The Eagles found themselves trailing the Redskins early last week, but they were able to bounce back with a dominant second half performance. With a week one victory in their pockets, the Eagles will go on the road to play the Atlanta Falcons in a Sunday Night showdown. This match-up promises two high-powered offenses, and it should be a great one to watch. Here’s what to look for tomorrow tonight:
1 – RBs will be the difference: Both teams will need a spark early and often from their run game. While both teams have the talent to catch passes, they need the running game to pop in order for the passing game to be more successful. Neither team will be able to win this game without great production from their rushers. Neither team had a rusher go over 50 yards week one (Darren Sproles had 47 yards and Ito Smith had 31 yards). In a game that will display multiple top-tier receivers, could the running game be the difference maker?
2 – Defensive Redemption: Both the Eagles and Falcons had issues defensively week one. The Eagles trailed the Redskins 20-7 at half last week, but they were able to recover late. The Falcons found themselves down 21-0 at half; however, unlike the Eagles, they were never able to recover. Both defenses will have to take major strides forward in this match-up because their opposing offense is so potent. Neither defense can afford a repeat of what happened week one. Disrupting the timing of pass routes and getting forceful pass rushes will be a major focal point for both defensive units.
3 – “Ice Matty”: When the Vikings shutdown the dominant Falcons WRs, the Atlanta Falcons offense looked abysmal. Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley, possibly the best WR duo in the league, combined for just 95 yards. The Vikings dominated the Falcons because they sold out to stop the passing attack. The Eagles struggled early against Case Keenum and a much weaker Redskins WR unit. The Eagles secondary will be vital in this match-up, and they will have their hands full all game long. With talented athletes like Mohamed Sanu, Calvin Ridley, Julio Jones, and Austin Hooper, the Falcons’ pass-catchers need to be contained at all times.
4 – Deep-Play DeSean: DeSean Jackson was a welcomed blast-from-the-past against the Redskins. Jackson finished week one with 8 catches for 154 yards and 2 touchdowns. Both touchdowns were over 50 yards – 51 and 53 yards respectively – and Jackson was a major offensive catalyst that rejuvenated the struggling Eagles offense. With DeSean Jackson running deep down field, the rest of the field is more open for other weapons like Zach Ertz, Nelson Agholor, and Alshon Jeffery. The Eagles will look to build on a successful week one and will continue to call Jackson’s number whenever they can.
5 – History: The Eagles have won their last three match-ups against the Falcons including their playoff win during their 2017-2018 Super Bowl run. The Eagles lead the all-time series against the Falcons 20-14-1, and the Eagles will be looking to continue their winning ways. While the Eagles have won the last few match-ups, they haven’t been blowouts. In fact, the last two match-ups were decided by a combined 11 points. If history is any kind of indication of how this match-up will go, the Eagles and Falcons will need to control every second of the game in order to emerge victorious.