Once upon a time, Nick Foles was viewed as a good starting quarterback. He had a good year or two for the Eagles, and then sort of flamed out with the Rams, and now he’s back in Philadelphia. Oh, and he’s starting a Divisional Round playoff game for the #1 seed Eagles.
The question of how effective Foles will be is a central one for this matchup, because he figures to be a liability, and that’s why the Eagles are not currently favored. If he can surprise and put together a solid-to-good performance, it changes the dynamic of this matchup significantly.
What should we expect from Foles?
Foles’ surface numbers in his three starts after Carson Wentz went down look solid enough, but there’s a bit of a mirage here. Foles ate in his first start against the New York Giants and their mightily struggling secondary, throwing for four touchdowns, completing 63% of his passes, and putting up 237 yards through the air. Over his final two starts, against Oakland and Dallas secondaries that are nobody’s idea of great, Foles managed just 202 yards, a single touchdown, and two interceptions, taking two sacks. He was downright pitiful in 11 attempts against Dallas.
We have no history between Foles and this Falcons defense to further illuminate how he might fare, since he’s never played against them. What we do have is a decidedly mixed track record this season against secondaries that pale in comparison to Atlanta’s and against pass rushes that aren’t as capable as the Falcons’. There’s nothing to suggest that Foles is going to cruise Saturday.
If Foles plays well, the Eagles will benefit greatly, and probably would be the favorites to win the game. Their defense and ground game are already good enough to keep them in this thing even if Foles stinks. The good news is that I don’t think there’s a lot of evidence to suggest that Foles is going to play well, even with the additional rest and prep time.