Atlanta Falcons vs. Philadelphia Eagles Week 1 Predictions: Against the Spread, Total, and Props
Last year, both the Eagles and the Falcons finished with a four-win season, and now each team has a new head coach at the helm. For the Eagles, they find themselves with surprise hire Nick Sirianni.
He spent the last three years as the Offensive Coordinator for the Colts and found some success last year with Phillip Rivers. His introductory press conference was not quite Adam Gase or Dan Campbell level of crazy, but it wasn't particularly the warmest of welcomes in Philadelphia for Sirianni.
In Atlanta, they went with up and comer Arthur Smith. Smith, the Offensive Coordinator in Tennessee, did a phenomenal job reviving Ryan Tannehill and built the league's fourth-best offense in terms of points scored last season.
Philadelphia Eagles Preview
Not only is there a new coach, but Carson Wentz is out the door, and the keys were given to Jalen Hurts. Hurts started four games for the Eagles at the end of the season and was very streaky over that span.
In his first start, he threw for just 167 yards but ran for over 100. The following two weeks saw him put up 338 and 342 yards with four passing touchdowns before dropping off to just 72 yards through the air but two rushing touchdowns.
In hopes to help the young quarterback and the otherwise barren receiving core, Philadelphia elected to spend their first-round pick on DeVonta Smith. The plan is to improve on what was the 26th overall offense in football last season.
They've had a bit of a transition on the defensive side of the ball with veterans like Vinny Curry, Malik Jackson, and Jalen Mills leaving. In addition, the Eagles may be in trouble with their cornerback group outside of the veteran corner, Darius Slay.
Atlanta Falcons Preview
Instead of drafting a quarterback of the future, the Falcons decided to run it back with Matt Ryan and draft Kyle Pitts. Their offense was middle of the pack in 2020, and they did it without having much of a run game to speak of.
With Mike Davis in from Carolina taking over the lead back role, and Arthur Smith, who is known for the run game development, you'd have to imagine that they would, at a minimum, try to establish the run more this season. Ryan led all of football last year in passing attempts with 626. I wouldn't expect a repeat of that.
They traded Julio Jones to Tennessee in the offseason, so one could likely assume Calvin Ridley, fresh off his 1,374-yard season, will be the offense's focal point with Kyle Pitts getting some significant targets as a rookie as well.
The defense is still a work in progress, but offensively they should be good enough on paper to hang with the best scoring teams in football.
Philadelphia Eagles vs. Atlanta Falcons Betting Predictions
Last season, both the Falcons and the Eagles weren't too kind to gamblers. Atlanta covered just 43.8% of the time while the Eagles came in at 37.5%, second-worst to only the Cowboys in the NFL.
The Eagles were downright putrid on the road with a 1-7 record ATS and a 1-4 record as a road dog. A rookie head coach and a QB making his fifth career start with questionable corners is a big ask to cover, even the small three-point spread.
While the Falcons are no gambler's darling, they feel like the safer play over the Eagles, who could be in for a long season. Expect a high-scoring game with the veteran-led Falcons pulling away at the end.