The Eagles are travelling to Atlanta and will take on the Falcons for their first road contest of the 2019 season. At the expense of overreacting to week 1, these teams are trending in different directions. After a slow start, the Eagles exploded down the stretch, largely on the back of DeSean Jackson’s 154 yards and 2 touchdowns. Meanwhile, the Falcons struggled mightily against the Vikings and were shut out completely until the fourth quarter.
Despite the results of week 1, it would be naive to think Philadelphia can waltz into an easy win in week two. The Falcons are notoriously more competent when playing at home and faced much stiffer competition than the Eagles to start the season. We explore 3 important questions heading into week 2.
Will Miles Sanders be More Involved?
The Eagles rookie running back Sanders was on the field plenty in week one. He garnered 36 snaps which outpaced fellow running backs Darren Sproles and Jordan Howard (23 and 17 respectively). However, after falling behind early to the Redskins, running work was limited. A negative gamescript resulted in the Eagles airing it out and only 11 carries for Sanders. Most of those touches were uneventful but there was an electric 19 yard run that stands out.
The Falcons had no answers for Minnesota running back Dalvin Cook in week 1, so this matchup could present a massive opportunity for Sanders to break out. It was encouraging to see that the rookie was trusted with carries by head coach Doug Pederson in week one. Eagles fans are still watching the rookie to see how he performs going forward. This game has the potential to be great for the young player.
Will Julio Jones be Contained?
The Falcons boast a wide receiver who is consistently a matchup nightmare in Julio Jones. Simply stated, the man is a yardage machine. Over the last five years, he has averaged an astounding 1,599 yards per season. The Redskins had no such superstar wideout in week 1, but even so the Eagles pass defense was extremely shaky. Case Keenum amassed stats that surprised the entire league. Additionally, Redskins rookie wide receiver Terry McLaurin dominated the Eagles secondary, totaling 125 yards and 1 touchdown. Eagles defensive back Jalen Mills has typically followed Julio Jones across the field in recent matchups. He should be given ample help this week as Jones has consistently eclipsed the hundred-yard mark and had great games against the Eagles.
Will It be a Shootout?
The Vegas over/under for this game is 51 but it’s quite possible that even more points are put up on Sunday. The Falcons have serious weapons alongside Juilo Jones. They include running back Devonta Freeman, wide receiver Mohammed Sanu, and tight end Austin Hooper. While playing in the comfort of a dome, the Falcons have often lit up the scoreboard. If that’s the case the Eagles will have to do the same. Luckily, last week’s offense down the stretch showed that the Eagles weapons are up to the task. I think both offenses shine in this matchup but the Eagles gut it out. Eagles 30, Falcons 27.