Eagles Fans, You Can Be the Playoff Difference

The disparity between the Eagles' defense at home and on the road is dramatic.

In eight games away from the Linc, the Eagles' defense allowed 21.8 points and 332 yards per game, opposing quarterbacks had an 84.6 passer rating and opposing backs ran for 4.3 yards per carry. 

Middle of the road in each category.

In eight games at the Linc, the Eagles' defense allowed 12.5 points and 281 yards per game, opposing QBs had a 74.2 rating and opposing backs averaged 3.3 yards per carry.

Among the top two or three in the NFL in each category.

This is why you play all year for the No. 1 seed.

"You look side by side, our home games and road games, we're significantly better at home," defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz said.

"That's why it was important for us to get home-field advantage. You take the travel out of the equation [and] it's tough on opponents when the fans are loud. I know our fans will be loud."

It wasn't playing a lot of high-powered offenses, but the Eagles' defense nonetheless allowed only 45 points the last five home games. Of the Eagles' eight home opponents, only the Giants and Redskins scored more than 16 offensive points at the Linc. And one of the Giants' TD drives went only 33 yards, and one of the Redskins' drives went only 52 yards.

So the bottom line is this defense has been exceptional at the Linc, where it faces the Falcons in an NFC Conference semifinal playoff game at 4:35 p.m. Saturday.

The Eagles are 4-3 in playoff games at the Linc, but their last win there was a wild-card game over the Giants with Jeff Garcia at quarterback in 2006. They've allowed just 17.4 points per game in the postseason in the Linc's history.

The Eagles went 7-1 at the Linc this year, with the one 6-0 loss coming in a game two weeks ago against the Cowboys in a game that had no bearing on the standings.

"It's tough on the opponents in a hostile environment, and that's what Philly is," Schwartz said. "That's what the Linc is.

"It's been a great home-field advantage for us over the course of the season, and it's not just the players on the field. The fans in the stands are going to mean an awful lot to coming out with a victory on Saturday."

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