Atlanta Falcons (0-0) at Philadelphia Eagles (0-0)
|Date & Time||Thursday September 6, 2018, 8:20 PM (EDT)|
The Line: Philadelphia Eagles -3 -- Over/Under: 45.5
The Atlanta Falcons and Philadelphia Eagles meet Thursday in NFL action at Lincoln Financial Field.
The Atlanta Falcons have won double-digit games each of the last two years and have a chance to make the playoffs for three straight seasons for the first time since 2010-12. The Atlanta Falcons have won three of their last four regular season openers. The Falcons did little to nothing offensively in four preseason games, but I’m not sure that matters considering this is one of the more explosive offensive clubs in the league led by Matt Ryan, Julio Jones and Devonta Freeman. The Falcons have scored 22 or more points in six of their last 10 regular season games and have won 21 of their last 28 regular season games when scoring more than 13 points. The Falcons will be just fine on the offensive side of the ball. Defensively, the Falcons finished top-10 last year in both yards and points allowed, and they have an aggressive defensive front led by Vic Beasley, Grady Jarrett and linebacker Deion Jones. As long as the Falcons secondary can take a step forward, this is one of the more balanced teams in all of the NFL. The Atlanta Falcons have split their last six regular season road games.
The Philadelphia Eagles are coming off their first ever Super Bowl title and hope to make playoffs back-to-back years for the first time since 2009-10. The Philadelphia Eagles have won six of their last seven regular season openers. The biggest question for the Eagles is the health of quarterback Carson Wentz, as he didn’t play in the preseason and seems to still be rehabbing his injury. Nick Foles was able to carry the squad throughout the playoffs and is a proven backup, but I’m not sure the Eagles are confident with him long term, as you feel much more comfortable with Wentz on the field. It also doesn’t help that Alshon Jeffery is expected to miss the first couple of games with a shoulder injury. Other than that, the Eagles are pretty much the same team from a year ago with one of the best offensive lines thanks to Jason Kelce and Lane Johnson. Defensively, the Eagles are super aggressive and the addition of Michael Bennett makes the defensive front that much scarier. If healthy at QB, the Eagles are a threat to return to the big game come February. The Philadelphia Eagles have won seven of their last eight regular season home games.
The Falcons are 7-1 ATS in their last 8 Thursday games, 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games in September and 2-6 ATS in their last 8 road games. The Eagles are 10-2 ATS in their last 12 games on grass, 7-2 ATS in their last 9 home games and 12-4 ATS in their last 16 games overall. The Falcons are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 meetings in Philadelphia, 5-11-1 ATS in their last 17 meetings and the under is 9-3-1 in the last 13 meetings.
I think it's clear Wentz won't play in this game. Give props to the Eagles for winning the Super Bowl with Foles, but the guy looked awful in the preseason and he's dealing with limited weapons with the injuries to Alshon Jeffery and Shelton Gibson. The Atlanta Falcons are very healthy on both sides of the ball and have the confidence knowing they were a play away from winning a playoff game in Lincoln Financial Field back in January. Opening games also haven't been kind to the defending champs, as the Pats were waxed last year and the Broncos nearly lost the year before but didn't cover. Throw in the push between the Steelers and Pats, and the defending champs haven't covered an opening game since the Seahawks blowout over the Packers in 2014. Overall, there's value getting a free field goal with the healthier team. After all, the Falcons were laying 2.5 points in this game with similar rosters just eight months ago.