Despite being the No. 1 seed in the NFC, the Philadelphia Eagles did not open as home favorites against their opponent in the Divisional Round of the 2018 NFL Playoffs. The Eagles instead opened as 2.5 point underdogs to the No. 6 seed Atlanta Falcons.
To put this in perspective, the average home team in a given matchup usually opens as three point home favorites. The Eagles are 5.5 points below that norm.
Then again, the Eagles certainly aren’t the average home team in this case. Philadelphia will be starting backup quarterback Nick Foles against the Falcons.
Foles really struggled in his final two starts of the 2017 season. In his last 49 attempts, Foles had a 46.9% completion rate, a 48.2 passer rating, and 4.1 yards per attempt.
But all hope is not lost for the Eagles. Philadelphia’s defense has played really well at home since the beginning of 2016. One of Jim Schwartz’s best games actually came against the Falcons last season.
Some other factors working against the Falcons could include travel and the weather. Atlanta has to fly home from Los Angeles after beating the Rams only to fly up north to Philly in time for Saturday’s game. The Falcons, whose home field resides in a dome, will also have to play outside in weather that projects to be 40 degrees and rainy.
It’s up to the Eagles to embrace the “us against the world” underdog mentality as most people will be picking against them. It’s true that the team isn’t as good without Carson Wentz at quarterback. But that doesn’t mean they’ll go down without a fight.