Kickoff: 7:10 p.m. EST, September 14
Where: Georgia Dome, Atlanta, Georgia
Announcers: Jon Gruden, Mike Tirico, Lisa Salters
Radio: 92.9 The Game
The time of the year where football games actually matter is back. Although Atlanta does not play on Sunday, they play in primetime coverage on Monday Night Football. They take on Chip Kelly and the Philadelphia Eagles, who will put the Falcons to the test. All the hard work during the offseason every player went through was for this moment, and expect to see players giving it their all.
Dan Quinn will make his debut as the Atlanta Falcons’ new head coach. Quinn was a big reason why the Seahawks went to two Super Bowls in his two-year stint as defensive coordinator for the team. Falcons players have stated that Quinn has changed the locker-room culture in a great way, as he brings vibes that players want to feel. Quinn wants to bring a defensive mentality to Atlanta, as they have been on the lower tier of defenses for the past couple of years. He also wants to get the Falcons’ offense back to a dangerous unit, and he has a lot of talent to work with.
A player that the Falcons need to step up is quarterback Matt Ryan. Ryan keeps the Falcons in any football game, and he is in for a big season. He will be facing a talented secondary that features cornerback Byron Maxwell and safeties Malcolm Jenkins and Walter Thurmond. The last time Ryan faced the Eagles was in 2012, when he was 22/29 for 262 yards and 3 TD. That was 2012 though, as the Eagles have completely changed their roster and coaching personnel.
On the defense, the man that needs to step up and be the leader is Paul Worrilow. Worrilow is coming into his third-year into the NFL, and it is time he makes his name known. Worrilow had an outstanding preseason, and although those games do not matter, it was encouraging to see him making big plays at the times they needed him. The new defensive line will also need to step up, and facing the Eagles’ no-huddle attack will result in the defensive players switching in and out. The Eagles up-tempo offense will put conditioning to the test for the Falcons, and we will see how the Falcons counter that attack.
Monday Night Football, everyone watching, and being in front of your fans. The Falcons emotions will be running rampid every moment leading up to this game. The team will start a new era without former head coach Mike Smith, the winningest head coach that ever coached the organization. Dan Quinn takes on the reigns, and he has implemented the catchphrase, “fast and physical.” The Eagles will get their fair share of points, but so will the Falcons. The last time everybody was watching Atlanta play was a 34-3 loss in a game for the division title. That will not be the case on Monday, as the Atlanta Falcons will find a way to defeat the Philadelphia Eagles when the world is watching.
The Pick: Atlanta Falcons 31, Philadelphia Eagles 27