Finally! After what seemed like far too long of an NFL pre-season, the games are back to meaning something once again. The regular season gets underway Thursday night, and is usually the case – the NFL has began the 2018 campaign with yet another marquee matchup.
This all-NFC clash will feature the Philadelphia Eagles raising last year’s Super Bowl banner and they’ll welcome their rivals, the Atlanta Falcons. This was a game that garnered a lot of intrigue throughout the off-season as the status of Eagles’ starting quarterback Carson Wentz was in question. Wentz of course was recovering from surgery during the latter stages from last season, and Philadelphia is being extra cautious with their franchise QB.
With Wentz out, the spread dropped as Nick Foles will be under center on Thursday night. Foles was solid down the stretch for Philly, leading them to the Super Bowl – but his play does concern some. Can he keep the Eagles afloat while Wentz recovers? It’s Thursday Night Football and The Sports Geek once again has all your betting needs covered. Read on below the posted odds for a full game breakdown and betting prediction for the Eagles vs. Falcons in Week 1!
Falcons vs. Eagles Betting Odds:
Atlanta Falcons +2 (-115)
@ Philadelphia Eagles -2 (-105)
Over 45 (-110)
Under 45 (-110)
Falcons vs. Eagles Pick:
With Nick Foles starting this game for Philadelphia, there is a general perception that all will be fine with the Eagles and they will pick right off where things ended last February. Let’s not jump to conclusions yet – but Foles isn’t exactly a surefire starter in this league. He was carried by a great offense and talented weapons last season, and looked quite dreadful this pre-season.
Foles looked lost at times against the Cleveland Browns in his final stint of preseason action, and though we need to be careful not to read too much into exhibition games – his recent play is concerning. When you mix in the fact that Foles will also be without his top target in Alshon Jeffery vs. Atlanta, an improved Falcons’ stop unit will be primed to shut Foles down through the air.
Philadelphia does have a solid offensive line, but under Dan Quinn the Falcons have been able to generate more and more pressure on opposing quarterbacks. If Atlanta can generate some momentum early, I think the Eagles could be hard-pressed to move the chains in Week 1.
On the other side of the football, Atlanta too boasts a stellar offensive line – and likely one that can match the power and strength of Philadelphia’s. They’ve went out and added guard Brandon Fusco, and as a result should be able to bully some teams in the trenches.
Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman form a formidable and versatile duo coming out of the backfield, and though they’ll be facing a tough Philly defensive line – look for both of those guys to be used as pass-catchers from the backfield. The Eagles’ linebacking crew is weakened with the current suspension of Nigel Bradham, and this can be an area the Falcons could exploit.
In the air, look for a new and improved Matt Ryan under offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian. Philly has an elite pass rush, but with the Falcons’ blocking I think Ryan will be able to be surgical with his passes. He has a ton of weapons at his disposal, and I think the duo of Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley will really create problems for the Eagles’ secondary.
These could be the two best teams in the NFC squaring off against one another right off the bat in Week 1. Though the Eagles are shorthanded, and the Falcons enter motivated and hungry to finally quench their thirst for their long-awaited Super Bowl. Look for an improvement in play-calling and organization with the Falcons, and expect them to get a tone-setting victory to start the season off on the right foot come Thursday night.
PICK = Falcons +2 (-115)