Falcons at Eagles: Keys to the Game

John and Hugh discuss X-Factors in bringing home a win

John and Hugh
September 06, 2018 - 9:08 am

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The NFL season opener is upon us. And it's a tough first test for the Atlanta Falcons as the face the reigning Super Bowl Champion Philadelphia Eagles at Financial Field Thursday.

The last time these two met was in the 2017 NFC Divisional Round and ended in a 15-10 Falcons loss, eliminating them from the playoffs. Looking back at that loss, what are the keys to turning things around and bringing home a season opening win?

John's Keys to the Game:

1. Quick Start, get Julio Jones and Devonta Freeman into the game early, take the crowd out of it: No doubt the crowd at The Linc will be loud as the Super Bowl Champs will raise their banner prior to kickoff. And the Falcons need to make their presence known quickly to quiet them. We haven't seen either Jones or Freeman in the preseason so it'll be important to establish a rhythm with Matt Ryan and the offense right away.

2. Contain the Eagles running game: Jay Ajayi has been limited at practice this week dealing with a foot issue but was not listed on the Eagles final injury report. Ajayi joined Philadelphia in late October after being acquired from the Dolphins. Although he rushed 15 times for only 54 yards the last time these two teams met, he's become the workhorse in the Eagles backfield.

3. Touchdowns, not field goals, the offense needs to be sharp in the red zone: The Falcons offense finished 23rd in red zone scoring compared to 8th just the year before. While we know Matt "Money" Bryant is clutch every time he's in the game, we'd prefer to see 6-points.

Hugh's Keys to the Game:

1. Establish the run early: Devonta Freeman, who we will see on the field for the first time in game action, was a non-factor last season (10 rushes for 7-yards). He, along with Tevin Coleman, will have a tough task ahead against a dominant Eagles defensive front. The two have both mentioned being involved more in the pass game. 

2. Get after Nick Foles immediately, force him to make mistakes: Quarterback Carson Wentz has still not been medically cleared for contact and is OUT for tonight's game. Super Bowl winning QB Foles will instead get the nod as the team's starter. He's a quarterback that doesn't make many mistakes, so getting to him often will be key.

So which Falcons player, in addition to Matt Ryan, is your key to tonight's game? Here is how you are voting:

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