The Eagles practiced in full pads this week, looking to have an intense practice before the lull of their upcoming bye week.
By virtue of the NFC’s best trecord at 13-3, Philadelphia will send its players home for a weekend off prior to hosting next week’s Divisional Game. It’s a mixed blessing.
The Birds get to rest injured players like Brandon Graham ahead of the most important football game in Philadelphia in five years. They also have no idea who they’ll be facing Saturday afternoon.
The only sure thing is that one of the three NFC South squads will be traveling to South Philadelphia.
“We’re going to take a look obviously at New Orleans and kind of go back and break them down a little bit,” Doug Pederson said. “Carolina we’ve already played this year; Atlanta we know from a year ago. So we know the three teams. It’s just a matter of we don’t want to peak too soon. We still have some work to do and some corrections to make this week, but we will definitely take a look at those teams.”
Who do the Eagles most want to face? Here’s a quick look at the three potental match ups:
The Eagles are probaby hoping for an Atlanta upset over the Rams in Los Angeles. The lowest seed in the playoffs, Matt Ryan barely carried last year’s NFC champs into the postseason. They have several weaknesses, among them run defense and offensive line. This plays into Philly’s hands with a strong pass rush and great running attack. This would be the best case scenario. The Eagles gave Atlanta it’s most complete loss last season.
The next best would be the Panthers, who the Eagles already beat this season. Aside from Cam Newton — who is dangerous in many ways — the offense lacks the firepower of the Saints or Falcons. Carolina has a very good front seven but their secondary is weak, and if Nick Foles is able to find his footing it could be a good day for the passing game.
If the Saints win and the Falcons lose, it will be a rematch of the 2013 Wild Card round that saw then Eagles quarterback Foles nearly lead the Birds back before the defense let Drew Brees snatch victory away from Chip Kelly’s high-powered bird. The Eagles are great against the run, so seeing their front seven work against rookie sensation Alvin Kamara would be a great battle. The Saints defense is much improved and Kamara and Ingram give New Orleans a well-rounded offense. Michael Thomas has emerged as a standout weapon for Brees and the Eagles inconsistent secondary would be throughly tested. The Saints would be the worst case, but probably most likely Divisional opponent.