Eagles vs Falcons Preview – Week 1

Welcome back to football.  It’s been a long 8 months since the Super Bowl in February.  The Eagles made a fury of moves turning over this roster through trades and free agency.  At first we couldn’t quite see the pieces coming together but as we inched toward training camp, pre season and eventually the regular season we started seeing the vision.  Eagles have quickly become the sexy pick for Super Bowl 50.  Vegas has bumped them up to the 3rd highest odds as well.

Eagles Falcons 7:00 PM ESPN

The last time the Eagles opened on MNF was the start of the 2013 season when they shocked the Redskins and football fans across the country with their speed and pace of play.  This Monday the Eagles will take flight vs the Falcons with a drastically different team.

Going into this season Bradford was my number concern regarding his durability and overall health.  I have to be honest, I’ve shifted to the defense.  It looks like Nolan Carroll will be in the slot leaving Eric Rowe or EJ Biggers outside.  Based on what I saw of Rowe and Biggers this preseason and camp I would be shocked if it wasn’t Biggers getting the nod opposite Maxwell.  Biggers struggled a bit in the slot during the preseason but was able to hold his own outside.  EJ Biggers is a 7 year veteran with experience to match.  He will likely be matched up with opposing veteran WR Roddy White.  Rowe will play in some sub packages and expect Matt Ryan and the Falcons to target him every time he’s on the field.

I don’t expect the Falcons to have an great year overall but they are very tough in the Georgia Dome.  Matt Ryan has never lost an  opening game in that building.  The crowd will be into it, the Falcons will be excited and they are a little bit of a mystery especially on defense with new coach Dan Quinn.  This match – up is all about the Eagles defensive backs vs the Falcons skill players.  I don’t believe the Falcons will be able to run the ball vs our front seven but will have some success through the air.

The Eagles are going into this game very healthy relatively speaking.  The only Eagles listed on the injury report are Zach Ertz and Marcus Smith.  Ertz missed all of the preseason with core muscle surgery.  This is a tricky injury because it’s very easy to re-injure.  Ertz practiced this week and has a shot at playing.   Ultimately I would prefer if Ertz sit out.  Another week of rest wouldn’t hurt.  Smith is coming back from a hamstring but let’s be honest.  It doesn’t matter whether he plays or not.  He won’t contribute.

Here is an excerpt from philadelphiaeagles.com regarding Altanta’s Injury report:

The Atlanta Falcons released their first injury report of the 2015 season. Included on the list were linebacker Joplo Bartu (quad), running back Devnota Freeman (hamstring), wide receiver Devin Hester (toe), tackle Jake Matthews (back), outside linebacker Brooks Reed (groin), defensive back Robenson Therezie (groin) and wide receiver Roddy White (elbow). Among those on the list, White was the only player who was a full participant, which is a good sign for his availability Monday night. The veteran underwent elbow surgery to remove bone spurs during the preseason.  Limited in practice were Bartu, Freeeman, Matthews and Therezie. Freeman was Atlanta’s top running back before losing the job to rookie Tevin Coleman, who will make his NFL debut against Philadelphia. Matthews is the team’s starting left tackle, but it remains uncertain whether the injury will impact his availability.  Keeping an eye on Brooks’ status as the week continues will be important for the Eagles as well. The Falcons’ starting linebacker did not practice Thursday afternoon, and it is highly unlikely he will play in Monday’s game. Brooks underwent surgery and is scheduled to miss six weeks during his recovery. Hester, the receiver/return specialist, also did not practice for Atlanta – philadelphiaeagles.com.

Prediction – If you listened to episode 5 of the Birds Scoop Podcast you know I’m very bullish on the Eagles.  I expect them to have a great year.  I believe that starts next Sunday at LFF against Dallas.  The Eagles are going into this game with 3/4 of their secondary being replaced from the following year.  The Falcons have a top 5 receiving corp and this will present a solid test right out of the gate. This game is going to be a high scoring contest.  The Falcons are tough at Home and ultimately I think they will pull it out.  Eagles 28 – Falcons 31

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