Falcons vs. Eagles
Where: Mercedes-Benz Stadium
When: Sunday, 8:20 P.M. Eastern Time
Line: Eagles -1.5
The Falcons come back to Atlanta for their season-opener looking to prove they aren’t the team that showed up in week one. Above all, turnovers and untimely mistakes made it impossible for Atlanta to overcome a Minnesota team that seemed to have it clicking on all cylinders. The task will not get any easier, however. They face off with the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday Night Football, who came back and beat the Washington Redskins in their home-opener last week.
Neither side will say they played their best game, but the most substantial leaps you will see in the NFL are from week one to week two. Dan Quinn hopes that is the case, or his job could be on the line before the season ends. He needs his men to come out with a lot more fire than they did in Minnesota, and if a primetime matchup with the last team to knock you out of the playoffs doesn’t do it, I’m not sure what will. Arthur Blank spent a boatload of money this offseason, and he didn’t do that for the Falcons to watch the postseason from the couch. Expectations remain high in Atlanta, despite the loss, but another disappointing performance could change the tone around Flowery Branch way earlier than anyone could have guessed.
Keys to the Game
Vegas thinks the Falcons have more than a puncher’s chance in this one. The overreactions to week one are common. The Falcons have lost twice in their season-openers since Dan Quinn arrived and came back to win their second game both times – one of those years being 2016 when they embarrassingly lost to the Bucs and went on to the Super Bowl. I expect the Falcons to come out with a lot more fire in week two, but I can no longer put my reputation or my money on Atlanta.
The Falcons have some monumental issues to figure out on the offensive line, on the edges defensively, and in their secondary. Those are all places I believe the Eagles can exploit. Even without Malik Jackson, Philadelphia should have no problem pressuring Matt Ryan. The Vikings were able to do it on over a third of Ryan’s pass attempts, and the Falcons haven’t been able to establish a running attack since 2016. I don’t see why that would change in this matchup against the Eagles defense.
I can no longer stand and hope Vic and Takk are going to change on a whim. They haven’t given me any reason to believe, and this new 5-2 defense looks like a failed experiment that needs to be regulated quickly. Philadelphia has a much better offensive line than Minnesota, who dominated the edge in their week one matchup. The Eagles also have a trio of backs that will remain fresh and put constant pressure on the Falcons defense.
Atlanta’s secondary might have a slightly easier task than they did a week ago at the wide receiver position, but Carson Wentz is much better at slinging the ball around the field than Kirk Cousins. If the Falcons can’t stop the run, they are going to be in a world of trouble against a team that is as complete as any in the NFL to begin the season.
Eagles 31, Falcons 20