Game: Atlanta Falcons (10-6) at Philadelphia Eagles (13-3)
Breakdown: This game comes down to Nick Foles, plain and simple. Which one shows up for the Eagles? If it’s the Foles from Week 15 against the Giants (24 of 38 for 237 yards and four touchdown with no interceptions with a 115.8 passer rating), then Philly wins. If it’s the Foles from Weeks 16 and 17 (a combined 23 of 49 for 202 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions with a 59.4 rating vs Oakland and a 9.3 – no, that is not a typo – rating vs Dallas), then the Falcons win.
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Don’t get me wrong – I’m not discounting the rest of Philadelphia’s team. They won thirteen games, the NFC East, and earned the Number One seed in the conference for a reason. They’re very talented on both sides of the ball. It wasn’t just their quarterback play when Carson Wentz was healthy that got them to where they are now.
However, this matchup isn’t like the Jaguars-Bills game from last week where Jacksonville won even though Blake Bortles was terrible. The Eagles have a good defense, but not 2017 Jaguars good. And the Falcons have a better quarterback and offense than Tyrod Taylor and Company. If Foles can’t sustain drives, turns the ball over, and/or is uncomfortable in the pocket, then Matt Ryan and Julio Jones and Devonta Freeman, et al will eventually make him pay for it.
Given that it was the Giants (the second-worst defense in the league in terms of total yards allowed) that Foles went off on, I’m thinking the Falcons see the Weeks 16/17 version of him and move on to the NFC Championship Game for the second year in a row.
Prediction: Atlanta 24, Philadelphia 10