NFL Spread: Falcons at Eagles 2018 NFL Playoffs Odds
The Line: Atlanta -3 (O/U: 41.5)
The NFL is a quarterback-driven league and the Eagles have been without star QB Carson Wentz since a season-ending knee injury suffered December 10. The Ealges finished the regular season 2-1, but backup QB Nick Foles’ performance in those games has cast doubt in the minds of fans and bettors alike when it comes to assessing Philly’s once-promising playoff outlook.
Meanwhile, the Falcons are suddenly commanding respect despite being the reigning Super Bowl runner-up. MVP caliber QB Matt Ryan is one of the league’s best passers and guided the Falcons to a resounding win over the Los Angeles Rams on the road in last week’s Wild Card round where the Falcons were six-point underdogs.
By the numbers
The last thing we want to do as bettors is to rely on meaningless statistics, so let’s toss the Eagles impressive season stats on offense as Wentz obviously accounted for a great deal of that success. The matchup that likely matters most in this contest is the Eagles defense against the Falcons offense as these units represent strength versus strength.
- The Falcons finished the regular season ranked 8th in the NFL in total offense
- The Eagles finished the regular season ranked 4th in total defense
- Eagles QB Nick Foles finished 23 of 49 passing with 1 TD/2 Int’s in last two starts
- The Falcons have surrendered just 23 points in their last two games
- The Falcons feature the NFL’s 8th best passing attack
- The Eagles defense is 17th best in NFL stopping the pass
The “eyeball” test
Bettors invariably have to make subjective decisions to influence their wagers. In other words, a football bettor has to trust what he sees. What I see when I watch the Falcons play is an improving young defense and a cast of veterans playing with great confidence. Confidence may be what Philly is lacking most at this critical juncture as they continue to find their identity without Wentz.
The Philly defense will undoubtedly have to shoulder a heavy burden in this contest to give Foles and company a shot to keep up with Matt Ryan and the Falcons. Points will be at a premium in what could ultimately be a slugfest.
I like Atlanta in this game, but I’m somewhat hesitant to pull the trigger as the Falcons still have to travel to Philly and beat a stout defense in a playoff atmosphere. In short, I am most confident in the likelihood that both offenses will encounter formidable resistance. That means I’ll take the under in this game with a slight lean towards Atlanta.
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