It’s win or go home now. The Eagles will take on the Atlanta Falcons this afternoon in their first playoff game since 2014. They’ll look to win their first playoff game since the 2008 Divisional round against the New York Giants.
The Falcons are coming off a big win over the Los Angeles Rams last Saturday in the Wild Card round.
To recap, here’s where the staff stands entering the Divisional round:
T1: Bob, Tyler (14-2)
3: Chris (13-3)
4: Coggin (12-4)
T5: Kevin, Kyle, Phil, Tim (11-5)
9: Anthony (8-8) (8-5, according to Anthony)
Our predictions for this week are after the jump:
Phil: Ever since we learned for certain that Carson Wentz was out, living out the last days of this Eagles season has felt like watching something beautiful decay and disintegrate week by week. Though we all pretty well know how this ends, we still look at the team and try to see the beauty that was. The uniforms are the same, the coach, the stadium, a lot of the players. You look at all of it and wish it to be what it was. But it’s not. Losing Wentz was awful, but it’s the lack of Jason Peters that may cause the Eagles the most problems in this game. Nick Foles can’t run and hasn’t thrown well in about a month. Blind side pressure won’t help that. I hate this pick. I hate that it’s going to end this way. I just don’t see how it doesn’t. Falcons 27, Eagles 13.
Bob: I think Doug Pederson builds a masterful game plan and Nick Foles surprises tomorrow. It’s been overlooked, but the Eagles have a decisive coaching advantage over the Falcons. The defense relentlessly pressures Matt Ryan and the offense cashes in on favorable field position. Just a hunch, but give me the Eagles by double digits. Eagles 26, Falcons 16.
Coggin: The defensive line harasses Matty Ryan all afternoon and Julio Jones is kept under wraps as the #1 Eagles SHOCK THE WORLD and walk out of the Linc the victors. Eagles fans have another week to make poorly made pump-up videos featuring decades old Brian Dawkins highlights backed by “Bodies” from Drowning Pool. Eagles 24, Falcons 20.
Tim: What have the Falcons done this season to be giving three points on the road in a divisional playoff game? The Eagles defense is going to dominate the line of scrimmage, force the Falcons to become one-dimensional, and then make life miserable for Matt Ryan. With two weeks to figure out how to get Nick Foles comfortable in the offense, I have faith in the brain trust of Doug Pederson, Frank Reich, and John DeFilippo to draw up an effective game plan. It won’t be easy, but the Birds get the job done. Eagles 20, Falcons 17.
Anthony: I hate to say this, but Phil is the only one picking this game without green-tinted glasses on. Here in Philadelphia we have the innate ability to be either overly optimistic when our teams have a modicum of success and overly pessimistic when they show the first sign of struggle. Believe me when I tell you this would have been a close game even if Carson was playing. I’d probably go the other way with the pick because, yes, Wentz is a difference-maker, but it wouldn’t be a romp.
There are two kinds of No. 6 seeds – those that are happy to make the playoffs and those that are likely better than that and overcame some sort of adversity to make the playoffs. The Falcons are more the latter. Hell, they should have won the Super Bowl last year. It’s the same team with an improved defense. Yes, they have weaknesses – what team doesn’t anymore. But they’ve been here before. They’re determined to avenge last season. They won’t be intimidated by weather, crowd noise, or even some good defense by the Eagles.
The Eagles aren’t going to roll over and play dead. There’s a lot to like about these Eagles – and they’re going to play motivated football today. They’ll do you proud. But it won’t be enough. Falcons 23, Eagles 19.
Chris: It won’t be pretty, but in the end, I think the Eagles make it a win. Like they have in the regular season after a long break, I expect them to be rusty on offense. The defense will be the reason why they stay in this game. Eagles 20, Falcons 17.
Tyler: I have a bad feeling about this game. It’s the same feeling I had the week leading up to the Panthers game and the Eagles won that game. However, that was a different team. If this is a fair-weathered game or in a dome, Eagles lose bad. Mother Nature is an Eagles fan, at least this week. It’ll be ugly and will take years off of your life, but the birds pull it out. Eagles 17, Falcons 16.
Kevin K: Weird game. I think the Eagles come out and move the ball down the field, get an early touchdown, then hit the skids with a crappy turnover. Atlanta comes back to take a 10-7 lead into halftime. In the second, the defense bends, but doesn’t break, allowing a pair of Falcon field goals. Nick Foles finds his rhythm for a third quarter score, then Jake Elliott hits a 4th quarter field goal to give the Birds a victory. Eagles 17, Falcons 16.
BONUS (from our old friend Sean Cottrell): Nonsense. Eagles will be in the super bowl. Take that to the bank.
Give us your predictions below.