By Brandon Pemberton
Catch me on twitter @Bashir28
After defeating the St. Louis Rams 31-13 on the road last Sunday, the Eagles are on the road again playing in front of the whole country at the Atlanta Falcons this Sunday night at 8 pm. The Falcons are coming off of a 30-12 loss to the Chicago Bears and I expect them to play much better then they did the previous week. I will breakdown this match up from my eyes and opinion and give my prediction on the outcome as well.
Eagles: Mike Vick made some great plays in key situations last week against the Rams, but he only completed 14 of the 32 passes he had thrown. Early in the game there were some breakdowns in pass protection, whether it was the O-line missing a block or it was Vick not reading the blitz and getting rid of the ball. I’d like to see Vick take less hits from blitzing safties and linebackers. The Falcons defense is nothing to be scared of in my eyes. Defensive ends John Abraham and Ray Edwards are good players, but if the Eagles can stay out of 2nd and 3rd and long situations, Jason Peters and Todd Herremans should be able to handle them well.
LeSean McCoy had a great day last week and In my eyes he is the table setter for this offense outside of Vick. The Birds should be able to spread Atlanta out and let Shady go to work against the linebackers for the Falcons. The Falcons play a basic umbrella type defense and they try to limit big plays in the passing game. The middle of the field should be wide open for Brent Celek, Steve Smith, and Jason Avant to do some damage. I can see Jeremy Maclin having his way in his matchup against Philly native Brent Grimes and having a big game.
As the game went on last week, the offensive line played better and if they play the way they did in the second half last week, the Eagles should have no problem scoring at least 30 points this week.
Falcons: The key for the Falcons offense is having a balanced attack and taking care of the ball. Last week Atlanta was down early in the game and ended up with 47 called pass plays to 14 called runs. They also turned the ball over 3 times. Running back Micheal Turner had 100 yards on ten carries but due to his team being down by two touchdowns early, he wasn’t able to get his usual workload. The Eagles weakness is clearly the Falcons strength, so expect them to attempt to run the ball down the Eagles throats and test the Eagles weak linebacker core.
Matt Ryan is highly regarded in a lot of radio hosts and sportscasters eyes, but until he steps up and carries his team to some playoffs victories or a Super Bowl, he is straddling the fence of being overrated.Wide reciever Roddy White is a complete beast and the matchup between him and Nnamdi Asomugha will be a good one. Tony Gonzalez is in his 15th season and is far from the player he once was, but still can pose a problem in the red zone. Rookie wideout Julio Jones from Alabama caught five passes in his first NFL game and looks like he is a player.
If the Falcons can establish a running game and have a balanced attack, they will have a chance to win this game.
Eagles: Stephen Jackson took his first carry right up the gut of the Eagles defense forty plus yards for a touchdown. On that play, I seen Eagles defensive end Trent Cole manhandled, and both all three of the starting linebackers damn near put on their asses. Luckily for the Eagles, Jackson hurt his quad on the play and only had one carry after that. Well, here comes a freight train named Michael Turner and if the Eagles linebackers and defensive tackles don’t come to play, it could get ugly.
Philadelphia is a team built perfectly on defense to stop the pass, so if they Falcons get down early and are faced to put the ball up, it would be playing right into the Eagles hands.
Falcons: They play simple style of defense that relies on the front four getting pressure on the Quarterback. They rarely use linebackers or defensive backs to put pressure on the Qb. They play a lot over Cover 2 and Cover 3 to keep teams from getting big plays. The play of John Abraham and Ray Edwards at defensive end will be key if they will have a chance to stop the Eagles high powered offensive attack. The linebackers will be tested in the passing game, as the Eagles LeSean McCoy is great catching the ball out of the backfield in space. I wouldn’t be surprised if Atlanta draws up a few blitzes after seeing how the Rams were somewhat effective bringing extra guys, especially corners and safeties.
My Prediction: Eagles 27 Falcons 24