Philadelphia Eagles vs. Atlanta Falcons Matchup Preview (9/12/21): Betting Odds, Depth Charts, Live Stream (Watch Online)
Philadelphia Eagles vs. Atlanta Falcons Matchup Preview (9/12/21)
One of Week 1’s lesser interesting games features a “Battle of the Birds”, as the Eagles and Falcons are set to play in Atlanta.
These were two of the league’s most underwhelming teams in 2020, as both severely underperformed and combined for a total of eight wins. The biggest difference in this matchup will be Philadelphia’s new signal-caller, as Jalen Hurts will assume full quarterbacking responsibilities following Carson Wentz’s departure.
The Falcons have opened as 3.5-point home favorites, and I’m not entirely sure Atlanta is deserving of that line. Let’s dive in and find some betting angles for this Week 1 matchup.
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Date: 12th September 2021
Time: 1:00 PM ET
Location: Mercedes Benz Stadium – Atlanta, GA
TV Coverage: FOX
Philadelphia Eagles vs. Atlanta Falcons Live Stream
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Philadelphia Eagles Analysis
While it seems like Jalen Hurts is the future of the Eagles franchise, it’s interesting that the Eagles made a late offseason trade for Gardner Minshew.
Hurts was flashy in his four starts in 2020, but it’s important to remember he threw four interceptions to go along with his six touchdowns, and perhaps the Eagles aren’t ready to commit to him yet. He did run for a respectable 354 yards in the four contests, and his legs should prove to be an important part of the offensive game plan going forward.
The question is: Will Hurts versatility be enough to pick up the rest of the offense? New Head Coach Nick Sirianni has his plate full, considering his team finished 28th in offensive DVOA last season. First-round draft pick Devonta Smith will provide a boost to the offense, but I’m not sure there’s much upside for the Eagles passing game after finishing 29th in passing DVOA last season.
However, Eagles fans are happy with the moves General Manager Howie Roseman made in the offseason. Specifically, on the defensive side, where they upgraded the secondary with Anthony Harris and Steven Nelson and then upgraded the linebacker core with Eric Wilson. Plus, adding veteran Joe Flacco to the quarterback room shouldn’t go unnoticed, especially with the young Hurts under center.
The Eagles boasted a league-average defense in 2020, finishing 16th in defensive DVOA. In an NFC East that’s filled with decent defensive talent, it’ll be important to lean on that end of the field in the 2020 season. Especially considering we don’t know what to expect out of the offense this year.
Luckily, the Eagles have the weakest strength of schedule in the NFL heading into the 2021 season. It’s questionable to consider the Eagles a legitimate threat to win the division this year, but given the shakeups to the offense, defense, and coaching room, it’s reasonable to say they’ll beat their win total, which is currently set at 6.5 on DraftKings.
Philadelphia Eagles Depth Chart
QB: Jalen Hurts
RB1: Miles Sanders
RB2: Boston Scott
WR1: Devonta Smith
WR2: Jalen Reagor
WR3: Quez Watkins
TE1: Dallas Goedert
TE2: Zach Ertz
Atlanta Falcons Analysis
With Dan Quinn now coaching elsewhere, Atlanta’s long-winded nightmare is over. However, with Matt Ryan still under center and a roster that largely got worse, it doesn’t seem like there’s much upside for the team.
Atlanta ended their 2020 season on a five-game losing streak, then stripped their roster over the offseason – notable departures for the Falcons include Julio Jones, Alex Mack, Keanu Neal, and Ricardo Allen.
Taking Kyle Pitts fourth overall, however, is widely considered a great pick. Pitts is poised to be a transcendent talent at tight end, and him and Ryan will hopefully build chemistry immediately.
Kyle Pitts is so good that he makes Calvin Ridley overvalued at WR4.
— Frank Ammirante (@FAmmiranteTFJ) August 30, 2021
Surprisingly, the Atlanta front seven should still be a solid core, even with the departure of Neal. The Falcons finished sixth in rush defense DVOA in 2020, and they allowed the second-fewest rushing yards to running backs.
But Atlanta’s secondary is a nightmare. They finished 19th in pass defense DVOA in 2020 and allowed the most passing yards to wide receivers. Additionally, letting Damontae Kazee sign with Dallas for a measly $1.2 million was a bad decision, and he’s going to be sorely missed.
It’ll be curious to see if Atlanta will continue to ride Matt Ryan as hard as they have been. Ryan led the NFL in completions and attempts last season, and the running back duo of Todd Gurley and Brian Hill doesn’t inspire much hope in the backfield.
If there’s one sure-fire thing for the Falcons, Calvin Ridley is in for a huge year. In 2020, Ridley saw a whopping 143 targets and finished 17th in the NFL in defense-adjusted air yards. Now that Julio Jones is out of the picture, Ridley is the consensus WR1 in the locker room.
Atlanta Falcons Depth Chart
QB: Matt Ryan
RB1: Mike Davis
RB2: Wayne Gallman
WR1: Calvin Ridley
WR2: Russell Gage
WR3: Olamide Zaccheaus
TE1: Kyle Pitts
TE2: Hayden Hurst
Philadelphia Eagles vs. Atlanta Falcons Betting Corner
It’s always tough capping a game of this poor caliber. Philadelphia and Atlanta combined to go 8-23-1 SU and 13-19 ATS in 2020, and things aren’t super bright for either team entering 2021.
Given that, an under play is something to consider, especially since these two teams have hit the under the last five times they matched up. However, the last time they played was in 2019, and Philadelphia finished 27th in road passing yards allowed last season while Atlanta finished 30th in home passing yards allowed.
Which is why I’m going to go against my initial gut feeling and play the over. While Atlanta has a stifling rush defense, even a quarterback like Hurts can rip apart the secondary. Plus, Hurts has the ability to escape the pocket and shred the weak Atlanta defense with his legs as well.
On the other end, there are question marks surrounding Ryan and the Atlanta offense, but there’s no doubting there’s talent on the roster. Ridley and Pitts should cause trouble for the Philadelphia secondary and don’t sleep on Russell Gage, who cashed his over receiving yards prop in four of his final five games in 2020.
The over has already moved from 47 to 48 across the markets, and I’m still confident playing the over at that number in this Week 1 matchup.
The Pick: Over 48 (-110)
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Philadelphia Eagles vs. Atlanta Falcons Daily Fantasy Analysis
As mentioned, Calvin Ridley is in for a big year as the consensus WR1 in Atlanta. Today, he’s got a great matchup.
Philadelphia finished dead last in pass defense DVOA vs. WR1 last season, while Calvin Ridley cashed his over receiving yards props in four of his final five games in 2020. He’ll most likely be matched up with Darius Slay, and while that seems intimidating, Slay allowed a whopping 111.9 passer rating when targeted in 2020, which includes a 76.7% completion percentage on 90 targets.
I’m uncertain of what Ridley will be priced in DFS markets, but I think he’s salivating heading into his Week 1 matchup. At the least, I would consider Ridley before locking in your Week 1 DFS lineups.