Eagles vs Falcons NFL Week 1
Atlanta Falcons (0-0) at Philadelphia Eagles (0-0)
When: Sept. 6, 8:20 p.m.
Where: Philadelphia’s Lincoln Financial Field
The Philadelphia Eagles kicked off their postseason run to their first-ever Super Bowl title, a victory over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII, by dropping the Atlanta Falcons 15-10 in the NFC Divisional playoffs on home turf at Lincoln Financial Field. They will begin defense of their crown at home against the Falcons with the NFL stage all to themselves again, as these two NFC rivals clash in the Thursday Night Football season opener.
The Eagles will be looking to continue a trend of first-time Super Bowl winners getting their defense of the title off on the right foot. First-time Super Bowl winners have won seven straight season openers the year after their triumph in the big game, a streak that stretches back to the Denver Broncos, winners of Super Bowl XXXII, who launched the 1998 NFL season with a 27-21 defeat of the New England Patriots in the Monday Night Football season opener. First-time Super Bowl winners are 14-4-1 all-time in season openers.
More recent history doesn’t bode as well for the Eagles. Last season, the Patriots began defense of their Super Bowl LI crown with a Thursday Night Football opener at home against the Kansas City Chiefs, New England blew a 17-7 lead and were lit up 42-27 by the Chiefs. Considering the offensive weapons the Falcons bring to the field, from quarterback Matt Ryan to wide receiver Julio Jones, it wouldn’t be entirely shocking to see Atlanta deliver a similar smackdown.
Eagles vs Falcons Full Preview and Predictions
Philadelphia might be known as the City of Brotherly Love, but when it comes to the gridiron, the Philadelphia Eagles have shown no love when the Atlanta Falcons are the visitors. Including last season’s 15-10 NFC Divisional Playoff victory, the Eagles have won eight of nine from the Falcons in Philadelphia. Atlanta’s only victory during that span, a 30-17 triumph, came during the 2012 NFL season. Overall, in 34 regular-season and playoff meetings, the Eagles own a 19-14-1 edge in the series with the Falcons.
Alpha Birds – Philadelphia’s current home-field dominance of the Falcons, which shows eight wins by the Eagles in the last nine meetings in Philly, began in 2000 with a 38-10 Week 5 drubbing that saw Brian Mitchell score two touchdowns and Donovan McNabb pass for two more. Those eight wins have been fashioned by an average margin of victory of 12.1 points, and four of the eight wins came via double-digit margins, although three of the last five games were decided by a touchdown or less.
Defense Rules – The Eagles have dominated the Falcons in Philly by playing a smothering brand of defense. In Philadelphia’s eight home-field wins over Atlanta since 2000, the Falcons have never put more than 17 points up on the board and three times they’ve been held to 10 or fewer points. Today one of the NFL’s most potent offenses, Atlanta has averaged just 12.3 points per game in its eight losses in its last nine games at Philadelphia.
Matty (Cold As) Ice – Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan, much like his team, has enjoyed limited success in Philadelphia. The 2016 NFL MVP showed that form in 2012, when he engineered a 30-17 victory over the Eagles, Atlanta’s only triumph in Philadelphia over the last 18 years. Ryan was 22-of-29 through the air for three touchdowns and QB rating of 137.4. His other three appearances, though, have left much to be desired. He’s 63-of-111 in those games, all losses, with four TDs, two interceptions and a QB rating of 81.2
It Used To Be Their Town – The Falcons originally enjoyed their trips to Philadelphia. They went 4-1-1 in their first six road games against the Eagles, the only loss coming in their first visit to Philly in Week 2 of their 1966 expansion season. Some of Atlanta’s wins were quite impressive, such as a 27-3 verdict in 1969 and a 44-27 drubbing in 1973. But since that early success, it’s been nothing but bad road trips to Philaldelphia. Atlanta is 2-10 there in the last 12 games.
Changing His Wings – Among Philadelphia’s offseason moves was the addition of former Falcons linebacker LaRoy Reynolds. A member of Atlanta’s squad that won the NFC title and played in Super Bowl LI, Reynolds backed up at middle and outside linebacker, but was added to boost Philadelphia’s play on special teams. In nine games last season, Reynolds played 154 snaps on special teams. He recovered two fumbles in the playoffs, one against the Eagles that set up Atlanta’s final score in its 15-10 loss.
Who’s Under Center? – This will be the ongoing question as the Eagles begin defense of their Super Bowl crown. Carson Wentz was likely headed for the NFL MVP award when he suffered a season-ending knee injury in Week 14 against the Los Angeles Rams. Nick Foles came off the bench and won that game and five more en route to bringing the Eagles their first Super Bowl title. The beauty of having Foles return is that the Eagles should feel no need to rush Wentz back if his knee isn’t 100 percent ready.
So You’re Saying There’s a Chance? – While the numbers in Philly add up to nothing but frustration for Atlanta, fear not Falcons fans. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. Twice previously, the Falcons and Eagles have clashed in the season opener for both clubs and both times, the Falcons walked away winners. In 2005 they won 14-10 and in 2015, they captured a 26-24 verdict. But the problem with this math? Both games were played in Atlanta. But the Falcons are 5-2 against the Eagles in September games.
And There’s This – The Falcons and Eagles have met four times in the NFL playoffs. On the three previous occasions, they also met on the field in the season following their playoff clash and twice the Falcons emerged winners. Atlanta won their 1978 NFC wildcard meeting 14-13 and took a 14-10 decision in Week 2 of the 1979 season. The Eagles won their 2002 NFC Divisional Playoff 20-6 and also won 23-16 in Week 9 of the 2003 season.
The Eagles thumped the Falcons 27-10 in the 2004 NFC Championship Game, but the Falcons captured a 14-10 win when the two teams met in Week 1 of the 2005 season. Again the caveat here is that both Falcons victories were earned in Atlanta.
Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner – Bovada has set the total wins for the Eagles in 2018 at 10.5, a number they topped last season for the first time since the 2009 season by winning 13 games. The Eagles won at least 11 games every season between 2000-04, and also in 1978-79, the only times in franchise history they’ve won 11 or more games in consecutive seasons. If you think they can do it again in 2018, you’ll get odds of +115. If you doubt the Eagles can soar to great heights once more, the under pays -145.
Bovada has set the bar at nine wins for the Falcons, a total they’ve topped in each of the past two seasons, although playing in the tough NFC South, wins will be hard to come by. The Falcons are -130 to go over nine wins and even to go under that total.
Super Bowl Bound? – The Eagles are the second choice in the Bovada Super Bowl future book at +850, behind only the New England Patriots (+600), the team they defeated in Super Bowl LII. Just two seasons removed from a Super Bowl appearance, Bovada has the Falcons at +2200 to win the big game. Ten NFL teams are offered a better chance at lifting the Lombardi Trophy than Atlanta.
For Wentz They Come – Even though he figures to start the season on the bench if his knee isn’t fully healed. BetOnline has Wentz as the co-second choice in its NFL MVP future book alongside New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees at +1100, trailing only Patriots QB Tom Brady (+750). You’ll get +1800 on Ryan winning the award, despite the fact that he earned the honor as recently as 2016.