NFC Divisional Playoffs Betting Picks: Atlanta Falcons at Philadelphia Eagles

2018 NFL Playoffs
NFC Divisional Playoffs
#6 Atlanta Falcons at #1 Philadelphia Eagles
Saturday, January 13, 2018, 4:35 pm Eastern, TV: NBC
Lincoln Financial Field – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Opening Line: Atlanta -3 (-105)
Current Line: Atlanta -3 (-105)
Opening Total: 44 (under -115)
Current Total: 33
Opening Money Line: Falcons -150 / Eagles +130
Current Money Line: Falcons -150 / Eagles +130

Falcons Packers NFC Playoff Game Preview
The Falcons are a three point favorite at the Eagles Saturday in the Divisional Playoffs.

The Philadelphia Eagles went 13-3 during the regular season and won the NFC East. The Eagles are also the #1 seed in the NFC. Yet, they are a three point home underdog against the #6 seed Atlanta Falcons in the Divisional Playoffs Saturday afternoon. How is this possible you ask? Well, the Eagles haven’t been the same since quarterback Carson Wentz, who was having an MVP caliber season, went down with a torn ACL late in the season. Underwhelming performances by back-up Nick Foles in the final three games have experts doubting Philadelphia.The Eagles are coming off a first round playoff bye.

It doesn’t help that the opponent is the 10-7 Atlanta Falcons who underachieved during the regular season but are still the defending NFC Champions. Atlanta finished third in the NFC South and slipped into the playoffs as the #6 seed. The Falcons upset the #3 seed Los Angeles Rams 26-13 last Saturday night in the Wild Card Round. The Falcons were 6.5 point road underdogs in LA and the total was 48. The winner between the Falcons and Eagles will play either the #2 Minnesota Vikings or #4 New Orleans Saints in next Sunday’s NFC Championship game with a trip to Super Bowl LII on the line.

The Eagles lead the series 18-14-1 against the Falcons. The Eagles won 24-15 at home in  2016 to snap a three game losing streak to the Falcons. This is the fourth playoff meeting between Philadelphia and Atlanta, but the first since the 2005 NFC Championship game.

Atlanta is coached by Dan Quinn. The Falcons have road wins over the Chicago Bears 23-17, Detroit Lions 30-26, New York Jets 25-20, Seattle Seahawks 34-31 and Tampa Bay Buccaneers 24-21, plus home wins over the Green Bay Packers 34-23, Dallas Cowboys 27-7, Buccaneers 34-20, New Orleans Saints 20-17 and Carolina Panthers 22-10. The Falcons have home losses to the Buffalo Bills 23-17, Miami Dolphins 20-17 and Minnesota Vikings 14-9,  plus road losses to the New England Patriots 23-7, Panthers 20-17 and Saints 23-13.  The Falcons have won six of the last eight games.  The Falcons are 8-9 ATS and the total is 5-12 this season.

Philadelphia is coached by Doug Pederson. The Eagles have road losses at the Kansas City Chiefs 27-20 and Seattle Seahawks 24-10, plus a home loss to the Dallas Cowboys 6-0 two weeks ago. The Eagles have  road wins at the Washington Redskins 30-17, Los Angeles Chargers 26-24, Carolina Panthers 28-23, Dallas Cowboys 37-9, Los Angeles Rams 43-35 and New York Giants 34-29, plus home wins over the Giants 27-24, Arizona Cardinals 34-7, Redskins 34-24, San Francisco 49ers 33-10, Denver Broncos 51-23, Chicago Bears 31-3 and Oakland Raiders 19-10. Against the Cowboys , Philadelphia was a  3.5 point underdog and the total was 41. Philadelphia is 10-6 ATS and the total is 8-8 this season.

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Atlanta is outscoring teams 22-20 this season. The Falcons are #8 in points allowed. The Falcons average 365 yards per game on offense including 249 passing yards and 115 rushing yards. Atlanta is #8 in total and pass offense. On defense, Atlanta allows 318 yards per game including 214 passing and 104 rushing yards. Atlanta is #12 or better in all three categories. The Falcons are 92/210 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 88/215. Atlanta has forced 39 sacks and allowed 24 this season. The Falcons are -2 in turnovers and have  scored three defensive touchdowns. However, they have also  allowed  2 defensive touchdowns.

