The Philadelphia Eagles are set to square off with the Atlanta Falcons Sunday night on NBC. This will be the fifth straight season the two teams will square off either the regular season or in the playoffs.
Even though the Atlanta Falcons and Philadelphia Eagles have played each season since 2015, the Falcons have only faced Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz once, his rookie year. He led the Eagles to a 24-15 win despite not throwing for a single touchdown.
The Eagles defensive line will be the second-best defensive line the Atlanta Falcons face in 2019, behind the Vikings. While some may let out a sigh of relief, that by no means that Sunday will be easier. Derek Barnett, Timmy Jernigan, Fletcher Cox, and Brandon Graham are elite and will make Sunday as uncomfortable as the Vikings did. They are big, nasty and disruptive upfront.
Blogging Dirty had a chance to go into enemy territory before Sunday’s matchup and here is what Eagles expert Geoffrey “GQ” Knox from Inside the Iggles had to say about Sunday.
1. Eagles win the division if?
For me, it’s never been an issue of ‘if’. The Philadelphia Eagles are the best team in the NFC East and a legitimate Super Bowl contender. The Cowboys, while very talented, are really the best second-tier team in the NFL.
Philly has a better structure, GM, quarterback, and coach. If I had to give the Cowboys the edge somewhere, it would be on defense. Philly’s must play better. They can’t just keep getting beaten by the big pass play. They have to wrap up and tackle.
I gave my opinions on the outcome of every NFC East game on the 2019 schedule recently and the only games I see Dallas and Philly losing are to each other. In the end, I see a few easier games towards the end of 2019 for the Eagles. That will be the difference. That will give them the division.
2. What does a full season of Carson Wentz potentially look like?
Here’s the thing. We tend to overdo it with the ‘Carson Wentz is fragile’ conversation. Guys get hurt. It’s the NFL. Big guys crash into one another, and it happens.
We forget Wentz was the MVP of the NFL at the exact moment that he went down in 2017. Then, there was the broken bone in his back. We don’t even know if that was football-related. The Eagles have invested in their offensive line.
’11’ is a legitimate MVP candidate if he’s healthy, and I expect him to be in the conversation this season and going forward. The Eagles will win the division with him at the helm. You all know what the ultimate goal is.
3. Who are three players that will become household names by the end of 2019?
I’ve been yelling Miles Sanders‘ name all season. If James Franklin says ‘Miles had Saquon looking over his shoulder’ at Penn State, I’m sold. Seeing this guy play doesn’t do anything to refute that.
Also, I’m looking for a big leap forward from second-year tight end Dallas Goedert and some nice showings from rookie JJ Arcega-Whiteside. He figures to give Wentz a nice target in the red zone, and you already know what catching touchdowns will do for a man’s career.
On defense, I’ve said it over and over, and I’ll say it again. I’ve always believed in Derek Barnett. I think he makes a lot of big plays in a lot of big moments this season, starting with Sunday night’s game versus the Falcons.
4. What is the most underrated group for the Eagles?
I’m not sure that they have one. Their skill players are celebrated and rightfully so. Their cornerbacks are annihilated by the media, and all of the criticism is fair. With that being said, I’d go with the safeties.
Malcolm Jenkins doesn’t get his due. He played every defensive snap of 2018’s season, and I wrote on the way that he’s ignored by everyone prior to the regular season (here’s the link: https://insidetheiggles.com/2019/08/30/eagles-debate-table-malcolm-jenkins-underappreciated-league-wide/. We’ve discussed what he’s making. I can’t figure out how he’s never on anyone’s Top 100 list.
Beside him is Rodney McLeod, who’s also ignored and coming off of an injury. Then, there’s Andrew Sendejo and Johnathan Cyprien. Both were given up on by their previous teams. All four of these guys have chips on their shoulders.
I can’t wait to see them unload all of that frustration on somebody. It’s coming. You wait and see.
5. Eagles have had a different leading rusher each of the last five seasons. With Adams gone, who is the next to take over that title?
Well, Philly runs that ‘committee system’, but as the season wears on, I think the bulk of the carries go to Jordan Howard. In Week 1, he was ignored, but he helped Philly salt the game away late.
Everything we saw from him at that moment told us ‘he’s the guy’.
I expect him to lead the team in rushing, and I think Miles Sanders has a very nice showing in his rookie campaign.