Philadelphia Eagles football is finally back. For real this time. The Eagles are set to play the first game of their 2015 NFL regular season schedule tonight against the Atlanta Falcons on Monday Night Football. It's been a long and crazy offseason for Philadelphia. Chip Kelly made a lot of significant changes to the team's roster. Now it's up to the Eagles to prove the right moves were made.
The very early returns on Kelly's moves seem to be good. The Eagles absolutely dominated the preseason, outscoring opponents in the first half of the first three games by a score of 83-17. Sam Bradford looked especially good this summer. Expectations for the Eagles are high. A lot of national pundits have picked the Eagles as their team to win Super Bowl 50 this season. But all of this hype will mean nothing if the Eagles don't back it up.
The Eagles have their first chance to prove themselves tonight. They're on the road in the Georgia Dome. Atlanta won't have their illegal crowd noise, but they will have Matt Ryan and Julio Jones. Philadelphia's new-look secondary, which the team is apparently confident in, will be tested. Byron Maxwell will likely be responsible for handling Jones most of the time, but he might not shadow him all over the field.
The Falcons will also be tested by the Eagles. Atlanta's offensive line is a major area of concern. The Falcons have a new center and rejects from Washington and Tennessee starting at each guard position. To give one an idea of how desperate the team is for offensive line help, the Falcons recently worked out Jake Long. Meanwhile, the Eagles finished second overall in sacks last season. Philadelphia's front seven figures to be strong once again and they could be too much for the Falcons to handle.
Philadelphia's offense certainly looks different with Nick Foles and LeSean McCoy gone, but their replacements have looked good. Bradford is most talented quarterback Kelly has ever had with the Eagles. It'll be interesting to see Bradford fares in his first full regular season game since 2013. The Falcons' pass rush isn't good, but they'll likely try to test him as much as they can. If the Falcons aren't able to get home ... look out. The Falcons' defense ranked dead last in the NFL last year by Football Outsiders and Bradford might carve up this Atlanta secondary. The ground attack of Murray and Ryan Mathews will also be formidable.
Overall, the Eagles are the better team on paper. They have the talent and coaching to get this done. Their offense should be able to move the ball and score on this Falcons defense. The Eagles defense should be able to get pressure on Ryan. Now they just have to prove it.
Score prediction: 34-20, Eagles win.
Bold prediction: Sam Bradford throws four touchdown passes.
Leave your own predictions in the comments. Also use the prediction tool below: