Welcome to the Truda Report everybody. It's been a summer since my last article, but now that football is back I'll have a lot to talk about in the coming weeks. NFL news should be expected, as well as some articles commenting on some of the biggest sports stories of the summer. Make sure to share this article with a friend as it helps TTR grow, and leave any suggestions for future topics.
Atlanta Falcons at Philadelphia Eagles:
Tonight's season opener I think is one of the most underrated matchups we'll see all season long. I understand that Carson Wentz is not going to be active tonight, and Nick Foles has been less than spectacular this preseason, but I don't expect that to have too much of an impact on this game. Without a doubt Wentz would give the Eagles a much bigger chance to win, but expect Philly's play calling to resemble what it did when Wentz was out last year: run the ball, throw high percentage passes, and on defense...send heat. Tonight the reigning Super Bowl champs are facing one of the most talent loaded offenses in the NFL, so this game is really going to be a test of the Eagles top notch D, and honestly, that's what this game was going to be about anyways. Sure, if Wentz was playing his return would be an intriguing story, but the game was really going to be about what could be the best defense in football going up against what could be the best offense in football.
Now that I've made my opinion clear about what this game is hinged on, I'll make my pick and explain. To be blunt, the Falcons are going to win tonight. I love the Eagles roster and think it's the best in football, but this Falcons team has been disrespected this offseason. In the majority of power rankings, the Falcons have seen themselves in spots 5-7, nowhere close to where they believe they are. This offense is ridiculous, and the defense is incredibly underrated. Tonight that defense should shine, because if they can slow down Jay Ajayi and the Philadelphia running game, Nick Foles is going to have to make the plays. I know Foles was counted on to step up last year and he delivered, but his track record shows that this won't continue for long, and even if it does, it won't be at the Super Bowl MVP level we saw last year. The Eagles offensive line is fully healthy now, but I just don't see that helping stop the Falcons rush. I believe this Falcons front seven holds the Eagles to under 100 total rushing yards, and that puts all of the pressure on Foles. Tonight, Foles won't step up as much as he needs to, and the Falcons stifle the Eagles enough to win.
The main attraction tonight, as I mentioned before, is the Eagles defense against the Falcons offense. Like I said, I don't think that this is what decides the game, but since this is where the star players reside on both rosters. The Eagles added former Pro Bowl defensive end Michael Bennett this offseason, and still boast one of the best defensive tackles in the game in Fletcher Cox. The Falcons have one of the top three receivers in the game, Julio Jones, the best running back duo in the game in Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman, and a top 10 quarterback in Matt Ryan. I expect to see the Falcons counter the loaded pass rush of Philadelphia by getting the ball to the two running backs I just mentioned, but not by handing the ball off. Matt Ryan should be feeling pressure all night which means less time for routes to develop downfield, so there should be a lot of quick routes run tonight, and a lot of dump offs to the running backs. When Philly does drop back in coverage, expect Ryan to use the opportunity to push the ball downfield, going for his big targets in Jones and Austin Hooper. In terms of who wins the battle, I think that Philly's defense will look great, but not as good as the Atlanta offense. I already predicted the Falcons defense to make an impact by stopping the run, which means that the Eagles offense should not be using clock as well as they'd like to. This means less rest for the Eagles defense, and a slight advantage to the Atlanta offense.
With all of this said, I think the final score is going to be 24-17. It's an offensive game, and a score of 24-17 is not very high despite all that I said about the defenses being the units that decide tonight's game. I think two touchdowns should be considered a lackluster performance for this Eagles offense as they put up less than that only twice last regular season (week 13, week 17), and once in the Playoffs (Divisional Round vs. Falcons). For the Falcons, I think 24 is a reasonable prediction seeing as I still expect them to put points on the board, although by no means do I think it'll be easy.
Hopefully tonight's game is an exciting one, and I hope everyone enjoys the first week back to football. Expect more articles soon, and more consistently as I'm back to a normal schedule again.
High School Senior from Connecticut obsessed with sports stats, facts, and management.