The Philadelphia Eagles will travel down south to the Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Sunday afternoon to take on the Atlanta Falcons to start both of their seasons. The Philadelphia Eagles finished last in the NFC East with a 4-11-1 record and switched over to quarterback Jalen Hurts towards the end of the season. The Atlanta Falcons were not much better as they were last in the NFC South with a 4-12 record. They also traded away franchise wide receiver Julio Jones in the offseason, signaling they aren’t making an attempt to win games this season.
These teams are struggling from last year and have exciting offensive rookies from the first round to make this interesting. Let’s take a closer look into the matchup to decide where we should be placing our wagers.
Hurts So Good?The Philadelphia Eagles need to figure out what they have in quarterback Jalen Hurts. He finished last season going 77-of-148 (52 completion percentage) for 1,061 yards with six touchdowns and four interceptions. He also ran the ball 63 times for 354 yards and three touchdowns with his legs. He needs to work on his play as he only had a 33.8 QBR and adding wide receiver DeVonta Smith with Jalen Reagor should be able to help Hurts get some open throws downfield and improve on his stats.
The Philadelphia Eagles were not a very good defensive team as they allowed 26 points per game last year. They added free safety Anthony Harris to their secondary during the offseason to hopefully force more than eight total interceptions (28th in NFL last season). They need to force incompletions as a whole as they allowed opposing quarterbacks to complete 68.8 percent of their passes in 2020. If the defense can sure up this year, it will do wonders for this team.
The RiddlerThe Atlanta Falcons have been doing well through the air and wide receiver Calvin Ridley proved to be effective last season. He finished the 2020 season with 90 catches with 1,374 yards and nine touchdowns. Four of the final five games in the regular season had him with at least 105 receiving yards. With the departure of wide receiver Julio Jones and an unproven tight end Kyle Pitts at the NFL level, Ridley’s production is critical for Atlanta’s offensive success.
The Atlanta Falcons have been struggling on the defensive side of the football as they allowed 25.9 points per game. This Atlanta defense allowed 4,918 total passing yards, which was fifth-most in NFL history. They need to figure out how to control the time of possession in this game and not leave their defense on the field for a majority of the game.
- Atlanta: 0-5 ATS in their last 5 Week 1 games
- Atlanta: 1-4 ATS in their last 5 September games