The Philadelphia Eagles are the #1 seed in the entire NFC. They got there by virtue of Carson Wentz’s arm, yes, but they also ran the ball effectively and had a quietly terrific defense much of the year. The loss of Wentz hurt them significantly, but they are not going to go quietly into the night because they lost their MVP candidate.
Vegas thinks they might, though. Surprisingly, the #6 seed Falcons are actually favored to win in Philadelphia, with the opening line putting them somewhere between a 2.5 and 3 point favorite. Considering Matt Bryant is their kicker, being a three point favorite just feels right.
To understand this, you do have to consider Wentz. Backup Nick Foles has been abysmal in his starts since taking over for the second-year quarterback, which puts a hard cap on Philly’s upside on offense. They’re still a good enough team to make this work, as I mentioned above, but the loss of Wentz is keenly felt. The Falcons, meanwhile, just dismantled a tough Rams team on the road and have looked like one of the NFC’s better defenses for weeks now. It’s not hard to figure out why oddsmakers might think the Falcons have a real shot in this one.
I do too, of course. The Falcons can certainly beat the Eagles if they play well, setting them up for a very tough road matchup with either the Vikings or Saints in the NFC Conference Championship Game, but they’ll need to avoid the stumbles that have threatened to throw this whole thing off course at times. Let’s hope they can do so, and let’s hope it’s not a nailbiter.