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|Before the Philadelphia Eagles begin their quest for a repeat Scott Laughton Jersey , they'll have one more celebration.
The first Super Bowl banner in franchise history will be unveiled in front of a sellout crowd that waited seemingly forever to witness the moment.
Then it's on to defending their crown.
Coach Doug Pederson and his veteran players have preached throughout the offseason the importance of moving forward and focusing on the present if the Eagles are going to have any chance of becoming the ninth team to repeat as Super Bowl champs.
They have a tough opponent Thursday night in the NFL opener. The Atlanta Falcons were 2 yards away from knocking the Eagles out of the playoffs in the divisional round, but Matt Ryan's pass to Julio Jones fell incomplete in the right corner of the end zone.
"It's going to be a great night," Pederson said. "The fans are going to be crazy and they're going to be excited. It's going to be great for the banner to be dropped. It's going to be a great atmosphere. This football team, though, they understand this is a different season. It's a new team, new year. We're sitting here 0-0 with a great opportunity against a great opponent. Quite honestly, that's their focus."
The Falcons understand they were real close to advancing to the NFC championship game. Beating the Eagles this time around won't make up for the loss in January, but the goal now is to finish the season at home in Atlanta, where the Super Bowl will be played in February.
"They had a great team last year," Ryan said. "I'm certain that the atmosphere will be good, obviously with them celebrating (what) they did last year. Once that settles, it comes down to us, our 11 on the field against their 11."
Nick Foles filled in for Carson Wentz, led the Eagles to their first championship since 1960 and earned Super Bowl MVP honors . Foles again will be under center; Wentz hasn't been medically cleared following surgery last December to repair two torn knee ligaments.
Foles struggled in the preseason, but he was excellent when it mattered in the playoffs. Foles had a 115.7 passer rating Andre Burakovsky Jersey , completed 72.6 percent of his passes and threw for 971 yards, six TDs and one interception in three playoff wins.
"You have to get a rhythm," Foles said, comparing his quarterbacking to his days playing basketball. "If I go play pickup basketball right now, I'm not going to be very good because I haven't played in a long time. But if I play for a couple weeks, I'll be back to who I used to be. I'll be able to shoot everywhere, I'll probably be able to dunk again a little bit. It's the same with football. That's how I am as an athlete."
Some things to know about the Falcons-Eagles rematch:
THEY'RE BACK: While the Eagles won't have Wentz, three key players who also sustained season-ending injuries last year will return. Nine-time Pro Bowl left tackle Jason Peters, versatile returner/running back Darren Sproles, and playmaking linebacker Jordan Hicks are healthy and ready to go. Pederson held Peters and Sproles out in preseason but expects them to be sharp.
UNHAPPY HOMECOMING: Ryan, who grew up rooting for the Eagles and went to Philadelphia's William Penn Charter School, is 1-4 at Lincoln Financial Field. Even during his MVP season two years ago, he had his worst game in Philly. He was 18 of 33 for 267 yards with one touchdown and one interception in a 24-15 loss.
TEVIN'S TIME: Devonta Freeman (865, 7) and Tevin Coleman (628, 5) combined for 1 Sam Gagner Jersey ,493 yards rushing and 12 TDs last season, but the Eagles had the NFL's stingiest run defense and held the Falcons to 86 yards on the ground in the playoff game. Coleman, however, had 79 yards on 10 carries.
THROW IT TO JULIO: Jones, a two-time All-Pro, only had three TD catches last season and offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian wants to make sure they find him inside the red zone.
"We need to get No. 11 the ball," Sarkisian said.
MISSING MEN: Wide receivers Alshon Jeffery and Mack Hollins won't play because of injuries, so the Eagles will rely on veteran Mike Wallace, second-year pro Shelton Gibson, and Nelson Agholor to pick up the slack.
Injuries left the Avalanche playing their backup to the backup goaltender while needing a victory to stave off elimination.
