Gameday Thoughts – at ATL

Posted: September 15th, 2019 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | Comments Off on Gameday Thoughts – at ATL

The Eagles have played the Falcons each of the past three seasons so these teams have a good feel for each other. But this game will be a bit of a mystery for a couple of reasons.

First, the Wentz Factor. Carson Wentz led the Eagles to a win over Atlanta in his rookie season of 2016. Wentz was injured for the 2017 and 2018 meetings. This is the first time the Falcons will be facing Wentz the established star.

2016 – 24-15 W
2017 – 15 – 10 W
2018 – 18 – 12 W

The Eagles struggled to move the ball the past couple of years. They really struggled to score points. A healthy Wentz can change that in a big way. There were a variety of reasons that Nick Foles struggled vs Atlanta. Wentz could as well, but he is  a more dynamic talent. He create in ways Foles couldn’t. Just think back to the TD pass to Alshon Jeffery from last week. That’s not a play Foles is likely to make.

We also have to talk about the DeSean Jackson effect. It isn’t likely that he’ll deliver another couple of 50+ TDs, but Jackson will impact the game in a way that Torrey Smith and Mike Wallace didn’t in the past two games. They were the Eagles deep threats, but they didn’t exactly scare anyone. Jackson will. That should open up the middle of the field and allow Wentz to work underneath more effectively.

Location. The previous three meetings were all at The Linc. While homefield advantage isn’t as big a deal in the NFL as it is in college or high school, it does make a difference. The Eagles have been much better at home than on the road under Doug Pederson. We’ll have to see if this makes a difference tonight, but it certainly could.

I’m interested to see how the Eagles run game works. Last week the Vikings threw 10 passes and ran for 172 yards in their win over the Vikings. Pederson isn’t a stubborn guy. He sees what works and is willing to steal good ideas. Will the Eagles come  out running? If they do, I hope they are feeding Jordan Howard and Miles Sanders. Make the Falcons stop you on the ground.

The Eagles DL will be facing a revamped OL for the second week in a row. Washington handled the Eagles early on last week, but the guys in green came alive as the game went along. They only sacked Case Keenum once, but they shut down the run and drew 5 holding calls.

The DL will need a big showing tonight. The Eagles secondary looked shaky last week and they’ve got a much tougher matchup this time out. Julio Jones is as good as it gets in the NFL. Mohamed Sanu, Calvin Ridley and Justin Hardy round out the receiving corps and are good players. If the Eagles don’t pressure Matt Ryan, it will be a long night.

Jim Schwartz has had the right answers for Matty Ice and the Atlanta offense over the past three years, but that doesn’t guarantee success this time out. Still, it is encouraging.

This is only a Week 2 game, but…

The Falcons may be feeling some real pressure tonight. That could bring out the best in them or it could lead to a sloppy performance.

The Eagles started slow last week, just like all of 2018. This is a major point of emphasis for Pederson and his staff. I’m curious to see if they can get this fixed.


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