Quarterback Matt Ryan has completed 64.7% of his passes for 4,095 yards with 20 touchdowns and 12 interceptions, plus 32 carries for 143 rushing yards. He has been sacked 24 times. Ryan won the MVP last year but has struggled somewhat this season. He is probable for personal reasons and even missed some practice this week. Matt Schaub is the back-up in Ryan can’t go.

Running back Devonta Freeman has 196 carries for 865 yards and 6 touchdowns and also has 36 catches for 517 yards and a touchdown. He is probable with a knee injury. Tevin Coleman has 156 carries for 628 yards and 5 touchdowns, and also has 27 catches for 299 yards and 3 touchdowns.  Tarron Ward has 30 carries for 129 yards.

Receiver Julio Jones has 88 catches for 1,444 yards and 3 touchdowns. He is probable with an ankle injury. Mohamed Sanu has 67 catches for 703 yards and 5 touchdowns, and also threw a touchdown pass. He is probab le with a knee injury. Tight end Austin Hooper has 49 catches for 526 yards and 3 touchdowns. Taylor Gabriel has 33 catches for 378 yards and a touchdown. Justin Hardy has 20 catches for 221 yards and 3 touchdowns. Tight end Levine Toilolo is probable with a knee injury. He has 12 catches for 122 yards and a touchdown. Five defensive players and two offensive linemen are listed on the injury report for the Falcons.

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Philadelphia is outscoring teams 29-18 this season. The Eagles are #3 in scoring and #4 in points allowed. Philadelphia averages 366 total yards per game including 234 passing and 132 rushing yards. The Eagles are in the top seven in total and rushing offense. The Eagles allow 307 yards per game on defense including 227 passing and 79 rushing yards. Philadelphia is #1 in rush defense, and #4 in total defense. Philadelphia is 113/256 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 70/223. The Eagles have forced 38 sacks and allowed 36 this season. Philadelphia is +11 in turnovers and has scored 6 defensive touchdowns. The have also allowed 3 defensive touchdowns

Quarterback Carson Wentz has completed 60.2% of his passes for 3,296 yards with 33 touchdowns and 7 interceptions, and has 299 rushing yards on 64 carries. He has been sacked 28 times. Wentz was a contender for the MVP but tore his ACL a few weeks ago. Nick Foles is now the quarterback. He has completed 56.4% of his passes for 537 yards with 5 touchdowns and two interceptions. He has been sacked five times. Nate Sudfield is the back-up.

Running back LaGarrette Blount has 173 carries for 766 yards and 2 touchdowns, plus a touchdown catch.The Eagles acquired Jay Ajayi from the Dolphins just before the trade deadline. He has 70 carries for 408 yards and a touchdown, plus 10 catches for 91 yards and a touchdown. He is probable with a knee injury.  Corey Clement has 74 carries for 321 yards and 4 touchdowns, plus 10 catches for 123 yards and two touchdowns.  Wendell Smallwood has 47 carries for 174 yards and a touchdown, plus 13 catches for 103 yards.  Darren Sproles has 15 carries for 61 yards, plus 7 catches for 61 yards. He is out for the season with a torn ACL. Donnel Pumphrey is also out for the season with a hamstring injury

Tight end Zach Ertz has 74 catches for 828 yards and 8 touchdowns. Receiver  Alshon Jeffrey has 57 catches for 789 yards and 9 touchdowns. Nelson Agholor has 62 catches for 768 yards and 8 touchdowns.    Torrey Smith has 36 catches for 420 yards and 2 touchdowns. Trey Burton has 23 catches for 248 yards and 5 touchdowns.  Mack Hollins has 16 catches for 226 yards and a touchdown. Nine defensive players are listed on the injury report. Kicker Caleb Sturgis is out indefinitely with a quad injury.

The home team is 4-1 ATS in this series recently. The Eagles are 6-2 ATS at home against the Falcons recently. The under is 8-3-1 ATS in the series recently.

Foles hasn’t looked very good so far. The Falcons have been inconsistent but could be hitting their stride. Still, the eagles will use being an underdog as nobody believed in us motivation. I like the Eagles to win a close low scoring game at home to advance to the NFC Championship game.

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