Game Day Preview: Atlanta Falcons (0-0) Vs. Philadelphia Eagles (0-0)

Updated: Aug 2, 2019


Written by: Alexander Amir


Preview

The NFL season opens with a rematch of the 2017 NFC Divisional round of the playoffs, a game that the Eagles won 15-10 on the way to their Super Bowl victory. Once again, Philly will be missing star QB Carson Wentz, and it will come down to Nick Foles to win this game again. Atlanta’s offense took a huge step back from their 2016 form, and struggled with new offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian. Especially against Philadelphia’s extremely strong defense, Matt Ryan and the rest of the offense will need to learn from last year and put up a lot of points.


Players to watch


Nick Foles is obviously the most important player in the game — he will decide if the Eagles win or lose. When he’s comfortable in the pocket he is a very good quarterback, so Atlanta’s Vic Beasley will play a big role as he’s just two years removed from a 15-sack season. Philly’s Dallas Goedert and Nelson Agholor will take on much bigger receiving roles as Alshon Jeffery is out with injury. Falcons linebacker Deion Jones will have to put his coverage skills to work against top target Zach Ertz to take away the team’s biggest receiving threat. Calvin Ridley may be Atlanta’s most important offensive player. If he creates space for himself there are simply too many weapons on the Falcons to cover effectively.


Atlanta’s keys to the game

  • Protect Matt Ryan

  • Pressure Nick Foles

  • Spread the ball around

Philadelphia’s keys to the game

  • Establish the run

  • Win press coverage on defense

  • Nelson Agholor steps up

Injury list

Eagles

  • Carson Wentz, QB (Out)

  • Alshon Jeffery, WR (Out)

  • Mack Hollins, WR (Out)

  • Richard Rodgers, TE (Out)

  • Jay Ajayi, RB (Probable)

  • Nigel Bradham, LB (Suspension)

Falcons

  • Ben Garland, C (Questionable)

  • Isaiah Oliver, CB (Questionable)

  • Blidi Wreh-Wilson, CB (Questionable)


Top 5 Fantasy Players

  • Julio Jones, WR (ATL)

  • Zach Ertz, TE (PHI)

  • Devonta Freeman, RB (ATL)

  • Matt Ryan, QB (ATL)

  • Jay Ajayi, RB (PHI)


Prediction

At full health, the Eagles are arguably the best team in the league. However, their top quarterback, receiver, and linebacker are all missing, and Atlanta is no slouch. The Falcons have solidified their offensive line and have so many weapons for Matt Ryan to throw to, and I fully expect offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian to bring this offense back up to its potential. Nick Foles was sacked just twice in last year’s playoffs, so this game will come down to the Atlanta front four against Philly offensive line. Atlanta will be hungry after last year’s poor performance in the playoffs and I expect high energy from them. They will jump out to an early lead and force Foles to repeat his playoff performance. I don’t think he will.


Final Score: Falcons, 24-17

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