The Philadelphia Eagles ended the Atlanta Falcons season last January, en route to winning their first ever Lombardi trophy in franchise history. But it was not easy.
Trailing 15-10 with under 2 minutes left, Matt Ryan drove the Falcons down to the Eagles 9 yard line and had a 1st and goal to go. But Matty Ice failed to convert the redzone opportunity and the Eagles who finished as the 5th ranked defense by DVOA last season, lived up to their billing and carried them to the NFC Title.
In the Superbowl, Nick Foles had the game of his life and it will once again be the journeyman and reigning Superbowl MVP under center for the home side.
Thusday Night Football Betting Preview and Prediction:
The NFL season is upon us and as such we will be here with you all season handicapping games to the best of our abilities.
And the most pertinent info on this game is that Nick Foles will be starting at QB for the Eagles and not Carson Wentz, who from various reports is still a couple weeks away from playing. Also absent for the Eagles will be #1 Wide Receiver Alshon Jeffery who also will be out for at least a couple of weeks.
But where the Eagles excel is their offensive and defensive line play, and to that they have added Michael Bennett in the offseason and will welcome back first ballot Hall of Famer Jason Peters. So one can olny think they've improved in the areas that made them a great team last season.
Furthermore the defending Superbowl Champions since the year 2000 are 11-6-1 ATS in Week 1 of the regular season. The news of Nick Foles starting has dropped the line to Eagles -2.5, mostly due to the perception that Nick Foles is a signifigant downgrade at the most important position, and because he has looked bad in his preseason reps.
But from top to bottom the Philadelphia Eagles have the best roster in the NFL and a fantastic game scheming coach in Doug Pederson.
The Atlanta Falcons last season did not look nearly as potent an offense after Kyle Shanahan left and Steve Sarkisian entered. Their best weapon remain's Julio Jones who went for 9 receptions and 101 yards in their playoff meeting, however the Eagles ranked 7th last season against #1 Wide Receivers, and 1st against #2 Wideouts by DVOA, and will not give up anything easily.
The Falcons have very good players on the defensive side of the ball but were in the bottom half of all the major defensive categories last season, which is good for Foles, since there is no go to guy for him at the moment. The Eagles scheme should win out, and their offensive line should control the ground game with only timely throws by Foles to the likes of Zach Ertz and Neslon Agholor needed to move the chains.
So a professional grind out win by the Eagles feels like what will happen. I like Philadelphia -2.5 and the under 45.5.
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