The Eagles were widely considered to be one of the worst teams before Week 1. Many even put them in the bottom five of the league because of Jalen Hurts‘s unproven play. Outside of the offensive and defensive lines, the Philadelphia roster is bare. There aren’t many position groups that spark optimism. Yet, they utterly embarrassed the Falcons in Week 1 — dominated from start to finish.
The Falcons are equally as talent-deficient as the Eagles, but they were pushed around in the trenches because Atlanta’s best players aren’t as prominent across the line. Jake Matthews, Chris Lindstrom, and Grady Jarrett are the only players in the trenches worth building around outside of those still developing.
The embarrassing performance the Falcons put on the field has made many fans and analysts believe Atlanta will surely be picking in the top five for the second-straight year. The NFC South is a difficult division, featuring the reigning Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers returning their entire team; New Orleans is still loaded even after losing Drew Brees, and the Panthers look competitive with Sam Darnold at the helm.
The Falcons don’t have reinforcements coming outside of Matt Gono and Josh Andrews, so there is no reason to believe they can turn things around at the drop of a hat. Atlanta will have to completely change their approach if they want to stack a few wins. After watching the Eagles game, it isn’t entirely dramatic to think Terry Fontenot will be picking exactly where he was in his first NFL draft.
It is an overreaction because it is just Week 1, and shenanigans will happen. The Packers scored fewer points than the Falcons; think that will happen again? Arthur Smith’s first game didn’t go as planned and is probably one he wants to forget, but the NFL season is a long one. Rarely ever do the teams who start hot in September and October finish the season that way; just look at the Steelers and Buccaneers paths from 2020.
This could also be considered an overreaction if Nick Sirianni and Jalen Hurts are more dangerous than once considered. If the Eagles end up winning the NFC East, this loss will sting quite a bit less. It is just Week 1, but the Falcons are surely in the thick of things as one of the worst teams in the league.