The NFL‘s No. 1 seeds will be featured Saturday, as the Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots host the Atlanta Falcons and Tennessee Titans, respectively, in the divisional round.
On the flip side, the Eagles’ chances took a big hit when quarterback Carson Wentz suffered a season-ending torn ACL in Week 14. They are consequently home underdogs against the hot Atlanta Falcons and 14-1 underdogs to win the Super Bowl.
We will see how everything shakes out Saturday, but until then, here’s a look at the schedule, live-stream information and two questions to ponder.
Saturday Playoff Schedule
Saturday, January 13, at 4:35 p.m. ET on NBC and NBC Sports Live: No. 6 Atlanta Falcons at No. 1 Philadelphia Eagles
Saturday, January 13, at 8:15 p.m. ET on CBS and CBS All Access: No. 5 Tennessee Titans at No. 1 New England Patriots
Remaining Playoff Schedule
Sunday, January 14, at 1:05 p.m. ET on CBS: No. 3 Jacksonville Jaguars at No. 2 Pittsburgh Steelers
Sunday, January 14, at 4:40 p.m. ET on Fox: No. 4 New Orleans Saints at No. 2 Minnesota Vikings
Sunday, January 21, at 3 p.m. ET: AFC Championship on CBS (lowest-seeded AFC team at highest-seeded AFC team)
Sunday, January 21, at 6:30 p.m. ET: NFC Championship on Fox (lowest-seeded NFC team at highest-seeded NFC team)
Super Bowl LII
Sunday, February 4, at 6:30 p.m. ET: AFC champion vs. NFC champion on NBC (game will be played in Minneapolis)
How Will Philadelphia Eagles Quarterback Nick Foles Fare?
Since taking over for Wentz, backup signal-caller Nick Foles has been up-and-down.
He threw four touchdown passes against the New York Giants in a Week 15 win, but he proceeded to go just 23-of-49 (46.9 percent completion rate) for 202 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions against the Oakland Raiders and Dallas Cowboys to close the regular season.
Now he will face an Atlanta Falcons team that has only allowed two touchdowns in their past two games combined. The odds are stacked against Foles, and the sportsbooks don’t seem to have much faith in the Eagles offense either. According to OddsShark, Philadelphia has an implied team total of just 19 points.
Still, the former Arizona Wildcat isn’t a stranger to success: He threw for 27 touchdowns and just two interceptions when he was Philly’s starter during the 2013 season. Things haven’t gone as well since that campaign, but if the Giants game proved anything, it’s that Foles can get it done. It’s just a matter of whether we see something resembling the Foles from that matchup or the Foles from the past two regular-season gameweeks.
The guess here is it’s the latter. The Atlanta defense has been fast and ferocious lately, and its wild-card performance against the Los Angeles Rams on the road was one of the more impressive defensive showings of the season by any team given that L.A. was the league’s top scoring team.
Atlanta will keep the Philadelphia offense at bay and advance to the NFC Championship Game.
Will Dion Lewis’ Increased Usage Continue into the Playoffs?
Who would have thought New England Patriots running back Dion Lewis would lead all qualified players at his position in defense-adjusted yards over replacement this season, per Football Outsiders?
Lewis entered the 2017 season in a timeshare with Mike Gillislee, Rex Burkhead and James White, but the former Pitt Panther has taken hold on the Patriots’ backfield in recent weeks and delivered.
In his past two games, Lewis rushed for 222 yards and two touchdowns in addition to 11 catches, 64 receiving yards and another two scores.
However, he’s been an efficient runner all season, as Lewis has amassed 4.98 yards per carry, which ranked second among running backs behind only Alvin Kamara of the New Orleans Saints.
It will be interesting to see whether this trend continues. Lewis has seen more usage because Burkhead suffered a left knee injury and hasn’t played since Week 14. Per Adam Schefter of ESPN, it doesn’t look like he or Gillislee will suit up on Saturday either.
If that’s the case, then we should see more Lewis. Perhaps we won’t get 25-plus carries again, especially against a Tennessee Titans run defense that allowed just 3.44 running back yards per carry this year, per Football Outsiders. That mark is tied for fourth-best in the league.
Still, if the Pats play with a lead, we could see a lot of Lewis as New England looks to chew up the clock, play it safe and conserve its advantage.