The Eagles have to get after Matt Ryan
The super bowl champs will return to the field tomorrow night against the Atlanta Falcons, after an offseason that felt like an eternity. The Eagles will be without their franchise quarterback Carson Wentz on Thursday nights, as super bowl MVP Nick Foles will be under center for the Eagles.
The last time the Eagles and Falcons met was last January in the divisional round of the playoffs. The Eagles won that game 15-10. The game came down to the wire, as Matt Ryan overthrew Julio Jones in the back of the end zone on 4th down in the last minute, which all but sealed the game for the Eagles.
Nick Foles struggled mightily in the first half of that game. The Eagles had a hard time moving the ball, and Nick Foles made some awful throws. In the second half the tides turned once Doug Pederson unleashed the RPO (Run Pass Option). Foles still only finished with 246 yards and 0 touchdowns.
The Atlanta Falcons were able to get under Nick Foles skin and force him into some bad looks, and I expect they are going to try and do the same early and often on Thursday night. Foles has not looked good in the preseason, and I bet the Falcons will do everything they can to get in Foles face. The Eagles defense has to do the same against Matt Ryan.
The Eagles defense has been spectacular against the Falcons the past two times they’ve met, allowing only a combined 25 points. The Falcons have had one of the most lethal offenses in the NFL the past 2 years, which makes the Eagles past two defensive performances against the Falcons very impressive.
The Eagles boast one of the best offensive lines in the game, especially with everyone on the offensive line going into the game healthy. Eagles starting left tackle Jason Peters makes his return, after going down early last season with a knee injury, which caused him to miss the remainder of the season.
On the defensive line, the Eagles also boast one of the best units in the NFL. Newly acquired Michael Bennett will make his debut tonight, and will most likely see a lot of playing time in the interior of the line with Timmy Jernigan out.
Every football game is decided in the trenches, but their is an emphasis on it tonight. Both teams can move the ball and have weapons on the outside, which makes getting after the quarterback very important. The Eagles need their star defensive linemen to continue their success from last season. If Matt Ryan has time in the pocket tonight, it will not be easy for the Eagles to slow down the Falcons high powered offense. Look for Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz to get creative tonight in his defensive line rotations.