Published: Sun, January 14, 2018
Sport | By Gary Shelton

Eagles QB Foles ready to prove doubters wrong

Eagles QB Foles ready to prove doubters wrong

The Falcons are a different, one might say more battled-tested team this time around.

The good news is that Eagles defense has been fantastic for most of the season, as it ranked fourth in points allowed, fourth in takeaways and sixth in rushing yards allowed per carry.

If the Jaguars can win this one, they'll have a real shot of making the Super Bowl.

STREAKS, STATS AND NOTES - Eagles are 2-1 vs. Falcons in playoffs, including 27-10 win in 2004 NFC championship game.

Despite their home field advantage, the Eagles are considered the underdog in this contest due to the absence of quarterback Carson Wentz, who was a heavy favorite for league MVP before a serious injury against the Los Angeles Rams on December 10 took him out of play for the remainder of the season. Jake Elliott hit the left upright on the extra point.

The celebration fit into the narrative the Eagles have been writing for themselves over the past month or so. Like Blount, he should get around 7-10 carries. But expect the Steelers to commit to the run this time, even if they get behind early.

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- Titans running back Derrick Henry finished with 156 rushing yards and a touchdown against Kansas City last week, becoming the second player in team history to record 150+ rushing yards in a playoff game.

Loading the box and shutting down the run and playing man across the board forcing Foles and his receivers to make plays to beat you is what the Falcons nearly certainly will do for the start of Saturday's game.

The Patriots defense shut down Matt Ryan and the Falcons offense for most of the first half before taking a 17-0 lead into halftime.

The Philadelphia Eagles were the best team in the regular season against the run.

That is perhaps the greatest illustration of the lack of faith in Wentz's replacement Nick Foles as he leads the Eagles into a matchup with an Atlanta Falcons team that produced an excellent defensive effort to knock off the Los Angeles Rams in their Wild Card matchup. The Eagles can certainly find a way to use him given his prior success against the Falcons last season. It was the template of what the Eagles needed to do to win.

The 86-yard drive took 14 plays and 6:44. Still, the sequence was rife with mistakes. Philadelphia's Doug Pederson makes playoff debut as head coach. Fletcher Cox handled Atlanta's interior lineman and the Falcons were forced to run everything outside. Atlanta's secondary blew the chance to end the drive. The Eagles, who are 5-2 ATS in their last seven home games, probably need to build a lead through running back Jay Ajayi and their ground game, rather than rely on backup quarterback Nick Foles. The short drive started when the Falcons recovered a punt at the 18 yard line after it was touched by the Eagles.

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