Atlanta Falcons at Philadelphia Eagles (+3): Game Picks

Jan 12, 2018

Can Matt Ryan lead the Falcons past a tough Eagles defense?

The Falcons proved they weren’t ready for a quick playoff exit and now they’ll head to Philadelphia for a Saturday matchup (4:35 PM ET) with the hopes to keep their dream alive to return to the Super Bowl. Standing in their way is an Eagles team that finished as the top ranked team in the NFC, but will be home underdogs in an unprecedented move by Vegas oddsmakers.

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Once the Eagles lost MVP candidate Carson Wentz, expectations tumbled and rightfully so. That said, the team finished the season as the No. 5 DVOA defense and also finished with the No. 3 rushing attack. There’s a reason that this game has the closest spread and the Eagles won’t go away that easily. The biggest question is can the defense keep the game within reach for Nick Foles. Of course, the Falcons are no slouches and they’re flying high with four wins over their last five games including a dismantling of the Rams during the Wild Card round. Despite the Eagle defense, the experts are going with the road favorites. Find out why below with their against the spread picks.

More Game Picks:
Titans at Patriots (-13.5) | Jaguars at Steelers (-7) | Saints at Vikings (-4.5)

Atlanta Falcons (-3)

Philadelphia Eagles (+3)

63%

of Experts

37%

of Experts

“I don’t trust Nick Foles.”
Jamey Eisenberg (CBS Sports)
“Eagles offense looked dreadful the last couple weeks of the season. I think the Falcons can deal with the Eagles.”
Joe Bond (Fantasy Six Pack)
“I don’t trust Nick Foles, plain and simple. Philly has all the tools necessary to keep this tight, but the Falcons should be able to exploit their one main weakness – their pass defense. Ultimately, Foles won’t be able to keep up and his mistakes will end what was originally a promising season in Philly.”
Kevin Roberts (Breaking Football)
“The Falcons are 7-2 over their last nine games, playing well, and going up against the Foles-led Philadelphia Eagles.”
Frank Stampfl (RotoExperts)
“I’m no Matt Ryan fanboy, but the Falcons have a major edge at quarterback in this game. Philadelphia’s defense sprung some leaks later in the season. Look for Ryan, Julio Jones and others to exploit.”
Ben Standig (CSN Mid-Atlantic)
“Do the Falcons have their groove back? Although there were missteps in the Wild Card round against the Rams, the Atlanta defense looked sharp and the team may be gaining momentum going deeper into the playoffs. The Eagles have been a great squad this year, but shouldn’t be able to overpower the Falcons offensively after the loss of Carson Wentz.”
David Biggs (Drink Five)
“With a high scoring offense led by breakout, second-year quarterback Carson Wentz, and a defense that has been dominant against the run, the Eagles earned the NFC’s top seed. Unfortunately for Philadelphia, the Eagles have not looked the same since they lost Wentz for the season, back in week fourteen. Look for Atlanta, fresh off their upset of the Rams, to attack the Eagles through the air and do enough defensively against the Nick Foles-led offense to win by a touchdown.”
Matthew Hill (DataForce Fantasy Football)
“The top seed team is the underdog, totally understand it. Nick Foles struggled in the last two games of the season and he looked not playoff ready. The Falcons showed a great defensive performance against one of the best offenses this year. Matt Ryan is far for impressive this year, but Atlanta can win with the run game.”
Mauricio Gutierrez (Estadio Fantasy)
“Can’t make the argument that Carson Wentz is the league’s MVP and still expect the Eagles to win without him.”
Bill Enright (FFChamps)
“Give me the team with playoff experience, but more importantly, give me the team without Nick Foles at quarterback.”
Greg Smith (TwoQBs)
“More experience, less Nick Foles.”
Andy Holloway (The Fantasy Footballers)
“I just don’t have faith in Nick Foles. I really thought the Eagles were the team to beat in the NFC before Carson Wentz got hurt. This offense just isn’t scary enough for me, especially against a much improved Falcons defense.”
Jeff Paur (RTSports)
“The Falcons defense has come on late in the season and I simply don’t trust Nick Foles to get the job done. There is a reason he was the back up and the offense has looked very shaky since Wentz went down.”
Walton Spurlin (Pro Football Focus)
“The Eagles looked great all season, but with Nick Foles now at the helm I have to take the Falcons and their playoff experience to win this matchup.”
KJ (Fantasy Team Advice)
“This is surely the square side, but I’m not overthinking it and taking a Falcons team entering playing well on defense. There’s a reason this is the first time a No. 1 seed has been an underdog to the No. 6, and his name is Nick Foles.”
Dalton Del Don (Yahoo! Sports)
“Nick Foles will play better than he has the past two games, but it won’t be enough to overtake the Falcons. The Philly defense is better up front than they are in the secondary, and that could mean a big day for Julio Jones in this one.”
Rich Piazza (Fantasy Shed)
“We find ourselves in unfamiliar territory here in Vegas—the first time in NFL Playoff history the 6th seed is favored over the #1 seed. Matt Ryan & Julio Jones crushed the dreams of the upstart LA Rams last week and showed that the young boys on the West Coast weren’t quite ready for the big stage. The boys here in the desert just don’t believe back up QB Nick Foles can step in for the injured Carson Wentz. If Wentz was healthy this line would be Philly -5 or higher which means we are seeing nearly a full touchdown plus point correction here. Normally the play here would be to fade the dome team traveling outdoors to the cold, windy confines of the Link in mid January. However, the football gods could very well be on the side of dirty birds with an expected high of 50 degrees and not a snowflake in sight. We’ve seen the sharps pummel the total out here as they envision perhaps the lowest scoring affair of the weekend. Too many factors are aligning here for a return for the second straight year for Matty Ice & crew to the NFC Championship game & I think the line here tells us all we need to know.”
Staff Rankings (ScoutFantasy)
“Following the month of November, the Eagles are 0-6 against the spread as home underdogs since 2012. Saturday is forecast for less frigid temperatures, but those chilly and breezy gusts may persist. This causes those swirling stadium winds which could affect the passing game on both sides as we have seen recently in Philadelphia. Foles has yet to get the knack of it and his control issues in this type of environment remain evident. So it’s up to the ground and short passing game to somehow get both teams on sustained drives. The running game of the Falcons has much more polish I feel than the Eagles do with their mixture. It is Julio Jones who might make the difference with very few targets, but just one big play.”
Richard Savill (Fantasy Six Pack)
“Hard as it is to go against a home dog in the playoffs, the Falcons appear to be peaking at the right time, and the Carson Wentz injury was most likely a death blow to the Eagles’ promising season. Wait ’til next season, Eagles fans.”
Pat Fitzmaurice (The Football Girl)
“Nick Foles stinks, and the Philly pass rush fell off over the season’s 2nd half. That has chipped away dramatically at what had been a quality pass defense. If the Falcons can basically control the action in L.A., they’re capable of doing so in Philly this weekend as well.”
Matt Schauf (Draft Sharks)
“The Falcons have the second most efficient defense this season and have been getting better each month. Going up against Deion Jones and this unit will be a nightmare for Foles.”
Bobby Sylvester (FantasyPros)
“The loss of Carson Wentz cannot be understated. The downgrade to Nick Foles will prove to be too much for the Eagles to handle. The line of ATL -3 is perfect, as they should win a close game.”
Mike Tagliere (FantasyPros)
“No Wentz is an issue.”
James Hatfield (Hatty Waiver Wire Guru)
“In the last seven games the Falcons defense has allowed only 16.9 ppg after allowing 21.1 ppg in the first 10. They shocked me last week holding down the high powered Rams offense, looking like the far more experienced team. I don’t see Foles being able to pull this out if the Eagles are down going into the 4th quarter.”
Kevin Wheeler (NFL Mock)
“With both teams sporting solid defensive units, the difference here is a shaky Nick Foles against a hungry Matt Ryan. The Falcons gained some much-needed postseason confidence last week and have a lot of experience to bank on. I want to take the rested No. 1 seed as home underdogs, but the QB disparity is too much.”
Nick Mariano (RotoBaller)
“The Eagles are the first number one seed to be an underdog in the divisional round in over 40 years, but that won’t matter this weekend. The Eagles boast a stout defense who will undoubtedly use the “underdog” status to their advantage. Also, an extra week of preparation for Nick Foles certainly can’t hurt either. The Eagles not only cover here, but they also walk away with a win.”
Adam Sutton (DraftStars)
“The Eagles need Foles to not throw up on himself, but this is still a solid team with home field. And I learned all through 2017, do not trust the Falcons.”
Scott Pianowski (Yahoo! Sports)
“Even if we assume that the Eagles with Nick Foles as the starting quarterback are not as good as the Falcons, they’re at home and rested. The Eagles defense is fifth in overall DVOA, and if you discount his 2015 season with the Jeff Fisher-led Rams his career numbers are respectable.”
Matthew Freedman (FantasyLabs)
“Philadelphia has had two weeks to figure out how to stay competitive with Nick Foles at quarterback. Foles is clearly worse than Matt Ryan, but then again, this version of Ryan is clearly worse than last season’s MVP. Meanwhile, the Falcons’ defense is looking improved, but it’s still 19th in weighted DVOA (per Football Outsiders), whereas the Eagles are ranked second.”
Des Bieler (The Washington Post)
“The Eagles have all the motivation in the world. They have a great season, lose their QB and now everyone is writing them off. They still have a great defense and see them running the ball and playing keep away.”
Chris Heil (Fantasy Sports Rants)
“After watching Nick Foles struggle to close the season, the public is understandably concerned about Philadelphia’s prospects this week… but, the Eagles weren’t taking themselves too seriously to close the season either. I’d expect a well-rested club to employ a game plan that caters to the team’s strengths and keep this very close, if not win outright.”
Jon Collins (Fantasy Sports LR)

