On paper, the Eagles — hosting a playoff game in mid January, at home, outdoors at Lincoln Financial Field against a team with home games in a dome — is a big advantage.
The Falcons head to Philly Saturday sporting a 1-2 record in outdoor cold weather games during the Matt Ryan era.
But after weeks of record-setting cold weather, mother nature is actually looking like it may work against the Eagles when kickoff arrives at 4:35 Saturday. The forecast is for about 50 degrees with a chance of rain. According to weather.com, the temperature will only dip to around 46 degrees by 7 p.m.
In those games, the Falcons are a much better 8-7 over the last decade or so, and so it will be up to the fans to give the Eagles, a three-point underdog currently, a homefield edge.
“Any time you can play teams at home, that’s exactly what you want,” Eagles defensive tackle Beau Allen.
Allen’s teammate, Chris Long, mentioned that one of the keys to the Eagles potentially defensive-minded performance in the playoffs was “to keep the points down and play physical at home here in the cold.”
With the weather mild, one of the defense’s biggest allies will be irrelevant. They will be attacking Atlanta on a pretty even playing field.
Research of recent history shows bad news for the Birds, as home underdogs have gone just 1-7 since 2012. As is no doubt, quarterback play will be important despite how much the defense tries to take on itself. Nick Foles has played one playoff game, outdoors at the Linc, and had a passer rating of 105.0, two touchdowns and no interceptions while completing 69 percent of his passes. The defense was the problem in that game, a two-point loss to the Saints in 2013.