Eagles Falcons Preview
IT’S BACCKK !! Before I jump into the Eagles and Falcons preview, I want to sincerely congratulate all of you who’ve gotten through the longest period of the year. The wait is finally over and NFL football is officially back. Without further ado let’s jump into this week’s matchup against the Atlanta Falcons.
Eagles' Advantages: The Falcons’ defense isn’t good. There’s really no other way to put it. In 2014, the Falcons gave up a league worst 398 yards per game and 26 points per game which was 6th worst in the league. The Falcons have issues in the secondary, and a big part of that is their lack of pass rush. Atlanta , as a team recorded 22 sacks in 2014. Perspective: Justin Houston of the Kansas City Chiefs had 22 sacks by himself in 2014.
On paper, the Eagles offensively matchup well against the Falcons. The first thing Chip Kelly wants to do is run the ball. In 2014, the Eagles ranked 9th as a team in rushing yards per game at 125 per. The Falcons meanwhile gave up 110 yards per game on defense which ranked 21st the league. Look for Chip Kelly to show off his new toys in the backfield in DeMarco Murray and Ryan Mathews and establish the run game early.
The player the Eagles should avoid on the Falcons is Desmond Trufant. In 2014, PFF ranked the 3rd year star out of Washington the NFL’s 6th best corner, giving up only 2 touchdowns and an NFL rating of 74. Those numbers are pretty impressive when you factor in the lack of pass rush the Falcons had. The Eagles will more than likely target the middle of the field and the left side of the field where rookie cornerback JalenCollins will be. I’m sure Chip Kelly is fully aware that this will be Jalen Collins’ first career game and will attack him early and often.
Falcons' Advantages: The Falcons’ offense is led by franchise quarterback Matt Ryan and pro-bowl receiver Julio Jones. The connection that those two have formed over the last few years can’t be overlooked and should be the Eagles’ top priority to stop. Let’s face it, you can’t stop players like Julio Jones and Matt Ryan, you can only hope to contain them. Julio Jones is coming off a career year where he caught 104 passes for 1,593 yards and 6 touchdowns.
The Eagles, as we all know, struggled against the pass in 2014 as they ranked 31st giving up 265 yards per game through the air. The Falcons meanwhile averaged the 5th best air-attack in 2014 averaging 285 yards per game. The Eagles did go out and sign former Seahawk Byron Maxwell in free agency and made other moves to improve their secondary. But, it’s week 1 and there could be some communication breakdowns that result in big plays for Atlanta . Expect the Eagles to use a variety of coverages on Julio Jones. The best thing to do is mix things up to keep Matt Ryan off balance. Who knows, maybe Byron Maxwell will shadow Julio Jones. That’d be fun to see, eh?
Look for Atlanta to exploit the new look Eagles’ secondary and take some chances. Julio Jones moves everywhere on offense, from both the outside left and right receiver positions to also inside the slot. Watch for Eric Rowe to be tested in his first ever regular season game. Whether Rowe is lined up outside on nickel packages or if the Eagles decide to move him inside, Atlanta will look to get Julio Jones and or Roddy White matched up with the rookie corner.
PREDICITION: This game should feature a lot of big plays and a lot of points. As good as the Falcons are on offense, their defense simply isn’t ready for the Eagles high powered offense. With the inability to get pressure on the quarterback and a soft front 4, I expect the Eagles to dominate in the trenches. I’ve got the Eagles scoring a ton in this one.