The Atlanta Falcons and Philadelphia Eagles have each made two Super Bowls, but neither team has won the Lombardi Trophy. However, the winner of their divisional-round matchup on Saturday will move one step closer to achieving that goal.
Below, you'll find predictions and a score pick, in addition to the television schedule for this NFC matchup.
Saturday, January 13, at 4:35 p.m. ET on NBC: Atlanta Falcons at Philadelphia Eagles
The Falcons and Eagles are moving in opposite directions. After a mediocre start to the season, Atlanta has won seven of its last nine games, including victories over a trio of 11-win teams (the New Orleans Saints, Los Angeles Rams and Carolina Panthers).
One of the keys to the turnaround has been the performance of the defense, which only forced three turnovers in their first six games. However, things have changed dramatically in the takeaway department since then.
In their past 11 contests, the Falcons have caused 18 takeaways. The numbers in its past five matchups are even more impressive, as Atlanta has forced eight turnovers (one minimum in each game).
This has helped the Falcons keep their opponents from running up the score on a consistent basis. Atlanta hasn't allowed more than 23 points in any of its last seven games, and it has given up just 23 points total in its last two contests.
Meanwhile, the Eagles have struggled in their three games without quarterback Carson Wentz, who suffered a torn ACL in Week 14 and was placed on injured reserve.
The offense looked great in a 34-29 win over the New York Giants in Week 15, and backup signal-caller Nick Foles threw four touchdown passes. However, the defense did not fare well against a Giants team that ended with a 3-13 record.
In Week 16, the offense struggled to put up points against the Oakland Raiders, who Football Outsiders ranked fourth-last in defensive efficiency this year. Philadelphia scored only 10 until kicker Jake Elliott knocked home a field goal with under one minute remaining. A closing defensive touchdown gave the Eagles a 19-10 victory.
Although the Eagles rested their starters for part of their Week 17 matchup with the Dallas Cowboys with home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs wrapped up, Philadelphia's offense again struggled when the first unit was on the field. Foles went just 4-for-11 for 39 yards and one interception in a 6-0 loss.
Philadelphia's best chance at winning this game is through its defense. It needs to create turnovers and give the offense great field position to turn the tide in this one.
The bad news is that the Falcons offense has star wideout Julio Jones, who at times looks invincible. The Falcons wideout caught 88 passes for 1,444 yards this season. Although Jones was kept out of the end zone more often than not (three touchdowns), his reception and yardage numbers ranked ninth and second in the league, respectively.
The two-headed rushing attack of Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman is also stout, and No. 2 wide receiver Mohamed Sanu is an adept pass-catcher and security blanket for quarterback Matt Ryan.
The guess here is that the Eagles defense keeps the Falcons at bay for most of the game, but that Atlanta breaks through in the fourth quarter.
Also, given how well the Falcons defense has been playing, and given how poorly the Eagles offense has looked in recent weeks, the bet here is on Atlanta winning and moving on to the NFC Championship.
Pick: Falcons 27, Eagles 13