Three players to watch vs. Falcons
13 January 2018 Eagles News
It is almost that time, the Eagles are set to kickoff against the Atlanta Falcons in today’s NFC divisional playoff clash. The Eagles have had two weeks to get healthy and prepare for this game. As for the Falcons, they are coming off of a big away win versus the Los Angeles Rams in the wildcard round. The Eagles have a lot of questions to answer in this game and they are a few players who will have a bigger and more surprising role than the others. Here are the players who I think will emerge today and the ones I think you should be watching closely.
1. Jay Ajayi
During the build-up to this game, the Eagles, Jay Ajayi, and head coach Doug Pederson have talked a lot about using Ajayi in this game. It is almost like they are setting the stage for a wild performance from Ajayi. The Eagles have yet to really unleash the “Jay Train” on anyone yet and today is the perfect time for them to do so.
Last week, although he was not used as effectively as he usually is, Rams running back Todd Gurley still managed 101 yards on 14 carries. If the Eagles lean on Ajayi, he could rip off a couple big runs and open the offense up for Nick Foles and the Eagles. Ajayi is a hit or miss running back but has the capability to rush for a lot of yards and today might be the day he does for the Eagles.
2. Torrey Smith
This is a bit of a wildcard, but Torrey Smith has been there and done it in the playoffs. In a time where the Eagles need players to step up, I see Smith doing so. The Rams torched the Falcons last week with Robert Woods and Smith has the same type of ability as Woods does.
It is the perfect time for Smith to rebound from his recent poor play and come up big for the Eagles at home in the playoffs. The Eagles need to make sure they stretch the field and by doing so just once, it will change the game. I see Smith having a productive day and hauling in a big touchdown.
3. Derek Barnett
The front four needs to get pressure on quarterback Matt Ryan and like he has stepped up all season, Barnett is going to show the Eagles he is the man moving forward. The Falcons line is beaten up and the Eagles defensive line is fresh, that should tell you how that outcome should go. But, the reason I see Barnett doing well is his motor, grit, and desire to get to the quarterback. Playing on adrenalin, in a win or else situation, I think Barnett will take it up a notch and make his presence felt. Often times this season, the Eagles defensive line has made a game-changing play and today, Barnett will make one.
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