Sunday Night Football: Week 2 Preview

Philadelphia Eagles at Atlanta Falcons

Mercedes-Benz Stadium

Atlanta, GA

Betting

The Eagles are currently the favorite to win tonight’s game as Bovada has them at -135 on the Moneyline and -2.0 on the spread. A high scoring game is expected with the over/under currently set at 52.5 total points (-115 on the over). To summarize, a close and high-scoring game is what we have in store for Sunday Night Football tonight.

Injuries

As far impact players go, tonight’s injury report is clean and both teams should be at full force for all intents and purposes. The Falcons will be without their starting RG however, as Chris Lindstrom broke his foot last week. Lindstrom actually played 9 snaps last week AFTER he broke his foot, so no one will be questioning his toughness. On the Eagles side, Malik Jackson was placed on the IR this past Tuesday and will be replaced by Tim Jernigan in the starting lineup. Also, strong-side linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill will miss tonight’s game with a knee injury, per ESPN’s Tim McManus.

Atlanta Offense vs. Philidelphia Defense

The Falcons high-powered offense is centered around the passing game, specifically the connection of QB Matt Ryan and newly handsomely paid WR Julio Jones. Last week, Jones was held to a quiet 31 yards receiving and 1 touchdown against a tough Minnesota defense. Look for Jones to bounce back nicely against an Eagles secondary that is not nearly as good as the Minnesota Vikings secondary. Also in need of a bounce back game is the Falcons starting running back, Devonta Freeman. Held to just 19 yards on 8 carries, Freeman was outrushed by his backup Ito Smith and his own quarterback Matt Ryan, who is not known for his rushing ability. The other top targets in this Falcons passing attack, Austin Hooper and Calvin Ridley, both played exceptionally well last week as the focus was (and forever will be) on stopping Jones. The duo will need to continue to perform well if the Falcons want to be able to free up some coverage on their star wide receiver. 

The Eagles defense struggled immensely last week against a very bad Washington team that they should have come close to, if not entirely, shutting out. Instead, they allowed journeyman QB Case Keenum to throw for 380 yards and 3 touchdowns. The Eagles were only able to get 1 sack last week and forced 0 turnovers to boot. A team full of veterans on the defensive side of the ball such as Brandon Graham, Fletcher Cox, Tim Jernigan, Nigel Bradham, and Malcolm Jenkins should perform much better than they advertised last week. If they don’t, this could be a bad beating for them as they face a much better offense.

Philadelphia Offense vs. Atlanta Defense

When Carson Wentz is healthy, this Eagles offense is dangerous. The Eagles QB was able to pass to whomever he wanted to last week as 8 different players caught passes for Wentz. The best of which was returning receiver DeSean Jackson. Playing in his first game back as a member of the Eagles, Jackson exploded for 154 yards and 2 long touchdown catches. Jackson has mostly been boom-or-bust throughout his career so do not expect this kind of performance again. Instead, look for the normal top-2 targets for Wentz in the likes of Alshon Jeffery and Zach Ertz, to build off of their solid performances which saw them combine for 10 catches, 103 yards and 1 touchdown between the duo. Unlike Atlanta, the Eagles have a 3-headed monster at tailback as Jordan Howard, Miles Sanders, and the ageless Darren Sproles had a combined 116 yards rushing on 26 carries last week. Being able to switch between having a thumper, elusive back, and pass-catcher whenever they want will give the Eagles an upper hand match up wise.

The Falcons defense suffers from the same fate as the Eagles, they have yet to create turnovers. Where the sides differ is that Atlanta is loaded with youth on their defense. Linebackers De’Vondre Campbell and Deion Jones lead this group that also feature starting safeties Keanu Neal and Damontae Kazee. In a perfect world for the Falcons, Campbell and Jones can run sideline to sideline and rack up the tackles while Neal and Kazee prevent any big plays in the passing game. We did not see that last week as the Vikings only had to attempt 10 passes because they had such an easy time running the ball on route to a 28-12 victory over the Falcons. The aforementioned studs on this Falcons defense will have their hands full tonight against this explosive Eagles offense.

Prediction

Eagles: 32

Falcons: 28

Guaranteed touchdown scorer: Julio Jones

Dart throw touchdown scorer: Miles Sanders

Conclusion

What do you think of tonight’s game of powerhouse offenses? Who will win tonight and what will the score be? Let me know in the comments below!

-Mitchell Seefeldt

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