Match-Up Focus: Eagles vs Falcons


2015 WEEK 1 PHI 24 ATL 26

2012 WEEK 8 ATL 30 PHL 17

2011 WEEK 2 PHI 31 ATL 35

Player to Watch – Wendell Smallwood

Smallwood needs to see more snaps.  Take the Dallas play out of the equation.  Everyone time he’s been on the field he’s been productive.  Last week he takes a 1st Q carry for 19 yards and doesn’t see another carry the rest of the game.  Darren Sproles can simply not hold up at the rate he’s going.  I want to see this kid involved more.  He led the Big 12 in rushing last year.  They drafted him for a reason it’s time to use him.  Per he grades out through 9 weeks at 51.0 overall with a receiving of 56.8.  I’ll be honest I don’t care about his grade.  He hasn’t even had consistent snaps so his real grade should be incomplete.  This is a multiple HB league now and the Eagles needed to get others involved.  Don’t forget about Kenyon Barner either.  He can play.

Player to Watch – Zach Ertz

If you haven’t believed me about Zach Ertz being a volume catcher last week was the perfect example.  After a good week 1 start vs Cleveland he’s battle injuries and some very inconsistent play.  Last week might have been his best game of the year.  He caught 8 balls for 97 yards at 12.1 per with a long of 30.  For the season he has 23 catches for 247 yards at 10.7 per with 0 TDs.  I think he has finds the end zone this week.  On the season his overall PFF grade is 51.9.  I expect that to increase as we see the Eagles develop this downfield passing game.  It’s no secret Ertz had his best game of the year when the Eagles got vertical.  Hopefully they can keep it vertical.  If they do we will see more games like this from Ertz.

Match-Up to Watch – Jordan Matthews vs Brian Poole

I really like Jordan Matthews.  I think he’s a solid team guy and a WR you can build around.  Is he a number 1?  I think we all know the answer to that but he’s been productive while he’s been on the field.  Just wait until the Eagles get a true number 1 and see what that does to Matthews numbers.  This week he has an interesting matchup with Falcons rookie DB Brian Poole.  Poole has been solid in his slot CB role and has arguably been one of the better slot guys in the league.  Per he grades out at 78.9 ranking him 28th in the league.  It’s not 28th out of slot corners but the entire crop of guys.  He’s playing well.  He has the physicality to play Jordan well.  Matthews comes into this week 10 game with a 71.6 rating per  The Falcons defense has struggled at times this year.  I like this matchup for the Eagles offense in general.  During the first 8 games Matthews has 42 grabs for 507 yards and 3 TD’s with an average of 63.4 yards per game.  If he keeps on this pace he’ll tally 84 catches for 1014 yards and 6 TDs.  Just imagine what these numbers would be with number 1 threat on the other side.

Player to Watch – Tevin Coleman

The Falcons other running back to Devonta Freeman has missed the last two games with a hamstring injury. Coleman is tentatively expected to return this week, but as is the case with hamstring injuries his status remains in question. Freeman and Coleman give Atlanta potentially the best pair of backs in the league. Just ask the Broncos defense as Coleman lit them up for 132 yards receiving and a touchdown. On the season he has six total touchdowns, five running and one receiving. Pro Football Focus has Coleman graded as the 18th running back despite his recent absence. An important area of note related to Coleman is his 4th overall grade among running back in terms of receiving. Nigel Bradham and Jordan Hicks have been solid all season especially covering running backs, but Coleman is likely the best they’ve faced to this point. Atlanta torched the Bucs defense for 43 points last Thursday night which came without the services of Tevin Coleman. It’s a scary thought when you add him back into the mix with a healthy Julio Jones and Devonta Freeman.

Player to Watch – Jaylen Watkins

Watkins has been forced into action at safety after the loss of nickel corner Ron Brooks for the season. Malcolm Jenkins shift down to playing more slot corner results in increased playing time for Watkins next to Rodney McLeod. We all witnessed the botched coverage between Watkins and Leodis McKelvin which led to the Giants second touchdown of the game. I’ve gone back and forth on Watkins during his time with the Eagles. He’s gone from corner to safety showing flashes throughout preseason of being a solid role player. Then he goes and makes a mistake which leads to a touchdown he’s a tough player to figure out. Either way it appears Watkins will continue to get playing time barring injury or poor play. The Falcons have a star receiver in Julio Jones who will certainly test the Eagles secondary deep. Atlanta is going to score points there’s no getting around that, but the Eagles defense including Watkins need to prevent homerun plays.

Match-Up to Watch – Falcons OL vs Eagles DL

Atlanta’s offensive line used to be an area of weakness, but that is no longer the case for the NFC South leader. The Falcons bolstered the trenches during free agency by signing away Pro Bowl center Alex Mack from the Browns. Mack has quietly been one of the league’s best centers for years, but playing in Cleveland obviously did not help his exposure. PFF has Mack graded as the number three center. In addition to Mack, tackle Ryan Schraeder and guard Andy Levitre also rank in the top 15 for their respective position groups. Left tackle Jake Matthews is a former first round pick as well so this unit has been built up by general manager Thomas Dimitroff. The Eagles defensive line is undoubtedly the strength of the defense and honestly the entire team. Hopefully Bennie Logan will be able to return to action this week after missing the past two games although Beau Allen played well in his place. The defensive end position opposite Brandon Graham needs to improve quite frankly. Vinny Curry and Connor Barwin are not having the impact they should especially facing single blocking. Some people have complained about the lack of production from Fletcher Cox after receiving his huge contract. The simple presence of Cox on the field forces offensive lines to double team him almost every snap. If you take Cox away from this defensive front I would consider them to be average at best. This is a game where the Eagles defensive line needs to win against the Falcons offensive line at home. Jim Schwartz being forced to blitz to create pressure on Matt Ryan will expose the porous Eagles secondary to big plays. NFL games are typically won in the trenches and this Week 10 matchup is no different.

Source – Pro Football Focus

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