The Philadelphia Eagles have an opportunity in front of them.
A win over the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday Night Football would put the Eagles at 2-0 for just the fifth time since the 2004 season.
So, will they capitalize?
Yes, I believe they will.
The Eagles’ first half performance in Week 1 served as a humbling experience. This team should know they’re going to need a stronger effort from the start against the Falcons. Atlanta doesn’t have the best home field advantage in the league by any means but there’s going to be a sense of desperation in that dome. There’s nothing more Falcons fans and the team itself would love than to immediately jump on the Eagles after last week’s disappointing loss in Minnesota.
And so the pressure is on the Eagles to clean up their execution. The defense is especially on watch after seeing Case Keenum and Terry McLaurin have success against them. If those guys excelled, what are the much better duo of Matt Ryan and Julio Jones going to do to this defense? Expecting the Eagles to lock down Atlanta’s passing attack doesn’t feel realistic.
But there IS reason to believe the Eagles can limit the damage that’s done. Philly’s defensive line should be able to bully a Falcons offensive line that’s causing Atlanta fans to worry. Fletcher Cox going up against Jamon Brown is a big mismatch in the Eagles’ favor. The same goes for Brandon Graham, who will be licking his chops as he lines up against rookie right tackle Kaleb McGary. Derek Barnett might be able to take advantage of left tackle Jake Matthews, who struggled against the Vikings. Generating pressure will obviously be imperative to prevent the Eagles’ secondary from getting shredded.
Even if the defense struggles, it might not matter. Carson Wentz looked so damn good in Week 1. If he’s able to play on the same level in Atlanta, there’s every reason to feel confident about the Eagles’ chances in this one. We know he’ll be looking for DeSean Jackson deep down the field at some point. And if the Falcons try to take DeSean away, well, then Wentz will have plenty of intermediate targets to work with.
Wentz might not even have to really carry the Eagles with his arm. It’s entirely possible the Eagles are able to run all over the Falcons much like the Vikings did last Sunday. Atlanta’s run defense has been very bad dating back to last season. It remains to be seen how the Eagles will split their running back carries but I think this could be a real good showing Miles Sanders and/or Jordan Howard. The Eagles’ offensive line is already playing at a high level; they’re going to open holes for the ground game. Running the ball efficiently will allow the Eagles to control the clock and keep the Falcons’ offense off the field.
I tend to think this game will be close. The Eagles showed some flaws in Week 1 and they’re on the road against a desperate team. But it feels like there’s a chance the Falcons just aren’t very good? They’re 3-6 in their last nine games.
Ultimately, I like how the Eagles match up against Atlanta in the trenches. Also, Carson Wentz and Doug Pederson is a superior duo to Matt Ryan and Dan Quinn. The Falcons’ ability to potentially exploit Jim Schwartz’s defense is concerning but he’s performed well against them in the last three matchups between these teams. I think the Eagles’ defense can do enough to keep the game winnable as long as Doug Pederson’s offense is clicking.
Therefore, Eagles gonna get that W.
Score prediction: 27-24, Eagles win.
Bold prediction: Miles Sanders breaks 100 yards rushing.
Leave your own predictions in the comments.
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