The 2018 NFL Playoffs move into the Divisional Round on Saturday, beginning with a matchup between the Atlanta Falcons and Philadelphia Eagles.
The Eagles are coming off a bye and hosting this contest after a 13-win regular season that earned them the No. 1 seed in the NFC, while the sixth-seeded Falcons upset the Los Angeles Rams on the road in the Wild Card round. Not many were giving Atlanta a chance to make it past the opening weekend of the postseason, but now that they’ve advanced, they are surprisingly favorites to return to the NFC Championship for the second year in a row.
Oddsmakers have set an extremely intriguing line for this one, opening betting with the Falcons as a three-point favorite. This is the first time in league history that a No. 1 seed will be getting points against a No. 6 seed, as well as the first time the No. 1 seed has ever been an underdog in the Divisional Round. To put the spread into perspective, only five teams have been underdogs at their own digs in this round since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger and all of those instances involved the No. 2 seed.
The reasoning for this is obvious, as the Eagles have struggled since Nick Foles took over the starting quarterback gig after MVP candidate Carson Wentz went down for the season with a torn ACL late in Week 14. It’s still not something that the Philadelphia players are taking lightly, using the betting line as bulletin board material to get inspired for Saturday’s contest. Matt Lombardo tweeted that safety Malcom Jenkins is motivated by all the doubters:
Will the Eagles show the world that they are still the superior squad and deserved to be favorites by pulling the upset, or will the Falcons continue their march back to the Super Bowl after coming up short last year after an epic collapse against the New England Patriots on the biggest stage? Jon Price of SportsInformationTraders.com is once again providing his take on the action and a winning pick against the spread. Before getting to the pro Las Vegas handicapper’s predictions, take a look at the complete schedule, updated odds, TV information, start times and more for every Divisional Round game in the 2018 NFL Playoffs.