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Vegas projects Eagles as underdogs in most divisional round matchups

PHILADELPHIA -- Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins gave a quizzical look when asked why the fan base should be confident in this team going into the playoffs.

"Why wouldn't they be?" he said.

Because of the offensive showing the past two weeks.

"We still won 13 games, No. 1 seed, everybody's gotta come through Philly. I don't care if you were starting at quarterback, you should be confident in that," Jenkins said.

That exchange highlights the growing divide between a locker room that remains bullish on their chances of a deep postseason run, and public sentiment that's drifting the other way.

Las Vegas isn't super high on the Eagles' odds at the moment. According to Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook, the Eagles would not be favored in any of their potential divisional matchups if it were to set the lines right now. They will face the sixth-seeded Atlanta Falcons if they upset the Los Angeles Rams, or the winner of the No. 4-5 matchup between the New Orleans Saints and Carolina Panthers.

Here are the rough line projections for those games:

vs. Saints: Eagles +4.5

vs. Panthers: Eagles +3.5

vs. Falcons: Pick

This forecast is given with the caveat the lines will be shaped in part by what happens in the wild-card round, but it's telling nonetheless.

Quarterback play is clearly influencing things. Nick Foles is 23-of-49 (47 percent) for 202 yards with a TD and two interceptions since his four-touchdown outing against the New York Giants in Week 15. Tops in scoring and third-down success for much of the season under Carson Wentz, the Eagles are now struggling in both departments. The first unit is 1-of-17 on third down over the past five quarters and has scored a total of 10 points in that span.

"Obviously we aren't happy with the way we've performed the last two weeks. We don't really have time to worry," center Jason Kelce said. "We're just trying to focus on getting better and improving what's going wrong, why it's happening and correct it."

The question remains whether they'll be able to round back into form in the absence of Wentz, an MVP candidate before tearing his ACL in Week 14 at the Los Angeles Rams.

The defense, meanwhile, has turned back into its menacing self. Jim Schwartz's group has yielded 19 points over the past two games, and that's with many other starters resting Sunday in the 6-0 loss to the Dallas Cowboys.

The Eagles have the best run defense in football. They can make opposing teams one-dimensional, which should play into their hands in January at what has become a frigid Lincoln Financial Field. Compliment that with a solid ground game and an opportunistic, turnover-light passing attack, and there just might be a formula for success.

The Eagles have home-field throughout and believe they are well-positioned to accomplish their goals -- regardless of how they're being viewed on the outside.

"We've got an opportunity to win and put ourselves deep into the playoffs. We win one game, we're in the NFC Championship, at home in Philly," Jenkins said. "So yeah, I don't care who we've got at quarterback, who we've got on offense, we take those odds."