Thursday Night Football Preview - Falcons vs Eagles
The night we have all been waiting for has finally arrived! The kickoff to the 2018 NFL season. This year will undoubtedly provide an endless supply of the drama we thrive on, with a lot already having happened leading up to the season. This one opened at Eagles -4 at most sportsbooks back in April, but was quickly bet up to -4.5. Since July, there has been steady movement favoring the Atlanta Falcons to where it is today at Eagles -2.5.
When: 8:20PM ET, Thursday, September 6, 2018
Where: Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Current Line: Eagles -2.5 Total: 45
The total has also taken a tumble since it’s opening number of 47, continuing to drop .5 by .5 to its current 45. With Philadelphia Eagles coach Doug Pederson finally publicly naming Nick Foles his starting QB for Week 1 with Carson Wentz making his way back from an ACL injury, and seeing how terrible the Eagle offense was during the preseason, it is obvious to see why the total has dropped.
The same can be said why enough money has sided with the Falcons to see a 2-point line move. The Eagles simply are not as good without Wentz under center, although Foles just helped the Eagles bring a Super Bowl to Philadelphia fans just seven months ago.
Not only are the Eagles missing their #1 QB in Wentz, they will also be without top wide receiver Alshon Jeffrey, who tallied 789 yards through the air and 9 TDs last season, due to a rotator cuff injury. Other key offensive players like running back Jay Ajayi and Nelson Agholor are also nursing injuries, but who really knows what’s up during preseason. Looking at the Eagles injury report makes me wonder what those guys were up to the past 7 months, that is one hell of a celebration!
Believe it or not, the Falcons come into this one with no injuries to report. Starting their 2018 season off exactly like how it ended in 2017, which is sure to produce a little more motivation. The last game Atlanta played was in the City of Brotherly Love, losing 15-10 on Divisional Weekend Saturday, what seems only a few months ago. Boy time goes fast! If you remember, the total opened at 44 but closed at 40 in that one, and surprisingly Atlanta was a 2.5-point road favorite.
The Falcons return their core of QB Matt Ryan, RBs Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman and wide receiver Julio Jones. I really like the addition of first round draft pick WR Calvin Ridley. I think his presence is being underplayed, and will pay immediate dividends in a quick paced offense.
You simply cannot do an Eagles preview and not talk about their front 7 on defense. It’s nasty! They have one of the best rotations in the league, keeping guys fresh all game and not missing a beat between personnel. This defense only gave up 79.2 rushing yards per game last season, good for #1 in that category, helping them to #4 in net total yards in the NFL last season.
The past 10 meeting between these two shows the Eagles with a 6-4 record SU and a 5-4-1 record ATS. In the same time frame the UNDER has dominated the total at 7-3, including the last 3.
These two potential playoff teams have both seen much success recently. Philadelphia is 15-2 SU in their last 17, including a stellar 11-1 record in their last 12 home games. On the other side of the field, the Falcons are 7-3 SU in their last 10, with 13 wins in their last 19 road games.
Are you into fantasy football? I wouldn’t recommend starting either QB with so many better options out there, but there is a couple hidden gems whose value could help you pick that perfect daily fantasy team. A guy like Julio Jones is great to have, but you need to think outside the box and find someone that will have the opportunity to shine. Although I like Ridley, I can see RB Tevin Coleman making an impact in a low scoring affair out in the flats.
With the injuries to both Ajayi and Clement, I really don’t know what to think about that whole situation, so those are always things I stay away from. Having said that, looking around offense to see where yards are going to add up is necessary. He may have an expensive bounty, but tight end Zach Ertz is going to have a very large day. I expect double digit catches, over 100 yards receiving and a touchdown.
This is a great game to start the season, and one that is not easy to handicap. I have both the Falcons and Eagles top 6 in my Power Rankings, with the Eagles edging out the Falcons in a couple areas, but not offense. If the Eagles were at full strength in this one, I’d most likely give them a narrow win, but taking all my research into account, Atlanta will be 1-0 after Week 1.
Prediction: Atlanta Falcons 24 – Philadelphia Eagles 20
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