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Statschecker highlights five important factors to consider for Sunday Night Football

The Eagles and Falcons come into Week 2 on the heels of very different Week 1 performances. The Eagles shook off an ugly start to handle the Redskins with relative ease. The Falcons were completely dominated by the Vikings and were lucky to get on the scoreboard late. That means that Atlanta will be desperate to win their home opener against Philadelphia.

Doug Pederson’s team will saunter into Mercedes-Benz Stadium as 2-point favorites, but there are a lot of factors to consider before you make your wager(s) on this game. As always, we recommend you take a look at our Statschecker site before you make your final bets. In this piece, I will walk you through five intriguing things to consider about the match-up that can be found via our new tool.

1. Recent games between these teams have gone to the ‘dogs

One really weird trend in this match-up is the fact that underdogs have won five of the last six games outright between the two teams. That doesn’t necessarily mean the Falcons are poised to keep that going, but Dan Quinn’s team will certainly like their chances as home underdogs.

Protecting Matt Ryan will be a huge issue for the Falcons. They lost starter Chris Lindstrom to a foot injury against Minnesota. That leaves a big hole at guard for Atlanta. Look for Philadelphia to try to exploit that weakness to prevail as the favorites on Sunday night.

2. The Falcons were terrible against the spread in 2018

Not a lot of things went right for Atlanta last season. Their defense was decimated by injuries and the campaign went off the rails pretty quickly as a result. Predictably, the Falcons weren’t very good against the spread last season.

That’s actually an understatement. Atlanta has gone 5-12 against the spread in their last 17 games. Two points certainly isn’t a ton of support for a team that’s struggled so mightily against the spread.

3. Eagles are road warriors

Since 2017, Philadelphia sports an impressive 7-3 record when they are road favorites. Their ability to win away from home has been a hallmark of Pederson’s tenure.

If the Eagles are going to keep that trend going on Sunday night, they will need to get pressure on Ryan early and often. The injury to Malik Jackson will impact their ability to collapse the pocket from the inside. The news that Derek Barnett should be ready to go is a boost to Philadelphia’s edge rush though. Look for Ryan to take a lot of heat in this game.

4. Atlanta’s passing game isn’t all about Julio Jones

Jones is the highest paid wide receiver in the NFL by a wide margin, but this passing game isn’t solely built around the former Alabama star. It’s another member of the Crimson Tide that will also draw serious attention from Philadelphia’s secondary.

That man is Calvin Ridley. He’s scored one touchdown in each of the Falcons’ last three games. Stopping Jones needs to be a priority for the Eagles, but they can’t forget about Ridley. If they do, it’s likely going to cost them a valuable touchdown.

5. Alshon Jeffery comes up big on the road

A big part of Philadelphia’s road success in recent years can be chalked up to Jeffery’s ability to make big catches in traffic. The big wide receiver has scored at least one touchdown in each of his team’s last four games as road favorites against NFC opponents.

His catch radius is hugely important for Carson Wentz when he’s under pressure. The Falcons will look to blitz early and often in this game, which will open up opportunities for Jeffery to work one-on-one down the field. Don’t be surprised if he comes up with a big play that turns this game in his team’s favor.

Bet the Eagles

The prospect of backing a talented team as a home underdog is tempting. Don’t fall for the trip of backing the Falcons in this one though. Their Week 1 loss to the Vikings was not an aberration. They are a seriously flawed football team.

The home crowd will prop them up early against Philadelphia, but the maturity of the Eagles is going to win out in the end. Giving up the two points is the right play here. It could be a close game, but Wentz and company will make just enough plays down the stretch to earn a valuable road win.

By Rucker Haringey


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