the power to show the world that they are indeed the No. 1 team that intimidates their opponents.
Betting Trends for the Game
Atlanta is 6-3 ATS in its last 9 games
Atlanta is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Atlanta's last 5 games
Atlanta is 2-5 ATS in its last 7 games on the road
Philadelphia is 9-4 ATS in its last 13 games
Philadelphia is 1-4 ATS in its last 5 games
Philadelphia is 12-2 SU in its last 14 games
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Philadelphia's last 7 games