NBC

Eagles Now Know 1st Playoff Opponent

There will be a battle of the birds in Philadelphia next weekend.

There will be a battle of the birds in Philadelphia next weekend. 

With the sixth-seeded Falcons' 26-13 win over the Rams on Saturday night, they earned a trip to Philly to play the top-seeded Eagles in a week. 

The Eagles will host the Falcons next Saturday at 4:35 p.m. at the Linc on NBC. 

Because the Eagles were the top seed, they get to face the lowest remaining seed, which will be the Falcons. Had the Falcons lost, they would have faced the winner of the Saints and Panthers. 

But the Falcons it is. 

Atlanta went 10-6, securing the second and final wild card spot in the NFC this season. They lost to the Bills, Dolphins, Patriots, Panthers, Vikings and Saints this season. Five of those six were playoff teams. 

And this is the same Atlanta team that should have won the Super Bowl last season before blowing a 28-3 lead to Tom Brady and the Patriots. 

Atlanta had the eighth-best offense in the NFL this season, averaging 364.8 yards per game, but were just 15th in scoring, averaging 22.1 points per game. They averaged 249.4 through the air and 115.4 on the ground. They were pretty balanced. 

The Falcons' defense gave up just 19.7 points per game this season, eighth-best in the NFL. They were ninth against the run and 12th against the pass. 

The Eagles and Falcons didn't face each other in 2017, but they did in 2016. The Eagles beat the Falcons 24-15 on Nov. 13, 2016 at the Linc. In that game the Eagles held the Falcons to 303 total yards of offense and just 11 first downs. The Eagles held the ball for over 38 minutes. 

The Eagles have faced the Falcons three times in the playoffs. They've only faced the Cowboys more - four times.

In 1978, they lost a wild-card game to the Falcons, 14-13, at Fulton County Stadium, with the one-point differential coming when Mike Michel missed a PAT. Michel was the Eagles' punter and was only placekicking because the Eagles didn't replace kicker Nick Mike-Mayer when he got hurt late in the season. That was Michel's final NFL game.

The other two meetings with the Falcons had happier endings, and both were played at the Linc. 

In 2002, the Eagles hosted the Falcons in a conference semifinal game at the Linc and won 20-6 on Bobby Taylor's pick-six off Falcons quarterback Michael Vick. Donovan McNabb threw a 35-yard TD pass in the fourth quarter to James Thrash. 

And in the 2004 NFC Championship Game, McNabb threw two touchdown passes to tight end Chad Lewis, who suffered a season-ending foot injury on the second one, which turned a 10-point fourth-quarter lead into a clinching 17-point lead with 3 1/2 minutes left.

The Falcons are 3-8 in franchise history in road playoff games, including four straight losses. Their last win was over the Packers at Lambeau Field in 2002. 

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