Vegas Odds & NFL Predictions: Atlanta Falcons at Philadelphia Eagles (September 6th, 2018)
NFL Season Begins with Atlanta at Philadelphia
Philadelphia is dealing with a major transition in their coaching ranks and some key injuries as they enter the 2018 season. The Eagles won the Super Bowl in great part because of their forward-thinking offense and how they surrounded their franchise QB Carson Wentz with a plethora of skilled players, including WR1 Alshon Jeffrey.
But now they start 2018 without offensive coordinator Frank Reich (Colts HC) or QB coach John DeFilippo (Vikings OC). In their place are former WR coach Mike Groh and former assistant QB coach Press Taylor. So clearly in hiring in house they had a succession plan in place, but now how well will they adapt in their new roles?
That’s especially true because of the litany of injuries to start the season. It begins with Wentz, but extends to Jeffrey. On defense, some key veterans are also out or doubtful starting with Michael Bennett and Timmy Jernigan. DE Brandon Graham is also questionable coming into the game.
The Falcons would know a thing or two about the growing pains transitioning to a new offensive coordinator. Last year Steve Sarkisian took over for the departed Kyle Shanahan and the team failed to reclaim the magic that had them on top of the league the year before. That’s in spite a nearly identical cast of offensive players.
In year two with Sarkisian directing the offense, the Falcons hope he’s learned how to adapt to the pro game after getting hired away from Alabama. They also think they’ve made their offense even more dangerous with the addition of 1st round WR Calvin Ridley from the Crimson Tide.
The defense took a major step forward last year and now in Dan Quinn’s fourth season as head coach the expectation is that they are ready to be a top-five unit.
For the Eagles, their offense led by QB Nick Foles did not look good in the preseason and while the games don’t count for anything, this could be a team that is still struggling to find their footing as the season begins.