The Philadelphia Eagles are scheduled to play a real football game tonight. Exciting! The Eagles are in Atlanta to take on the Falcons. Here are the five players who deserve extra attention in this matchup.
1) Sam Bradford
There's nowhere else to start but here. All eyes will be on No. 7 tonight. Bradford has looked great this summer. He looked excellent during training camp practices before then flashing positive signs in the preseason. Now it's up to Bradford to prove he can be successful in a larger sample size. This will be the first full game he's set to play since 2013. Atlanta, like most teams, will probably try to send extra rushers at Bradford in order to see how he can handle the pressure after being away from the game for so long. It's up to Bradford to really take advantage of this seemingly weak Atlanta defense and get the job done.
2) Byron Maxwell
It doesn't appear Maxwell will shadow Julio Jones all over the field, but one would expect Maxwell to be covering the talented wide receiver more often than not. Maxwell has looked like the real deal this summer. He doesn't get beat deep and he makes plays on the ball. Maxwell doesn't even need to completely shut down Jones; he just needs to keep him in check and prevent him from busting the game open.
3) Kiko Alonso
After missing most of the preseason while recovering from a concussion, Alonso made his Eagles debut against the New York Jets' backups in the fourth preseason game. He looked good in the few snaps he played. Now Alonso will be making his real debut. It will be interesting to see how the Eagles use Alonso along with DeMeco Ryans and Mychal Kendricks. The team hasn't given any hints about how they will rotate their inside linebackers.
4) Josh Huff
Huff was nearly invisible in preseason despite having a good training camp. He wasn't targeted often in the first two exhibition games and he didn't play in the third game due to the death of his god brother. Huff really struggled as a rookie but did show some flashes of legitimate talent. Much like the inside linebacker rotation, the Eagles' wide receiver rotation isn't currently known. Huff stepping up would be ideal because that might mean less reliance on Riley Cooper moving forward.
5) Brandon Graham
I can't help but imagine Graham is looking at this Falcons offensive line and salivating. Graham will be lining up across from Jake Matthews, who struggled last year as a rookie and recently received an injection to help his bad back. This is the first time ever since Graham has entered the season as a full-time starter in the NFL and you can bet he's really excited about that. Look for Graham to put the pressure on Matt Ryan early and often. Graham's pass rush could go a long way towards mitigating the threat of Julio Jones.