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Sports with Amy Donaldson for January 8th, 2018

Updated NFL playoff bracket: Divisional-round matchups, analysis, more:

No. 6 Atlanta Falcons at No. 1 Philadelphia Eagles

Saturday, Jan. 13: 4:35 p.m. ET, NBC | Game HQ

Falcons lowdown: After some early-season struggles, the Falcons now have the look of a low-seed that no team wants to play. They’ve won seven of their past nine games, and Saturday night’s choke-out of the high-scoring Los Angeles Rams demonstrated how Atlanta can win a defensive/ball-possession game. It was amazing to see the Falcons pull out the 26-13 win, even as quarterback Matt Ryan threw shorter (3.8 air yards per pass) than in any game of his career. Their ability to navigate a cross-country trip, and a slippery track at the Los Angeles Coliseum, bodes well for a long playoff run. Read more on the Falcons from Vaughn McClure.

Eagles lowdown: These are teeth-grinding times in Philadelphia, where the season-ending knee injury of quarterback Carson Wentz has stunted anticipation about a Super Bowl run. The Eagles’ offensive scoring output dropped by almost half in the three games backup Nick Foles has started — from 28.3 points to 15.7 points per game — and it’s fair to question whether they can navigate the playoffs without Wentz. And in a trend that has gained attention recently, the Eagles’ defense allowed seven touchdown passes over their final four games, tied for third most in the NFL. Could they have discovered a solution during their first-round bye? Read more on the Eagles from Tim McManus.

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College Football Playoff: 10 NFL prospects to watch during the national championship game:

The College Football Playoff national championship game on Monday night between Georgia and Alabama will have plenty of NFL-caliber talent on display. Here’s a look at some of the top draft-eligible prospects to watch in the national title game: MINKAH FITZPATRICK, DEFENSIVE BACK, ALABAMA, JR. Fitzpatrick is as versatile as they come. The 6-1, 202-pounder played all over Alabama’s secondary this season, seeing time at both safety spots and cornerback. He has great ball skills and range from the safety spot and can play both man and zone as a corner. Look for Alabama to move him around the field to try to confuse Georgia freshman quarterback Jake Fromm.

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U of U play UCLA on Friday, January 12th

 


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