Looks out Eagles, Falcons looked Super Bowl-ready last week

From FOX Sports - January 11, 2018

What America saw last weekend from the Atlanta Falcons was similar to what the team showed for 2+ quarters of last years Super Bowl.

Can they keep it up as they head on the road again Saturday to Philadelphia?

The Falcons have that balanced offenseif Matt Ryan is efficientto challenge any opponents. Where they made their mark against the Rams was on defense.

We dont have a (complicated) defense, but we are very detailed, says defensive coordinator Marquand Manuel, a former NFL player who got the job last February. And the detail of expectations of understanding that they have to make our defense come to life, and theyre doing an awesome job at it.

Philadelphias defense has been up and down recently, and it has dealt with a bunch of injuries. Depth has been a plus for Jim Schwartzs unit.

The edge here belongs to Atlanta at quarterbackif Ryan is efficientwith backup Nick Foles running the offense for the Eagles. It wouldnt be shocking to see Foles fly. Or struggle.

The Falcons are 2-point favorites over the top-seeded Eagles, a highly unusual occurrence. But one that, with Carson Wentz on the sideline, makes enough sense.

FALCONS, 23-19

Tennessee (plus 13) at New England, Saturday

The Patriots are rested. Theyre supposedly ticked off. Theyre pretty healthy.

And they are miles better than the Titans.

Still, lets give Tennessee tremendous credit for how it rallied in Kansas City. The Titans showed resolve and an ability to come up with big plays on offense that few expected.

Youve got every team fighting to play for the next week, Patriots safety Devin McCourty says. Nobodys going to go out thereand I dont care if youre down, if youre uplike no one is going to quit. So, thats something I think we always talk about, and obviously you could see it in that game against Kansas City.

But this one is in New England. Yes, its gotten tiresome to travel (and travel, and travel) to Foxborough for playoff games. Therell be another one up there next weekend.


Jacksonville (plus 7+) at Pittsburgh, Sunday

One thing about the Steelers: They tend to play much closer games than they should. Based on talent alone, they probably are the NFLs most skilled squad.

Here comes Jacksonville, following an offensive stinker in beating outmanned Buffalo. Logic says this should be a rout.

Forget logic and remember that Ben Roethlisberger was so victimized in a 30-9 Week 5 loss to the Jaguars that he had one of the worst games of his career.


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