Philadelphia Eagles (1-0) at Atlanta Falcons (0-1)
NFL: Sunday, September 15th, 2019 at 8:25 pm ET (Mercedes-Benz Stadium)
Line and Odds: Philadelphia Eagles -1.5 Over/Under: 51
Free ESPN NFL Picks Atlanta Falcons vs. Philadelphia Eagles
The Philadelphia Eagles kicked off their 2019 campaign with a 32-27 win over the Washington Redskins. Carson Wentz looked sharp in his return for the Eagles offense, going 28 of 39 for 313 passing yards, 3 touchdowns, and 0 interceptions. This game also marked the return of another Philly fan favorite, WR Desean Jackson. Jackson had 154 receiving yards and 2 touchdown receptions on 8 catches. It’s a bit difficult to say whether or not the final score is a true indicator of how this game was played. Washington jumped out to a 17-0 lead early in the 2nd quarter forcing Philadelphia to play catch-up. The Eagles certainly caught up with the Redskins, taking a 21-20 lead by the end of the 3rd quarter. As the end of the game neared, the score was actually 32-20 as Redskins +10 and Eagles -10 bettors alike bit their nails hoping to get a win out of this contest. Case Keenum threw a TD pass to Trey Quinn to give Washington an ATS win. Washington won the first half 20-7 and Philadelphia won the 2nd half 25-7.
Philadelphia’s offense was very strong on 3rd down converting 11 of their 17 third down attempts on the day. They played a fairly clean game, compiling just 6 penalties (for 55 yards) and 0 turnovers on the day. The Eagles outgained the Redskins 436 yards to 398, but they did it in a more methodical pace. Washington actually averaged more yards per play (6.9 to 6.1) than the Eagles did. Defensively, it’s fair to say that the Eagles still have some work to do. Philly allowed Washington QB Case Keenum to throw for 370 yards and 3 touchdowns on 44 passing attempts. Redskins’ WR Terry McLaurin had a field day, garnering 125 yards and a touchdown on 5 receptions. Last year’s defense would give up a reasonably high amount of yards, but ranked middle-of-the-pack in points per game because they ranked #6 in defensive 3rd down % and 1st in defensive red zone touchdown %. This year’s version of the Philly D looks much the same as they gave up 6.9 yards per play, but held Washington to 5-13 on 3rd down and allowed 1 touchdown on Washington’s 2 red zone trips. It was a shaky week 1 start for a super bowl contender, but they managed to get the win with a stellar 2nd half performance.
The Atlanta Falcons looked extremely sloppy in their opening day 28-12 loss to the Minnesota Vikings. By the end of the 3rd quarter, the Falcons were down 28-0. Despite throwing for 304 yards and 2 touchdowns, Matt Ryan struggled with a ferocious Minnesota defense. He went 33 of 46, but only averaged 6.6 yards per pass attempt. He was sacked 4 times, threw 2 interceptions, and had a QBR of 45.6. Atlanta dominated the stat sheet in many ways, but they made too many mistakes to win the game. The Falcons had 27 first downs on the day to Minnesota’s 18. Atlanta gained 345 total yards, while Minnesota gained just 269 yards. However, Minnesota dominated the pivotal moments of the game. For example, the Vikings momentum was kick-started by a special teams play. Atlanta opened the game by going 3-and-out. Minnesota was then able to block the ensuing punt and cash in with a 2-play, 21-yard touchdown drive. Minnesota’s next TD drive was set in motion by a Matt Ryan interception in his own territory. Later in the 1st half, Atlanta drove to the Minnesota 21 yard linehoping to put points on the board. RB Devonta Freeman fumbled the ball away just outside of the red zone. The Vikings then drove 79 yards for a touchdown.
Atlanta allowed Dalvin Cook to run for 111 yards and 2 touchdowns on 21 carries. Overall, the Vikings ran for 172 yards on 38 carries. It’s quite problematic that the Falcons were unable to stop the run despite every sign coming in that the Vikings were trying to establish their running game in 2019. Last season, Minnesota Head Coach Mike Zimmer fired his offensive coordinator because he wasn’t calling enough running plays. Zimmer brought in Gary Kubiak to install a zone-blocking scheme to establish cut back lanes for Dalvin Cook. Atlanta must’ve known Minnesota wanted to run the ball, but they showed no ability to stop them. Vikings QB Kirk Cousins only threw the ball 10 times in the entire game! When Cousins did throw, he was efficient. He averaged 8.8 yards per pass, threw a touchdown, and avoided interceptions. Despite allowing just 98 pass yards on the day, the Falcons’ pass defense performed poorly. I do believe Atlanta can still challenge for their division if they clean up the mistakes. The question is, will they be able to do that?
Cover The Spread 365 Betting Trends
Philadelphia is 4-1-1 ATS in their last 6 games.
Philadelphia is 13-4-1 ATS in their last 18 games against Atlanta.
Philadelphia is 11-4 SU in their last 15 games against Atlanta.
Atlanta is 2-7 ATS in their last 9 games.
The total has gone UNDER in 6 of Atlanta’s last 9 games.
Atlanta is 3-6 SU in their last 9 games.
ESPN NFL Scores Philadelphia Eagles vs. Atlanta Falcons
I’m taking the Atlanta Falcons +2 in this matchup. I expect the Falcons to put on a much better performance than they did last Sunday. In many instances, the Falcons outplayed the Vikings. They simply turned the ball over too much. I don’t expect Atlanta to turn the ball over 3 times and allow a blocked punt. Atlanta finished 2nd in yards per possession last season. Their offense has the personnel to be explosive and they have an offensive coordinator (Dirk Koetter) who has proven he can call plays. I was not impressed with the Eagles’ defensive performance, so Atlanta’s offense in the dome is in prime position to bounce back from last week. Atlanta outgained a very good Minnesota team on the road, while Philadelphia was dominated in the 1st half by a bad Washington team at home. The market is undervaluing Atlanta in this game, so I’ll take the home underdog on a Sunday night.