PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Quarterback Matt Ryan has one other shot at a cheerful homecoming.
A berth within the NFC championship sport is at stake when Ryan leads the Atlanta Falcons (11-6) in opposition to the Philadelphia Eagles (13-Three) in a divisional playoff Saturday. Ryan, who grew up rooting for the Eagles and went to Philadelphia’s William Penn Constitution College, is 1-Three on the Linc.
“I’m used to it now,” Ryan mentioned about returning residence. “Enjoying so long as I’ve, I perceive no matter the place we play it’s important to be at your finest each week. The one good half is there will probably be loads of acquainted faces, pleasant faces after the sport, which is at all times good.”
Ryan had his worst sport of his MVP season final 12 months in Atlanta’s 24-15 loss in Philly on Nov. 13, 2016. He was 18 of 33 for 267 yards with one landing and one interception.
“Clearly, there will probably be some scheme from that sport that we’ll take, what went effectively and what didn’t go effectively and attempt to enhance on that,” Ryan mentioned. “We’re a unique crew than we had been final 12 months once we performed them they usually’re a unique crew. It will likely be some carry over, however it will likely be somewhat bit totally different.”
Right here’s some issues to observe for when the groups meet within the playoffs for the primary time since Philadelphia’s win over Michael Vick’s Falcons within the 2005 NFC championship sport:
NICK’S UP: Nick Foles makes his fourth begin since changing Carson Wentz after the MVP candidate tore his ACL in Week 14. Foles performed effectively in his first 5 quarters and struggled within the subsequent 5. He’s definitely a drop-off from Wentz, however he’s additionally able to spectacular performances. Foles as soon as tossed seven TDs in a sport in 2013. He had 4 TDs in his first begin in Week 15.
“There’s sufficient substance behind his profession that deserves having confidence,” Eagles offensive coordinator Frank Reich mentioned.
`NORTHEAST’ NOISE: There’s crowd noise, after which there’s the noise generated by Philadelphia followers recognized for his or her depth.
Falcons coach Dan Quinn appeared to seek for a well mannered time period to check Eagles followers with the followers the crew heard in final week’s wild-card win on the Los Angeles Rams.
“I’m not going to say extra passionate, however I might say extra Northeast,” Quinn mentioned with a smile.
The Falcons have pumped in synthetic noise in follow this week however will lean closely on Ryan and middle Alex Mack to make use of their expertise with silent counts and hand indicators.
“That’s big,” mentioned tight finish Levine Toilolo. “That’s the place all of it begins, coming off the ball, the cadence and stuff like that. We undoubtedly work on that each week. Their followers, we’re anticipating a loud crowd in a giant playoff sport.”
Mack mentioned he expects Philadelphia’s followers “to be actually devoted, actually loud, actually concerned. So it’s going to be a problem simply when it comes to crowd noise.”
COMFORT ZONE: After main the league in scoring in 2016, the Falcons completed the common season 15th with first-year offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian.
Atlanta averaged 22.1 factors per sport, down from 33.eight final season.
Ryan says he has turn out to be extra comfy with Sarkisian, particularly the final two weeks in wins over Carolina and the Rams.
“I feel Sark has achieved an important job of discovering who we’re week to week, particularly the final two weeks I feel he’s achieved an important job,” Ryan mentioned.
STOPPING JULIO: The Eagles had some success in opposition to Julio Jones of their win final 12 months, maintaining him out of the tip zone however permitting 10 catches for 135 yards. Jalen Mills held him to 4 catches for 48 yards when he was matched up in opposition to Jones. The second-year professional is assured he can comprise Jones once more. Ronald Darby must cowl Jones when he’s on his aspect.
“It’s important to suppose the ball is coming to him every play,” Mills mentioned. “Whether or not they’re having a run or a cross play, you’ve simply bought to suppose the ball is coming to him.”
MULTIPLE BACKS: Each groups have choices within the backfield. The Falcons are led by Devonta Freeman, who had 865 yards speeding and 7 TDs. Tevin Coleman had 628 yards speeding and 5 TDs. LeGarrette Blount led the Eagles with 766 yards speeding and scored two TDs. Jay Ajayi had 873 yards speeding and one TD mixed with the Dolphins and Eagles. He ran for 130 yards in opposition to Atlanta in Miami’s win on Oct. 15.