Football is finally here to cure everyone’s Monday Night habit. On September 14, the Philadelphia Eagles and the Atlanta Falcons lock horns in Georgia Stadium for the NFL’s first Monday night game of the season. The Eagles are definitely eager to test their new weapons against Atlanta. The Falcons, on the other hand, looks to open their 2015 campaign with a win over a Super Bowl contender in the form of Philadelphia.
Philadelphia Eagles vs. Atlanta Falcons Betting Preview and Prediction
Where: Georgia Dome, Atlanta
When: Monday, September 14, 7:10 AM ET
Line: Philadelphia Eagles (-3) vs. Atlanta Falcons (+3); total: 55.5 – see all NFL lines
TV Broadcast: ESPN/WatchESPN
Betting on the Philadelphia Eagles
[sc:NFL240banner ]The Eagles grabbed headlines during the offseason with one big move after another, courtesy of head coach Chip Kelly. With Kelly pulling the strings for Philadelphia, the Eagles saw the departures of mainstays like LeSean McCoy and Nick Foles and the arrivals of DeMarco Murray and Sam Bradford to name a few. These brand new weapons will be front and center when the Eagles open their season on the road against Atlanta. The Eagles are 3-2 ATS in their last five games away from Philly.
At first glance, a matchup against the Falcons appears to be a very good springboard for Philadelphia’s offense that placed fifth in total yards per game (396.8) and third in points (29.6) last season. After all, the Falcons surrendered the most yards a year ago with opponents putting up 398.2 per game and scoring 26.1.
Bradford, however, has to stay healthy for the Eagles’ offense to run at optimal pace and balance. Bradford has excellent receivers praying that the quarterback doesn’t break a limb, including Jordan Matthews and rookie Nelson Agholor. They definitely don’t prefer Mark Sanchez heaving balls at them to say the least.
Matthews is set to assume the alpha male role in the receiving corps now that Jeremy Maclin is in Kansas City. Last season as a rookie, Matthews had 872 receiving yards and eight touchdowns. Agholor, on the other hand, was Philadelphia’s first round pick in the recent draft and is expected to line up across Matthews. He had 1,313 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns in 2014 for the USC Trojans.
Having Murray lurking in the backfield should help create some breathing room for Bradford and the Eagles’ passing attack. Atlanta can’t afford to lose focus on a back that is fresh off a season in which he topped the NFL in rushing yards (1,845) and touchdowns (13).
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Betting on the Atlanta Falcons
The Falcons easily folded against opposing offenses last season, but Matt Ryan and company could also dish major damage, as evidenced by an eighth-ranked offense in 2014. That said, it’s no secret that Atlanta needs to coax its backfield into being a more viable option to lessen the pressure on Ryan, Julio Jones, and an aging Roddy White.
Ryan wasn’t too shabby last season, wherein he compiled 4,694 passing yards (second most in his career thus far) and 28 touchdowns. It helped Ryan a lot that he had Jones down field, with the talented wide receiver recording 1,593 receiving yards and hauling down six touchdowns in 15 games. White, meanwhile, led the team with seven receiving touchdowns on 921 yards. All told, the Falcons’ air attack is their undisputed strength.
That being said, the team’s running game may bring something to the table this time around after averaging only 93.6 yards per game on the ground last year. New offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, coming over from Cleveland, brings his creativity to Atlanta, where he’ll work on a group composed of Devonta Freeman, Tevin Coleman, and Antone Smith. Going up against a team like Philly, which doesn’t project to be an imposing team on defense (28th in total D in 2014), is a good start even for Atlanta’s suspect ground game.
Where the Falcons did focus most of their attention over the offseason is on their defense. Atlanta’s defensive team was an embarrassment last year, but with new head coach Dan Quinn spending his first two draft picks on linebacker Vic Beasley and cornerback Jalen Collins, the Falcons are hoping to improve their against the pass (279.9 yards allowed per game) and the run (118.4). Beasley gives Atlanta a desperately needed piece in its pass rush after managing only 22.0 sacks last season—third fewest in the NFL—a season ago.
Philadelphia (-3) wins, 35-31.[sc:NFL490Banner ]
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