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GiveLife.ca

    

PRINT EDITION
Eagles' Jay Train back in service for divisional playoff
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After sitting for 19 days, Ajayi ready to steamroll the soaring Falcons
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By ROB MAADDI
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
  
  

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Saturday, January 13, 2018 – Page S3

PHILADELPHIA -- Jay Ajayi is rested, refreshed and ready.

The Philadelphia Eagles can jump aboard the Jay Train when they plan to host Atlanta in an NFC divisional playoff on Saturday and try to ride Ajayi to the conference title game.

Ajayi will see his first action in 19 days when he lines up against the Falcons (11-6). He sat out the final game before enjoying his third bye week of the season - one with Miami and two with Philadelphia (13-3).

"I feel really good," said Ajayi, who has been bothered by knee issues. "No. 1 seed team with an opportunity to go get a Super Bowl. I'm grateful, I'm blessed, I'm excited for this opportunity because it's all in front of us and if we really take advantage of what we want to do and execute how we can, we can get it done."

Two weeks before he joined the Eagles, Ajayi ran for 130 yards in Miami's 20-17 win over Atlanta on Oct. 15. He hasn't carried the ball as much in Philadelphia, but he might have to be a workhorse this week.

"Same guys. My mentality hasn't changed," Ajayi said. "My mindset is always downhill, attacking, try to punish guys.

One-on-one, it's all about not being tackled."

Ajayi was the main man in Miami, averaging 20 carries a game. He had 465 yards rushing, an average of 3.4 yards and no touchdowns. Last year, Ajayi went to the Pro Bowl after running for 1,272 yards, including three 200-yard games.

After coming to Philly, he adjusted to being part of a rotation. Ajayi shared the backfield with LeGarrette Blount and Corey Clement and didn't get more than 15 carries in any game.

Ajayi finished with 408 yards rushing, one touchdown and an average of 5.8 yards a carry in seven games for the Eagles.

Blount led the team with 766 yards rushing and Clement had 321.

The offence sputtered in the past two games with Nick Foles under centre. Relying on Ajayi's running can help take pressure off Foles.

"I'm excited. I'm already a round further than I've been in my career," said Ajayi, who had 33 yards rushing in a wild-card loss to Pittsburgh last year. "For the guys who've been to the playoffs and lost, those memories of getting bounced should definitely fuel you. You should have that chip, want to get there and want to bring it home and that starts this Saturday."

The Eagles are the first No. 1 seed to be an underdog in their first playoff game. The sixthseeded Falcons are three-point favourites.

"It's not insulting. That's the storyline right now," Ajayi said.

"Without 11 [Carson Wentz], we're nothing basically. That's what we've been hearing. We're excited to come out Saturday and showcase what we can do."

It starts with getting aboard the Jay Train. Ajayi loves the nickname that he earned at Boise State. He even wears a gold train pendant on his chain.

"The Jay Train is always out," he said.

FALCONS (11-6) AT EAGLES (13-3) SATURDAY, 4:35 P. M. ET, NBC, CTV

Opening line - Falcons by 21/2 Record vs. spread - Atlanta 8-9, Philadelphia 10-5-1 Series record - Eagles lead 18-14-1 Last meeting - Eagles beat Falcons 24-15, Nov. 13, 2016 Last week - Falcons beat Rams 26-13 in wild-card game; Eagles had bye AP Pro32 ranking - Falcons No. 9, Eagles No.5 Falcons offence - over all (8), rush (13), pass (8) Falcons defence - over all (9), rush (9), pass (12) Eagles offence - over all (7), rush (3), pass (13) Eagles defence - over all (4), rush (17), pass (1)

Associated Graphic

Without starting quarterback, Carson Wentz, Philadelphia running back Jay Ajayi is ready to put the Eagles on his back as they meet the Atlanta Falcons.

JOE ROBBINS/GETTY IMAGES


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