FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. – Today's Early Bird Report includes reactions from the conference championship games as well as the Falcons' renewed chance at history.
FALCONS HEADLINES FROM AROUND THE COUNTRY
ESPN: Vikings' loss opens path for Falcons to make Super Bowl history
After the Vikings' 38-7 loss against the Eagles on Sunday, the Falcons still have the chance to do something no team in NFL history has done: Play in a Super Bowl hosted by their home city. The Vikings were one win away from playing in Super Bowl LII, which is located in Minnesota this year.
Super Bowl LIII, which will take place in February of 2019, will be hosted at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. The Falcons fell just a few yards shy of taking the lead against the NFC champion Eagles in their divisional-round loss, and they have enough talent on hand to factor into the playoff mix next year.
Here are some more stories on the Falcons:
BIGGEST NEWS FROM AROUND THE NFL
*Sports Illustrated: *Eagles, Patriots punch ticket for Minnesota
The Super Bowl stage is set, and it will be the Patriots squaring off against the Eagles for the Lombardi Trophy. In his extensive Monday Morning Quarterback column, Peter King discussed how those two teams punched their ticket to the Big Game.
"One game was a 31-point snoozer that still drove the home crowd so crazy fans were doing back flips on the streets outside the ballpark — Philadelphia 38, Minnesota 7," King writes. "The other game was filled with gasps and dramatic turns and huge plays down the stretch — New England 24, Jacksonville 20. You'd figure the five-time Super Bowl champs, with the presumptive MVP quarterback, would be on the right side of the snoozer. Not so. It was Foles who engineered the rout, with some Dan Fouts-like deep balls thrown perfectly on the mark. And it was Brady who had to fight for his life, bum hand and all."
For much of the first game, Jacksonville appeared to have the upper hand in New England. But, as we've seen time and time again, Tom Brady and Bill Belichick mounted a postseason comeback and waited for their less-experienced opponent to flinch.
The NFC title game was also a thrilling, tight contest – and then Eagles cornerback Patrick Robinson stepped in front of a Case Keenum pass and returned it for a touchdown midway through the first quarter. That pick-six tied the game at seven and marked the first score on a 38-0 run for the Eagles in their rout of the Vikings.
Here are some more articles from around the league:
- ESPN: Guide to Super Bowl LII
- CBS Sports: Playoff pile: Give Eagles credit
- The Ringer: Everything the Vikings are good at failed against the Eagles
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