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January 04, 2018

NFC wild-card picks roundup: Who will the Eagles face in playoff opener?

Eagles NFL
010418_NFC-QBs_usat USA TODAY Sports/File

The Eagles will have to face one of these three quarterbacks – Matt Ryan, Cam Newton or Drew Brees – in the divisional round of the NFL playoffs.

The good news for Eagles fans is that their team can't lose this weekend. The bad news is, what unfolds during the first round of the NFL playoffs, specifically in the NFC, could go a long way toward deciding the outcome of next Saturday's playoff opener.

No matter their opponent, analysts are down on the Birds after seeing back-to-back subpar performances from their offense in the wake of losing Carson Wentz for the season. But are they the most vulnerable team in the entire playoffs?

The oddsmakers give them the sixth-best odds to win the Super Bowl but, according to Cody Benjamin over CBSSports.com, they are the least feared team in the NFC – if not in the entire NFL – despite having the No. 1 overall seed (and the home field advantage that comes along with it):

On paper, the Eagles are No. 1 in the NFC and, just from their record, No. 1 in the NFL, but they may very well also be the least feared of any NFC playoff team. If it weren't for the Tennessee Titans, in fact, they might be the least feared of any playoff team across the league.

Now, does that actually mean anything? Probably not. This is a league where parity reigns supreme, where Wild Card candidates have won Super Bowls and where correlation between NFC playoff teams' head-to-head matchups has been hard to find. In other words, if the "any given Sunday" moniker applies anywhere, it's right in the Eagles' playoff picture, which is guaranteed to kick off against one of three NFC South clubs on Saturday, Jan. 13.  [cbssports.com]

It's true, the Eagles will be facing one of the three teams from the South to make the NFC playoffs – the New Orleans Saints, the Atlanta Falcons and the Carolina Panthers – and although the games haven't been played yet, if the chalk holds, it's looking like Nick Foles is going to get a rematch against Drew Brees and the Saints, who eliminated the Birds from the postseason in their most recent appearance (2014).

At least that's what the experts are saying.

Since the Eagles have a bye, we turned our attention to the four NFC teams that will be playing on wild-card weekend in order to gauge who the Birds can expect to welcome into Lincoln Financial Field next Saturday. Here's a look at who they believe will head to Philly for the divisional round of the playoffs (and how they got there).

PHILLYVOICE.COM

Jimmy Kempski, PhillyVoice.com: Saints
Rams over Falcons
Saints over Panthers

NFL.COM

Elliot Harrison, NFL.com: Saints
Rams over Falcons
Saints over Panthers

CBS SPORTS

CONSENSUS: NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (5 of 8)

Pete Prisco, CBS Sports: Falcons
Falcons over Rams
Saints over Panthers

Jason La Canfora, CBS Sports: Saints
Rams over Falcons
Saints over Panthers

Will Brinson, CBS Sports: Saints
Rams over Falcons
Saints over Panthers

Jared Dubin, CBS Sports: Panthers
Rams over Falcons
Panthers over Saints

Ryan Wilson, CBS Sports: Saints
Rams over Falcons
Saints over Panthers

John Breech, CBS Sports: Falcons
Falcons over Rams
Saints over Panthers

Dave Richard, CBS Sports: Saints
Rams over Falcons
Saints over Panthers

Jamey Eisenberg, CBS Sports: Saints
Rams over Falcons
Saints over Panthers

ESPN.COM

CONSENSUS: NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (6/9)

Matt Bowen, ESPN: Saints
Rams over Falcons
Saints over Panthers

Mike Clay, ESPN: Saints
Rams over Falcons
Saints over Panthers

Mike Golic, ESPN: Falcons
Falcons over Saints
Saints over Panthers

Dan Graziano, ESPN: Saints
Rams over Falcons
Saints over Panthers

Lisa Kerney, ESPN: Falcons
Falcons over Saints
Saints over Panthers

Mina Kimes, ESPN: Saints
Rams over Falcons
Saints over Panthers

Kevin Seifert, ESPN: Saints
Rams over Falcons
Saints over Panthers

Seth Wickersham, ESPN: Falcons
Falcons over Saints
Saints over Panthers

Trey Wingo, ESPN: Saints
Rams over Falcons
Saints over Panthers

SPORTS ILLUSTRATED/MMQB

CONSENSUS: NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (8/11)

Peter King, SI.com/MMQB: Saints
Rams over Falcons
Saints over Panthers

Jenny Vrentas, SI.com/MMQB: Saints
Rams over Falcons
Saints over Panthers

Robert Klemko, SI.com/MMQB: Saints
Rams over Falcons
Saints over Panthers

Andy Benoit, SI.com/MMQB: Saints
Rams over Falcons
Saints over Panthers

Jonathan Jones, SI.com/MMQB: Falcons
Falcons over Rams
Saints over Panthers

Tim Rohan, SI.com/MMQB: Saints
Rams over Falcons
Saints over Panthers

Conor Orr, SI.com/MMQB: Falcons
Falcons over Rams
Saints over Panthers

Mark Mravic, SI.com/MMQB: Saints
Rams over Falcons
Saints over Panthers

Andrew Brandt, SI.com/MMQB: Saints
Rams over Falcons
Saints over Panthers

Kalyn Kahler, SI.com/MMQB: Saints
Rams over Falcons
Saints over Panthers

Gary Gramling, SI.com/MMQB: Falcons
Falcons over Rams
Saints over Panthers

BLEACHER REPORT

CONSENSUS: NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (2/2)

Chris Simms, Bleacher Report: Saints
Rams over Falcons
Saints over Panthers

Chris Roling, Bleacher Report: Saints
Rams over Falcons
Saints over Panthers

SBNATION

CONSENSUS: ATLANTA FALCONS (4/7)

Ryan van Bibber, SBNation: Saints
Rams over Falcons
Saints over Panthers

Stephen White, SBNation: Saints
Rams over Falcons
Saints over Panthers

Geoff Schwartz, SBNation: Saints
Rams over Falcons
Saints over Panthers

Harry Lyles Jr., SBNation: Falcons
Falcons over Rams
Saints over Panthers

Jeanna Thomas, SBNation: Falcons
Falcons over Rams
Saints over Panthers

Adam Stites, SBNation: Falcons
Falcons over Rams
Saints over Panthers

Joel Thorman, SBNation: Falcons
Falcons over Rams
Saints over Panthers

SPORTING NEWS

CONSENSUS: NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (2/2)

David Steele, Sporting News: Saints
Rams over Falcons
Saints over Panthers

Vinnie Iyer, Sporting News: Saints
Rams over Falcons
Saints over Panthers

MORE PICKS

Colin Cowherd, FOX SportsSaints
Rams over Falcons
Saints over Panthers

OddsSharkSaints
Rams over Falcons
Saints over Panthers

Benjamin Hoffman, The New York TimesSaints
Rams over Falcons
Saints over Panthers

Teddy Cutler, Newsweek: Falcons
Falcons over Rams
Saints over Panthers

FINAL TALLY

•  SAINTS: 31 (69%)
•  FALCONS: 13 (29%)
•  PANTHERS: 1 (2%)



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