Philadelphia Eagles (-3, 55 o/u) at Atlanta Falcons
The whole world is expecting offensive fireworks when the Philadelphia Eagles and Atlanta Falcons tangle in the first game of a Monday Night Football doubleheader: will Chip Kelly’s offense live up to the hype?
Lighting up the scoreboard all preseason has had the public gushing over Kelly’s roster overhaul this off-season. The former Oregon coach waved goodbye to Nick Foles, LeSean McCoy, and Jeremy Maclin while bringing in Sam Bradford, DeMarco Murray, and Nelson Agholor. But how will they look when the games matter? I would imagine Bradford’s preseason QB rating of 149.6 is likely to drop a little.
If there is a team they’ll keep producing big points against, it’s likely to be this Falcons defense, which ranked dead-last in yards allowed last season. Dan Quinn was brought in to sort out what has been an enduring problem in Atlanta. But with mostly the same personnel on D this season, expect Quinn’s impact to be marginal in his first year.
Quinn comes from a Seattle team that ran the ball exceptionally well, and you expect offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan will stress the ground game early and often this season. Thanks to an injury to Devonta Freeman, rookie Tevin Coleman will get the first opportunity to seize the starting job and give Matt Ryan and Julio Jones a much needed rushing threat, as Atlanta looks to slow the pace of the game and keep Kelly’s offense on the sideline.
The Eagles were also a pretty bad defensive unit last year, surrendering 25 points per game. They made vast upgrades in the secondary, getting Byron Maxwell and Walter Thurmond, but the Falcons ranked fifth in passing last year for a reason (namely the Ryan-to-Jones combination). They should still find success against this revamped Eagles side.
Last season, the over was the play with the Eagles; they surpassed the total in ten of 16 games. However the Falcons only went over six times last year. As we saw in New England on opening night, offense typically starts the year slower. Last year in Week 1, the under won out slightly, as teams went 7-9 o/u.
With a lofty goal of 55 points, give these defenses a little credit and take the under. Or you can wait until frantic Philly fans drive the total up even more. After all, they already proved themselves biased enough to up Sam Bradford’s MPV odds to 16/1.
Pick: Under 55.
(Photo Credit: Keith Allison (Originally posted to Flickr. Photo may appear cropped.)[https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/])
Let's have fun and keep it civil.