3 Things for the Eagles to win…
1. Keep Sam Bradford upright. The responsibility rests on Bradford, the offensive line and Chip Kelly to keep Bradford healthy this season. Bradford’s accuracy and quick release complement Kelly’s system but the Eagles, collectively, must understand that Bradford simply isn’t durable. The play-calling an execution must be sharp and conscientious in order to keep Sam out of the trainer’s room.
2. Byron Maxwell make us believers. Don’t get me wrong Maxwell is a good cornerback. However, he’s being paid like a great cornerback. Routinely targeted in Seattle things will be a little different in Philadelphia. Not only will the opposing teams test him but he’s expected to shadow the opposition’s best wide receiver. In this matchup he’ll be tasked with Julio Jones in Week 1 on Monday Night. If he performs well the Eagles’ chances for victory increase dramatically.
3. Be true to your identity. It’s a spread, zone-read offense but it is a power rushing attack at it’s core. With Demarco Murray and Ryan Mathews in the fold punch the opposition in the mouth.
3 Things for the Falcons to win
1. Win on first down. Chip Kelly’s offense is based on rhythm and tempo. You disrupt the rhythm and curtail the tempo by win on first down. In order to do so you must win the battle at the line of scrimmage. A tall order for the Falcons but Dan Quinn was brought in specifically to turn the defense around and the Falcons made an effort to improve the defensive talent at every level via free agency and the draft. Time to see whether or not they are up to the task.
2. Avoid giving up the big play. You’re likely to bend against the Eagles offense but you can’t afford to break. Sound tackling, good run fits and disciplined assignment football are essential to avoid allowing junk plays and quick strikes. Make them earn it.
3. Tevin Coleman must be effective. The rookie has been thrust into a lead back role and must provide some semblance of a running game to keep the Eagles honest. The Falcons have been one of the worst teams in terms of running the football over the past seasons, including 2013 when they were dead last in rushing offense. With homerun hitting top end speed all Coleman needs is a crease but it will take consistent runs of 4 and 5 yards to control time of possession and keep the Falcons ahead of the chains in this matchup.
What to watch for…
Julio Jones vs. Byron Maxwell. Jones is slated to have a HUGE season. Both players have new, HUGE contracts. Let’s find out who earns their money in Week 1 on Monday night.
The Front Office Says…
Strud and Juice – Philadelphia Eagles win.
Headley – Atlanta Falcons win.