Five Reasons Why the Falcons Are Who We Wanted
By: Aaron Black
Yes, this is definitely the match-up we wanted as Eagles fans. I think it is safe to say the team we all really wanted to play was Carolina, seeing as we’ve proven we can beat them, but most of us ruled out them beating the Saints on the road as soon as the playoff match-ups were set. After having the chance to sit back and watch last weekend’s games, both Atlanta and New Orleans looked really good. Atlanta’s defense stifled an explosive Rams team, and Drew Brees played like 2011 Drew Brees. Yet, it was clearly evident that Atlanta is still the weaker team, even with a great defensive performance in the Wildcard Round.
Right now, any fan that lacks confidence in this match-up with the Falcons has their fear derive from a reputation Atlanta gained last year. They’ve played up and down football all year, and the offense is not consistently as explosive as they were. As a team that has failed to score 20 or more points seven times this year, the perceived firepower of their Steve Sarkisian offense is quite different from the reality of what they’ve become.
For the first playoff game at home since 2013, the Falcons are definitely the weakest link.
What are the keys to this game you ask? Well I’ll give you 5 that are pretty obvious yet I feel I need to be addressed:
- RUN THE FOOTBALL, LIKE A LOT. First, I’m not Bill Murray in Groundhog Day but I can tell by my phone that the forecast looks like shit with rain on Saturday. Not ideal throwing the ball weather, if there is any ideal weather for Nick Foles to throw the ball in. Second, our 3 headed monster can wear down a defense in late games, especially a smaller Falcons defense that can fly side to side but be exploited up front. It is just a matter of Doug branching away from his Andy Reid coaching tree roots and committing to the run like he did in last year’s match-up with the Falcons when he called for 38 rushes (Kareem Hunt 12 touches last week, unreal). Oh, and Nick Foles throwing the ball as little as possible would be ideal.
- This is really 1b, but 2 is let Ajayi touch the ball 30 times. He is the horse and best back of this group. It seems like he hits every hole with a full head of steam and simply makes plays. Ride the Jay Train, Doug. Ride that beautiful British accent right to a Super Bowl. If he starts slow, stay committed to it, for all of us Doug, please.
- Limit Julio Jones, somehow. He’s a top 3 receiver in the league so he will get his, but let’s not let him do whatever he feels like because that will just be so shitty to watch. Last year he had 10 receptions for 135 yards against the Eagles. Lets make that not a thing this game. Mohamed Sanu is no slouch, but make him try and beat you once the Falcons decide to throw. Give me all the Jalen Mills finger wags.
- Nick Foles. Well, it’s pretty simple. No one is asking him to be Brady, Wentz, or Jesus. We are asking him to do like 3 things that you hope an NFL quarterback who has experience can do. Firstly, don’t turn the ball over so the Eagles can control the clock. If he can’t make plays and we need to punt and play the field position game and hope the defense gives up like no more than 10 points that’s one thing, but don’t give the Falcons the ball at our 25 because he backtracked a mile then threw into quadruple coverage to Torrey Smith. Second, don’t do that thing where he pumps 6 times looks like he’s ready to take a shot down field then tries to get out of the pocket and ends up taking a sack for a loss of 23. Lastly, covert 3rd down and 3rd & shorts. 3rd and 4 should not look like 3rd and 40. That is contingent on running the ball effectively but I’m not opposed to Nick Foles passing on early downs and getting the ball out of his hands quickly. Step up in the pocket, try and run. (maybe). Do athletic things on third down please. Is that me talking like I’m used to Wentz converting every 3rd down? Yes, it is.
- Finally, the crowd. The defense is going to take us as far as we can go, and the crowd is really going to be a massive factor in this. That is a fact. The Linc will be rocking and 60 + thousand day drunk Eagles fans will make that place an absolute electric factory. They should be able to hear the noise from the Linc in Exton. Oh Exton? Did you know Matt Ryan is from Exton? Well if you haven’t heard it 500 times, I’m sure NBC will drill it into your god damn skull before the first quarter ends. Swear he was raised in apartment above the Italian Market. But really though the crowd needs to be, and is going to be, 700 level Vet insane on Saturday.
With that said, Go Fucking Birds.
— Action News on 6abc (@6abc) August 3, 2017