The Atlanta Falcons defense was statistically the worst in football for the 2014-15 season. They allowed the most yards in the league and offenses averaged 26.1 points per game versus the Falcons. Dan Quinn is the new head coach of Atlanta making the transition from defensive coordinator of the Seahawks. Quinn looks to implement his style of 4-3 physical defense which the Falcons have been lacking in the toughness department for quite some time. I believe Quinn will certainly improve the defense and he better hope for his sake he wins more games than the defensive coordinator prior to him Gus Bradley who’s finding life difficult in Jacksonville.
Jason Peters vs. Vic Beasley
Peters has long been regarded as one of the best left tackles as well as offensive linemen in the entire league. He will more than likely be lining up opposite rookie 1st round pick of the Falcons Vic Beasley from Clemson. Beasley was selected number 8 overall for a defense badly in need of an edge rusher. Some have argued he was a reach at 8, but the Falcons really had no other choice. I do believe Beasley will have a fine rookie year and bring a dynamic pass rush ability the Falcons have sorely missed in recent seasons. However, he is in for a lesson as his first regular season game comes against a multiple All-Pro selection in Peters. Beasley weighs out at 246 pounds which can make defending the run game a potential weak spot. Were all aware the Eagles like to run the football especially to Peters side. In my opinion, Beasley is already the best pass rusher on the roster coupled with the fact free agent signee Brooks Reed will not play for the first month or so due to groin surgery. The Eagles have a decided edge in this matchup between Peters and Beasley.
Demarco Murray/ Ryan Mathews vs. Paul Worrilow
Both new Eagles running backs Murray and Mathews are receiving threats out of the backfield. Worrilow is an undrafted free agent out of Delaware who’s been a member of the Falcons since 2013. He led the Falcons in tackles last season which is really not saying much. Worrilow is a nice rotational linebacker, but I don’t view him as a capable starter in this league. According to Pro Football Focus, Worrilow received the third lowest grade among linebackers in coverage last season. Chip and Pat Shurmur have to be licking their chops at the thought of getting either Murray or Mathews isolated on Worrilow in open space. I did not include Darren Sproles here because Dan Quinn would be out of his skull to put any Falcons linebacker on Sproles let alone Worrilow. I see the scale tilting in the Eagles favor for this potential matchup.
Jordan Matthews vs. Phillip Adams
Matthews is a budding superstar in this league and is poised for another monster season in Chip Kelly’s offense. We saw Matthews run primarily out of the slot last season and that has not changed during this preseason. He looks in great shape and made a few fine high point catches during the action he saw. On the other hand, Adams is listed as the nickel back for the Falcons after he played in 12 games for the Jets last season. Quinn is familiar with the corner as he had a few stints over the years with the Seahawks. It remains to be seen if Quinn decides to line up his nickel corner Adams on the Eagles “slot wide receiver.” Matthews should have a field day if this is the case. Rookie corner Jalen Collins is also further down the depth chart and may see snaps as well. Desmond Trufant and Robert Alford are the starting corners for Atlanta. Either one may draw the assignment of Matthews and I honestly still like Matthews in those matchups due to the size difference. I wouldn’t be surprised if JMatt goes for double digit catches and at least one touchdown on Monday Night.
h/t Pro Football Focus
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