Ryan aims to make lat­est visit to Philly a happy home­com­ing

The Maui News - - SPORTS - By ROB MAADDI

PHILADEL­PHIA — Quar­ter­back Matt Ryan has an­other shot at a happy home­com­ing.

A berth in the NFC cham­pi­onship game is at stake when Ryan leads the At­lanta Fal­cons (11-6) against the Philadel­phia Ea­gles (13-3) in a divi­sional play­off today. Ryan, who grew up root­ing for the Ea­gles and went to Philadel­phia’s Wil­liam Penn Char­ter School, is 1-3 at the Linc.

“I’m used to it now,” Ryan said about re­turn­ing home. “Play­ing as long as I have, I un­der­stand re­gard­less of where we play you have to be at your best ev­ery week. The one nice part is there will be a lot of fa­mil­iar faces, friendly faces af­ter the game, which is al­ways nice.”

Ryan had his worst game of his MVP sea­son last year in At­lanta’s 24-15 loss in Philly on Nov. 13, 2016. He was 18of-33 for 267 yards with one touch­down and one in­ter­cep­tion.

“Ob­vi­ously, there will be some scheme from that game that we’ll take, what went well and what didn’t go well and try to im­prove on that,” Ryan said. “We’re a dif­fer­ent team than we were last year when we played them and they’re a dif­fer­ent team. It will be some carry over, but it will be a lit­tle bit dif­fer­ent.”

The teams meet in the play­offs for the first time since Philadel­phia’s win over Michael Vick’s Fal­cons in the 2005 NFC cham­pi­onship game.

Nick Foles makes his fourth start for the Ea­gles since re­plac­ing Car­son Wentz af­ter the MVP can­di­date tore his ACL in Week 14.

While Foles is cer­tainly a dropoff from Wentz, he’s also ca­pa­ble of spec­tac­u­lar per­for­mances — he once tossed seven TDs in a game in 2013. He had four TDs in his first start in Week 15.

“There’s enough sub­stance be­hind his ca­reer that mer­its hav­ing con­fi­dence,” Ea­gles of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Frank Reich said.

AP pho­tos

Matt Ryan and the At­lanta Fal­cons face the Ea­gles in an NFC divi­sional-round game today in Philadel­phia. Ryan has a 1-3 record at the Linc.

Ea­gles quar­ter­back Nick Foles, tak­ing over for Car­son Wentz, threw four touch­downs in his first start of the sea­son, a 34-29 win over the New York Gi­ants in Week 15.

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