2011 Week 2 Preview: Falcons and Eagles

by on January 22nd, 2015
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Before I take a look at this game, I want to recall the 2004 season’s NFC Championship game between these two teams. This was back when Michael Vick was the Falcons beloved franchise quarterback, and it was also the year in which Donovan McNabb roasted everybody and took the Eagles to the Super Bowl. They lost, but Andy Reid may finally be able to lay claim to a title of his own this season. The Eagles first legitimate test is an away game against Atlanta.

The reason why I mention the home and away dynamic is the fact that Matty Ice and the Atlanta offense are even better in the Georgia Dome. However, they are coming off of an embarrassing and unexpected drubbing against the ChicagoBears in the season’s first week. The thing is, they really didn’t play as poorly as the scoreline (30-12) would suggest. They are too talented to not bounce back, but that lackluster performance certainly hurts their stock going into this game. I mean, it’s pretty difficult to be a legit Super Bowl candidate when you lose 30-12 to a team who will most likely struggle to go 8-8.

What hurt the Falcons most in that game was their offensive line, and the veteran presence of Todd McClure was sorely missed. He will most likely miss this game, and Joe Hawley is one of the last guys you want starting at center against the defensive line that they will be facing. Left guard Justin Blalock is one of the best guards out there, but interior of the line looks weak otherwise.

Speaking of which, the Eagles defensive line was absolutely dominant against the Rams. Jason Smith was consistently beaten, and backup ends Darryl Tapp and Juqua Parker showed that they are more talented than “just backups”. Cullen Jenkinswas a huge presence, and Trent Cole turned in yet another solid performance. Yeah, the Eagles defensive line has been as-advertised.

Unfortunately, the same can’t be said about their linebackers. All of them were horrible, and Casey Matthews really needs to get some tips from his brother. The secondary has looked solid and should be able to keep the Falcons offense somewhat at bay, but I could see Tony Gonzalez and Michael Turner having big days.

What I really like about the Eagles secondary is the fact that they have four good corners on their roster. We all know aboutNnamdi, Samuel, and DRC; but Joselio Hanson is a good player in his own right. He is vastly underrated and is one of the better nickel backs in the league.

The Falcons were dealt a huge blow when it was announced that standout- and underrated- defensive tackle Jonathan Babineauxwould be out for three to five weeks with a partially torn MCL. He is a very good run-stuffer and one of the best interior pass rushers in the game. His replacement, Corey Peters, is very average and won’t be capable of replacing him. This matchup looks a whole lot better from LeSean McCoy’s viewpoint.

Jason Peters should be able to hold his own, but I really worry about Todd Herremans in this matchup. It’s not everyday that you’re asked to block two top pass rushers in Kroy Biermann andRay Edwards, but Sunday is just one of those days where he won’t want to wake up (thank you Fred Durst). I think this line should be able to get some pressure on Michael Vick, and I could see Ray Edwards ending up with a lot of pressure and multiple sacks.

Brent Grimes, Dunta Robinson, and Thomas DeCoud make up a solid secondary, but I don’t see how these guys contain the Eagles offense. I can see this game being a really high scoring affair, albeit with a lot of sacks.

For the reasons listed above, I think that the Eagles have the advantage in this one. They have the better secondary and passing matchup overall, and their running game should only be slightly less productive than the Falcons’ ground game.

MVP: Trent Cole

Prediction: 34 Eagles 30 Falcons


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