The goalie nicknamed the ”Hamburglar” came through.
Andrew Hammond made a career-high 44 saves for his first postseason victory, and Colorado rallied to beat the Nashville Predators 2-1 on Friday night and sent the first-round series back to Denver for Game 6.
”Obviously, it was a lot of fun,” said Hammond, who was mobbed in the locker room. ”We’re excited to have another game. We didn’t want this to be the last one of the season, and I think to a man Kris Versteeg Jersey , we all did whatever we could to make sure that wasn’t the case.”
This is the third time the Avalanche had trailed 3-1 in a series since moving to Colorado. They lost the first two but have a chance Sunday to push the defending Western Conference champs to a seventh game after rallying with two goals in the final 4:11.
They also became the first to win a playoff game in regulation when trailing in the final 5:00 of the third since Chicago won at Boston in Game 6 of the 2013 Stanley Cup Final.
Gabriel Landeskog started the rally with his goal into an empty net with Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne caught outside the crease with his own teammate Ryan Ellis in his lap. Then Sven Andrighetto gave the Avs the lead off a rebound of a shot by J.T. Compher with 1:28 left that stunned a sold-out Nashville crowd that had expected to celebrate advancing to the second round.
”We’ve got a series again going home, and it’s going to be exciting,” Landeskog said. ”As we talked about before tonight, just to win one. We don’t have to win three in one night.”
This was not only Hammond’s first playoff victory, it was his first postseason start since April 17, 2015, with Ottawa and just the third of his career. He started only one game during the regular season after being traded to Colorado in November.
”You never know when you’re going to get a second chance,” Hammond said. ”I’ve played two games basically since the start of January – at times it felt as though that day would never come again when you’re going to play again. You keep battling in practice, you stick to the process, when you get your chance, you’re ready.”
Colorado coach Jared Bednar said he loved Hammond’s demeanor since learning he would be starting.
”He’s waited a long time this year for this opportunity, and he’s making the most of it,” Bednar said.
The series winner will face Winnipeg in the second round.
Nick Bonino scored for Nashville.
This game was scoreless until Bonino’s goal with 9:42 left, a big change for a series that had been the highest-scoring of the first round averaging 7.25 goals per game coming into Game 5.
The Predators peppered Hammond, and the only time Nashville beat him was when Mattias Ekholm’s shot bounced off his left pad and went in off Bonino’s right skate. The official on the spot immediately waved it off. Officials huddled Jacob Markstrom Jersey , then reviewed the play.
During the review, fans sang ”Let It Be” while holding up their cellphones with the flash on. Referee Kevin Pollock announced the call on the ice had been overturned , starting a long-awaited celebration.
The lead didn’t last long as the Avs rallied.
”It’s not like we didn’t have opportunities,” Nashville coach Peter Laviolette said. ”They did a pretty good job in front of him. We had lots of looks, lots of opportunities. We couldn’t get in.”
The Avalanche came into the postseason with goalie Semyon Varlamov and defenseman Erik Johnson sidelined by knee injuries, then defenseman Samuel Girard missed three games with his own upper-body injury before Jonathan Bernier, Varlamov’s backup, suffered his own lower-body injury. That pushed the Hamburglar into the net.
The Predators started and ended the second period on the power play but couldn’t beat Hammond. Their best scoring chance came with a 4-on-2, but Hammond stopped Roman Josi’s shot and then handled Calle Jarnkrok’s attempt off the rebound at 12:36. Hammond also made a big pad save on Ellis’ slap shot and then stopped another Josi shot late in the period.
NOTES: The Avalanche snapped a seven-game skid in Nashville with the win. They ended a 12-game skid to the Preds overall in Game 3. … Nashville had been perfect last postseason with a chance to clinch a series on its own ice, winning all three series to reach the Stanley Cup Final. … Predators forward Ryan Hartman sat out his suspension for a hit on Carl Soderberg in Game 4.
Game 6 in Denver on Sunday night.
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