Next Race Newspaper
Free Bets
My Account

Wednesday, 16 January, 2019

Philadelphia have the ability to push Atlanta all the way

Eagles can still put up points with Foles in charge

Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan
1 of 1

Sky Sports Action, 9.35pm Saturday

Home advantage and a week off during the wildcard round is supposed to be a huge boost for any team who capture a number-one seeding, but Philadelphia have failed to convince that they should be favourites to beat Atlanta in the divisional round of the NFL playoffs.

This is the first time the sixth seeds have been favoured by bookmakers to win on the road against the top seeds, but the optimism surrounding the Falcons, who surrendered a 28-3 lead to lose the Super Bowl against New England last season, appears well-founded.

The Eagles were one of the surprise packages of the season, winning 13 of their 16 matches, with most of their victories coming under the direction of dynamic quarterback Carson Wentz.

However, enthusiasm for the prospect of Philadelphia celebrating their first Vince Lombardi Trophy was tempered when Wentz suffered a season-ending knee injury and even though replacement Nick Foles helped them to two victories in their final three regular-season games, the layers remain unconvinced.

Atlanta's offence, which was the highest-scoring in the league last term, again resembles the one that reached Super Bowl LI as quarterback Matt Ryan was firing on all cylinders in last week's impressive victory at the Los Angeles Rams.

They finished the regular campaign having scored an average of 22.1 points per game, which was the 15th highest tally in the league, but it is worth noting that five of their six defeats were against teams who reached the post-season.

New Orleans, Minnesota, Carolina, New England and Buffalo all made the playoffs after getting the better of them but the Falcons have produced their best form when it matters with just two defeats in their last nine matches.

While Atlanta's favouritism is perhaps understandable, it is surprising to see the total-points line at a modest 41.

The Falcons have plenty of ability on the offensive side of the ball and it is dangerous to write off Foles as he is immensely more experienced than many NFL back-up quarterbacks who find themselves thrust into the spotlight.

Too much could be read into a poor display in the 6-0 defeat to Dallas in Week 17, when plenty of first-choice Eagles were used sparingly.

While they may not reach the heights they did against the New York Giants and Oakland, when they scored a total of 53 points, Philly are capable of contributing to an absorbing game.

Over 41 points
2pts 13-14 188Bet

The lowdown
Venue Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Surface Enhanced grass
Weather Cloudy, 0C
Vegas handicap Atlanta -3
Vegas points line 41.5

Team news
Running back Devonta Freeman (knee) and wide receivers Julio Jones (ankle) and Mohamed Sanu (knee) have all been limited in practice this week but all three are expected to feature.

Running back Jay Ajayi has shaken off a knee injury, while cornerback Sidney Jones's hamstring problem remains a concern.

Key stat
Philadelphia have won seven of their last eight home games against Atlanta.


More NFL 

Tennessee at New England

Today's top sports betting stories

Follow us on Twitter @racingpostsport

Like us on Facebook RacingPostSport

While Atlanta's favouritism is perhaps understandable, it is surprising to see the total-points line at a modest 41
E.W. Terms
Sky bet