'Underdog' Birds ready for Atlanta

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My trust level in Matt Ryan is tenuous at best, my belief in Nick Foles to produce is even lower. But in truth, no one - certainly not the Eagles - thought he'd be a factor. Atlanta is the faster team, but Philadelphia is one of the biggest in football.

After posting the best record in the NFC, earning the No. 1 seed and fighting through injuries to almost every one of their top players - including of course Carson Wentz, Jason Peters and Jordan Hicks (not to mention Fletcher Cox, Darren Sproles, Ronald Darby and more) - the Birds are getting no respect. "[My message] to the team is the same thing: We have a great opportunity". Just go be Nick.

The Philadelphia Eagles can jump aboard the Jay Train when they host Atlanta in an NFC divisional playoff Saturday and try to ride Ajayi to the conference title game. Or will the Falcons move one step closer to a return trip to the Super Bowl and continue their scorching hot streak since the middle of the season? He's shown flashes at times, but deep down, he is still an average backup QB. The Eagles are going to need big plays from their wide receivers, something they haven't been able to get much with Foles at quarterback. I'm feeling so much pressure to make every single (play).

Julio Jones had 10 catches for 135 yards, but didn't score a touchdown against the Eagles in that game. The Falcons, meanwhile, secured the final wild-card slot last weekend with a victory over the Carolina Panthers.

Quarterback Matt Ryan, the suburban Philadelphia native who played his high school ball in the city, at Penn Charter, surpassed 40,000 career passing yards this season and owns a boatload of franchise passing records.

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Pederson and his staff spent the past two weeks reviewing film of Foles's past seasons - including his Pro Bowl year in 2013 - in hopes of unleashing the best version of him at the most opportune time. "He has a full (understanding) of the entire system".

Despite being the No. 1 seed, the Eagles enter the game as underdogs against the No. 6 seed Atlanta Falcons, a direct result of the team playing without quarterback Carson Wentz. In the NFC the Rams are flying high, the Falcons were just there previous year. "Having this time to self-scout, go through practice and everything, you realize that you just go out there and play". Sometimes, the hardest things are the simple things. "We've still got to go out and play, but just the attitude of the team and focused on the opponent this week".

Ajayi said Wednesday his success against the Falcons earlier this season should be an advantage for him Saturday. I expect an aggressive approach on defense and a ground and pound effort on offense. This weekend, Foles will have to go up against a defense that held Jared Goff to a 77.9 passer rating. But the Eagles have received a large amount of disrespect from the media leading up to Saturday's game, so needless to say, the Eagles will be more than energized to prove why they are the number one seed. He not only can get the ball downfield, he can do so very well. But one that, with Carson Wentz on the sideline, makes enough sense.

But Foles insists his confidence has never wavered. Nearly no one was predicting a season like the one they just had. It motivates me; it motivates a lot of guys in here.