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Despite losing their MVP quarterback to a torn ACL, the Philadelphia Eagles are one game away from the Super Bowl. Next week, they will host an NFC Championship game for the first time since 2005.
They gritted out a home win over the Atlanta Falcons Saturday night, playing a mostly clean game and relying on a strong run game and defense. Nick Foles wasn’t great, but he consistently moved the chains and didn’t throw any interceptions.
The Falcons looked poised to roll early, after an Ajayi fumble gave them a quick three-point lead. But the Eagles held all night, sacking Matt Ryan three times and keeping the Falcons out of scoring position. Devonta Freeman finished with 10 carries for seven yards, as the Falcons failed to sustain momentum.
When Foles was in a rhythm, the Eagles had a balanced attack. Jay Ajayi ran physical, and LeGarrette Blount finished a short run for the Eagles’ only touchdown. Foles finished with 246 yards passing, and spread the ball to eight different receivers.
When the Eagles kicked a field goal to go up five with six minutes remaining, the crowd at Lincoln Financial Field was rocking. But Matt Ryan rocked them to sleep for the next five minutes, leading Atlanta back down the field for the winning score. Julio Jones was mostly kept in check in this game, but caught a critical pass on fourth and eleven to keep the Falcons alive.
The Falcons inched closer in the final seconds, and faced a fourth and goal from a few yards away. The Falcons attempted a pass play with one minute left, but Ryan was unable to connect with Jones for the game-winning score. Backed up in their own endzone, Foles got the Falcons defense to jump offsides, ensuring he could kneel comfortably for the win.
It’s Philadelphia’s first NFC Championship appearance since Andy Reid was head coach (2008). The Eagles have appeared in two Super Bowls in franchise history, but have never won a championship in the Super Bowl era.
In terms of opponent, it will come down to either the Vikings or the Saints. As the top seed in the NFC, the winner will be headed to Philly. The Eagles haven’t played either this season, but they had a common opponent in the LA Rams. The Eagles beat the Rams, who lost to the Vikings and defeated the Saints.
Regardless of the other game’s outcome, they will play on Championship Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field. They will play at either 3:05 p.m. or 6:40 p.m. Eastern.