Atlanta Falcons at Philadelphia Eagles (+3, 41)
Although the Philadelphia Eagles boasted the NFL's top mark throughout much of the season and tied a franchise record with 13 wins, they find themselves as the first team in league history to enter its opening playoff game as an underdog. The Eagles aim to silence the critics on Saturday when they host the sixth-seeded Atlanta Falcons in an NFC divisional round contest at Lincoln Financial Field.
"What bothered me was we were 12-2 (at the time of Carson Wentz's injury) and treated like we were the (winless) Browns," Philadelphia Pro Bowl right tackle Lane Johnson said. "It happens, but I think although we don't like it, it's a good motivator to have people not write good things." Philly's newspapers haven't been kind since potential NFL MVP candidate Wentz was lost for the season with an ACL injury, as the team hasn't given its fickle fans much to cheer with 16 points in its last nine quarters. Last season's NFL MVP Matt Ryan, who hails from Exton, Pa., recorded his fifth consecutive playoff game with at least a 100.0 passer rating in Atlanta's 26-13 win over the Los Angeles Rams last weekend. "We're not here just to get here. We want to make noise while we're here," Ryan told reporters.
TV: 4:35 p.m. ET, NBC.
LINE HISTORY: The Falcons opened as 3-point road favorites and that number came down briefly to 2.5 before returning to the opening figure. The total hit betting boards at 44.5 and has been bet all of the way down to 41. Check out the complete line history here.
WHAT SHARPS SAY: "The Eagles find themselves in a rare home dog role knowing that No. 1 NFC seeds are 22-3 SU in Divisional round games sic the 1990 season. On the flip side, the Falcons have won 10 of their last 12 games adjacent NFC East opponents but finds themselves favored the playoff road for the first time in franchise history. The bottom line is this game will likely come down to how Philadelphia backup QB Nick Foles fares against an Atlanta pass defense that surrendered more than 300 passing yards on only occasion this season." - Covers Experts' Marc Lawrence.
Falcons - WR Mohamed Sanu (Probable, Knee), TE Levine Toilolo (Probable, Knee), WR Julio Jones (Probable, Ankle), QB Matt Ryan (Probable, Personal), LB LaRoy Reynolds (Questionable, Knee), RB Devonta Freeman (Questionable, Knee), LB Sean Weatherspoon (Questionable, Illness), LB Jordan Tripp (I-R, Concussion), G Andy Levitre (I-R, Tricep), S Quincy Mauger (I-R, Knee), DE Jack Crawford (I-R, Bicep).
Eagles - T Halapoulivaati Vaitai (Probable, Knee), DE Brandon Graham (Probable, Ankle), CB Jalen Mills (Probable, Ankle), RB Jay Ajayi (Probable, Knee), CB Sidney Jones (Questionable, Hamstring), LB Dannell Ellerbe (Questionable, Hamstring), QB Carson Wentz (I-R, Knee), K Caleb Sturgis (I-R, Quadricep), S Chris Maragos (I-R, Knee), LB Joe Walker (I-R, Undisclosed), LB Jordan Hicks (I-R, Achilles), T Jason Peters (I-R, Knee), RB Darren Sproles (I-R, Knee), RB Donnel Pumphrey (I-R, Hamstring), CB Randall Goforth (I-R, Knee), WR Dom Williams (I-R, Achilles), DT Aziz Shittu (I-R, Knee).
ABOUT THE FALCONS (11-6 SU, 8-9 ATS, 5-12 O/U): Julio Jones, who reeled in nine receptions for 94 yards and a touchdown last week against the Rams, traditionally has flustered Philadelphia in his career. The Pro Bowl wideout had 10 catches for 135 yards in the teams' last meeting in 2016 and has 428 receiving yards in four contests with the Eagles. The potent running back tandem of Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman combined for 1,493 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns this season, but the duo will test the mettle of Philadelphia's top-ranked rushing defense (79.2). Speaking of defense, Atlanta has stepped up its game by allowing just 16.3 points per contest over the last six.
ABOUT THE EAGLES (13-3 SU, 10-6 ATS, 8-8 O/U): Nick Foles answered a sterling four-touchdown performance versus the New York Giants in Week 15 by completing 23 of 49 passes for 202 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions over his last two appearances. "My message to Nick is, 'Listen, you have a great opportunity. Just go be Nick. Go play. Let's go executive the offense,'" coach Doug Pederson said. Zach Ertz is a key part of that offense after earning his first Pro Bowl selection by finishing third among all NFL tight ends with 74 receptions for 824 yards. Ertz and wideout Nelson Agholor each had eight touchdown receptions, one shy of team leader Alshon Jeffery.
* Falcons are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 Saturday games.
* Eagles are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 Divisional Playoffs games.
* Under is 6-0 in Falcons last 6 games overall.
* Under is 7-0-1 in Eagles last 8 playoff home games.
* Under is 8-3-1 in the last 12 meetings.
View a full list of betting trends for this matchup here.
COVERS CONSENSUS: The Covers public is siding with the road favorite Atlanta Falcons at a rate of 53 percent and the Over is getting 63 percent of the totals action on Covers. View full consensus data here.