It’s been 9 years since the Philadelphia Eagles won a playoff game. That’s the invisible hurdle to leap today. The Atlanta Falcons are the tangible obstacle.
- On the injury front, defensive end Brandon Graham (ankle) will play this afternoon. Cornerback Sidney Jones (hamstring) and linebacker Dannell Ellerbe (hamstring) are both listed as questionable. Left tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai (knee) practiced fully this week and is expected to go this afternoon.
The weather? Brisk and a tad windy. Both teams will face falling temperatures with the mercury expected to hit the freezing mark around game time, 4:35 p.m. By game’s end, temperatures will be in the 20s F.
Not the temperate climate conditions I wanted as suitable for a track meet—we missed them by a day. Some of us think that bodes better for the Eagles. Colder weather makes it seem logical that the Eagles might lean heavier on their running game, especially on running back Jay Ajayi, who has been bothered by knee issues and will see his first action in 19 days.
“I feel really good, like, I feel really good,” Ajayi told reporters. “No. 1 seed team with an opportunity to go get a Super Bowl. I’m grateful, I’m blessed, I’m excited for this opportunity because it’s all in front of us and if we really take advantage of what we want to do and execute how we can, we can get it done.”
Ajayi, who began the season with the Miami Dolphins, ran for 130 yards against the Falcons two weeks before he joined the Eagles.
By the numbers: How teams compare statistically. All stats are per-game averages, except for sacks and turnover differential, which is for season (league rank in parentheses):
Atlanta: 22.1 (T14) Philadelphia: 28.6 (T2)
Atlanta: 19.7 (8) Philadelphia: 18.4 (4)
Atlanta: 249.4 (8) Philadelphia: 233.6 (13)
Atlanta: 115.4 (13) Philadelphia: 132.2 (3)
Atlanta: 214.3 (12) Philadelphia: 227.3 (17)
Atlanta: 104.1 (9) Philadelphia: 79.2 (1)
Atlanta: 39 (T13) Philadelphia: 38 (T15)
Atlanta: 22.1 (T14) Philadelphia: 60.1 (T22)
Atlanta: -2 (19) Philadelphia: +11 (4)
There is no shortage of “want to” on either side of the field. The Eagles as a team and a franchise want to write a new chapter in the legacy of Jeffrey Lurie’s ownership and the team’s long-suffering fan base. The Falcons want desperately to get another shot at winning the Lombardi Trophy they should have won last year.
We are once again grateful for having Ryan Lubrich’s alternative live game thread available to us.
Here’s a link to his live in-game talk show if you wish to give it a look:
As Ryan explains, it’s like a chat channel, primarily used by like-gamers who stream on Twitch, but he figured we might be able to use it for gameday chats. I have found it to be very functional and very entertaining. It took me a few minutes to get the hang of some of the whistles and bells, but after a short while I was zooming along with the other EYE guys and Bored members there talking Eagles football.
It even auto-refreshes on every comment!
Musical theme for this one? I can’t get Bob Dylan’s “All Along The Watchtower” out of my head. Something about “…there are many here among us who think that life is but a joke, but you and I we’ve been through that, and this is not our fate, so let us not talk falsely now, the hour is getting late…”
Two football teams were approaching, and the wind began to howl.