FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. – The Falcons are advancing to the second round of the playoffs after their 26-13 victory against the Rams in the wild-card round. After the win, Atlanta will now travel to Philadelphia to take on the top-seeded Eagles.
The Eagles looked like one of the NFL's most dominant squad throughout much of the regular season, earning a 13-3 record, but starting quarterback Carson Wentz was lost for the season due to injury and Nick Foles has been shaky in his stead. Here is an early look at how the Falcons stack up against the NFC's No. 1 seed in the second round of the playoffs:
Falcons (11-6) at Eagles (13-3)
Sat., Jan. 13, 4:35 p.m. ET (NBC) Last matchup:Eagles won, 24-15, on Nov. 13, 2016, in Philadelphia.
All-time series record: Eagles lead, 18-14-1 (includes postseason)
Toughest matchup: Without Wentz, it's the Eagles' defensive line that appears to be the strongest aspect of the team. They are stout against the run and a very good pass-rushing group. The Eagles lead the league in rushing yards allowed per game, giving up just 79.2 yards to opposing teams, and they have 38 sacks on the season. The Falcons offensive line has been tested by some of the best defensive lines in the league this year, so they will be prepared to face Brandon Graham and his fellow linemen, but much of the Eagles' defensive success starts with their front four.
Most favorable matchup: Even with Wentz in the fold, the Eagles' receiving corps wasn't a dangerous group. Now that Foles is the one throwing the football, Philadelphia's passing game seems fairly pedestrian. Atlanta's secondary has played well this season, giving up 214 yards per game. The Eagles averaged 233 passing yards per game in the regular season, 13th in the league, but that average dropped to just 173 passing yards in their three games without Wentz. When it comes to individual matchups, Desmond Trufant, Robert Alford and Brian Poole match up well with the likes of Alshon Jeffery, Torrey Smith and Nelson Agholor. Biggest storyline:The Eagles were one of the only teams who really shut down the Falcons' high-powered offense last season, and that could be a popular talking point leading up to the game. The loss of Wentz, however, has made Philadelphia look like a shaky No. 1 seed, so Atlanta could be a trendy upset pick in the second round.