Jan 4, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray (29) before the game against the Detroit Lions in the NFC Wild Card Playoff Game at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Looking ahead to the Falcons-Eagles contest
FB: Both teams have had big offseasons as they look to return to the playoffs. You never know, this game could have tie-breaking implications down the line. What do you think the Eagles need to do to beat the Falcons?
AD: As soon as the schedules were announced, I was excited about this match-up…and then the 2015 NFL Draft happened. I personally believe the Falcons had the best draft out of all 32 teams and it really isn’t close. Their offense was already scary, especially through the air, but their defense wasn’t too concerning. Then they added Vic Beasley and Jalen Collins which is quite a big deal.
I personally believe the Eagles will have a tough time throwing against the Falcons between their pass rush and secondary but could have success running the ball. If the Eagles want to win, they’ll need to “pound the ball” with DeMarco Murray and Ryan Mathews. They each should see around 15 carries or so to wear down the Falcons’ defense and hopefully pull off the game.
Of course the Eagles’ secondary with three new starters will immediately be put to the test by Matt Ryan, Julio Jones and Roddy White. It’ll be a good opportunity for Maxwell and company to prove themselves on a national stage. As his former defensive coordinator, Dan Quinn may know Maxwell’s tendencies and look to attack them on offense, which will also be something to watch for.
All in all, I think the running game will be key for the Eagles to win this game, as well as shutting down the Falcons’ dangerous aerial attack.
Nov 23, 2014; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones (11) and tight end Levine Toilolo (80) celebrate Jones
FB: Of course, with this being a Falcons’ site I have to flip it the other way. What do the Falcons need to do to beat the Eagles?
AD: The Eagles had an awful pass defense in 2014, that’s no secret so the Falcons should certainly test the Eagles’ new starters right from the beginning. If they can expose the hole at safety opposite of Jenkins, that will be huge for their chances to win the game. The Eagles like to use a single safety high and the other in the slot, so wherever that other safety is, I fully expect the Falcons to attack them.
On defense, the Falcons will have to be stout against the run, that’s ultimately what makes Kelly’s offense go. Everything is a result of the run and that gets the receivers space on the outside to make plays. But if the Falcons can stop the run without bringing down a safety to help, that could help pay huge dividends.
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It remains to be seen which receivers will start for the Eagles but I think the Falcons’ cornerbacks will be able to hold their own on the outside. But whoever is in the slot could cause them some trouble and shutting them down, although it’ll likely be Jordan Matthews, will be crucial in the game’s final result.
In the end, I think the game could easily go either way but should be a fun one to watch as long as the Falcons don’t pump in any fake crowd noise… sorry, I just had to!
I’d like to personally thank Anthony DiBona for taking the time to talk with us and give us an insight into the Philadelphia Eagles ahead of the new season.
We will hopefully talk some more with him in the week leading up to the game. I can’t think of a better way for the Falcons to kickoff the new season than with a strong test at home from the new-look Eagles.
Next time, I will be speaking with Chris Schisler of GMEN HQ, looking at the Falcons’ Week 2 matchup with the New York Giants.