By: Kylan Watson
Today marks the official return of football. The Atlanta Falcons are just a few hours away from facing a familiar foe in the Philadelphia Eagles. The one major difference is the Eagles are the defending Super Bowl champions. One of the teams they beat on their incredible road to Super Bowl 52 were the Atlanta Falcons. So, the Falcons want to spoil the Eagles home debut and prove that they are the class of the NFC.
These are not the same Atlanta Falcons the Eagles faced in January they have revamped their offensive line and secondary. Two of the weaker parts of their team last year.
The Eagles defense was able to take advantage of the injury plagued Falcons O-line, and the Eagles were able to put pressure on Matt Ryan. However, the Falcons are returning all their starters and if they are healthy the Eagles D-Line may be in trouble. The Eagles will have to generate pressure and sack Matt Ryan if they want to win this game. The Falcons O-Line must stand tall and give Ryan time to find his receivers if they want to win this game.
The Falcons also added some more bodies in the secondary which is a very vaunted part of their defense, which includes Desmond Trufant. Trufant is a very good player who the Eagles torched in the playoff game in January. Trufant did not match-up well with Alshon Jeffrey. Jeffrey is not going to play in tonight’s game so Trufant should be more of a factor in today’s game than he was in the playoffs.
Trufant and the rest of the Falcons defense must stop the Eagles offense, especially on third downs if they want to win.
The Eagles are entering this game as champions, but they are a weakened team, who are missing two of their main offensive weapons in Carson Wentz and Alshon Jeffrey.
Jeffrey had off-season rotator cuff surgery and will not be ready until week 3. Jeffrey played a significant part in helping the Eagles win the super bowl. He was Foles’ favorite target. Foles must spread the ball around and regain his confidence if the Eagles want to win this game.
The Falcons defense is very aggressive, and the Eagles should be able to take advantage of their aggressiveness by using screen passes and run-pass option plays. Both plays were significant factors in helping the Eagles win the game against the Falcons.
Most importantly the Eagles secondary must stop or limit Falcons Receiver Julio Jones. If the Eagles can limit Jones like they did in the playoffs, then the Eagles will have a chance to beat a hungry Falcons team.
The Eagles will be getting everyone’s best shot from now on and they must get a good performance from Nick Foles and their defense to pull off a victory at home tonight.