Bleeding Green Nation already took some time to chat with The Falcoholic in order to preview this Philadelphia Eagles versus Atlanta Falcons Week 2 matchup. (You can read that here.) Today, we’re back with three reasons why each team might lose. This format forces us to consider each team’s weaknesses, rather than just being homers.
See below for three reasons why the Falcons could lose, as written by The Falcoholic’s Dave Choate. To see why I think the Eagles could lose, check out TF.
Why will the Falcons lose Sunday? From my end, I sure wish it was more of a challenge to come up with compelling reasons this week.
The reality is that there are plenty of reasons to pick against them, and only a handful to pick them this particular week. I say that as not only a fan of this football team, but a probably unreasonable optimist about their prospects this year. They were always going to need to weather a tough start, and knowing what I know about their particular challenges with their first two opponents, the possibility of 0-2 had to be baked into what I thought of this year. I just hope it doesn’t come to that.
Here are three reasons the Falcons won’t win on Sunday night.
#1: The Eagles have their number
The Vikings and Eagles are the two teams — three if you count the Patriots, but I don’t really wanna talk about that — who have dominated the Falcons in the Dan Quinn era. Atlanta’s been consistently unable to gin up much in the way of offense against Minnesota and Philadelphia, and for a team that typically makes its living off of absolutely scorching opposing defenses, that’s troubling.
The reality is that the Falcons haven’t allowed all that many points, but that was with Nick Foles at the helm of the offense. The last time out, that was with a middling group of Eagles running backs. Offensively, the Falcons have mustered up just 37 combined points over their last three games against Philadelphia. They had been similarly inept against the Vikings, and as loathe as I am to acknowledge it, nothing at all changed in their Week 1 meeting.
While I’d like to believe that’s changed, the personnel in Philadelphia is not so different as to inspire a huge amount of confidence, even after that weird Week 1 effort against Washington. Pair that with a healthy Carson Wentz, who hasn’t been on the field the last two times out, and at minimum it’s going to be an awfully rough road to a win.
#2: The offensive line is still in flux
Jake Matthews is a very good tackle, so he’s probably not going to have a game like he did against Minnesota again for a while. He and Alex Mack are the closest things to sure things on that offensive line.
The reality is that the Eagles are a tough matchup, certainly close to as tough as Minnesota, and tougher on the interior. The Falcons have a solid James Carpenter at left guard, Jamon Brown making his first start of the year at right guard, and rookie Kaleb McGary and swing tackle Ty Sambrailo rotating at right tackle. There’s a chance everything clicks for that group this week, but I’m not exactly counting on it.
The biggest limiting factor for this offense in this game figures to be that line, and Matt Ryan got absolutely pounded behind it a week ago, to say nothing of the sight of three Vikings descending on Devonta Freeman before he even got close to the line of scrimmage. I think the Falcons will put up points here, but I also think there will be drives that stall out because the protection on Matt Ryan simply isn’t good enough at the moment.
#3: The run defense is such a question mark
The best thing that could possibly happen to the Falcons would be the Eagles attempting to run it up the middle all game long, but even then, the Philly offensive line is good enough to give this front seven fits. A vastly inferior Vikings OL did a fine job of getting Dalvin Cook into space a week ago, after all.
I already know Wentz and company are going to have some success passing the football — possibly quite a lot of it — but I worry that a run defense that was exposed a week ago is once again going to struggle. If the Eagles can get the ground game going and Wentz is dealing, it’s going to be awfully hard for the Falcons to keep up, even with the strength of their offense.