“Nick Foles’ shakiness makes the Eagles an easy out. Done deal, right? Seems too easy. The Philly defense is still very good, as is their O-line. I know the Falcons seem to be peaking at the right time, but I think we’re writing off the Eagles too quickly.”
John Halpin (RotoWire.com)

“I’m not sold on either of these teams and don’t expect it to be much of a game, but I like the Eagles chances at home. The Falcons would need a big Julio Jones day to get the job done, but Jalen Mills and Ronald Darby should shut that down.”
Robert Waziak (Pyromaniac)
“There’s been zero respect for the Eagles. I get the Carson Wentz love, but there are playmakers on this squad. Work fast, get things moving and get that top-ranked run defense to press Ryan into tough third-down situations.”
Mike Harmon (Swollen Dome)
“I get the experience and momentum belong to Atlanta and that the Eagles haven’t looked good, but we’re getting the No. 1 seed at home AND three points?”
Jody Smith (Gridiron Experts)
“Eagles were dominant at home all season. Yes, they don’t have Carson Wentz but Nick Foles is still a solid QB and the Eagles are a good “team” that was not 100% dependent on Wentz. Meanwhile, the dome-team Falcons will travel on the road in the cold (low 30s) in a much more hostile environment than they encountered in LA last weekend. All of this plus they are getting points. You can keep the points, I’ll take the Eagles straight-up.”
Brad Richter (Going For 2)

* Lock symbols represent the expert’s most confident game pick.

Thank you to the experts for giving their against the spread picks. Enjoy the playoffs!


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