The reigning champions will welcome Atlanta to open up the 2018 season. This is a playoff rematch from last year, where Philadelphia won 15-10 in a low scoring game. Vegas is expecting a Philadelphia win this week, but by narrow margins. Given the two offenses, both team totals sit over 20 points, so projecting more points than the playoff game that totaled 25 points. The Eagles grade out as the better teams, and defensively is where they make their big gain.
The Falcons defensive rating is below 80, while the Eagles is sitting above 95. The Falcons did make moves on the defensive side of the ball in the offseason, and we still also have no clue how Carson Wentz will perform in his first full speed game. Alshon Jeffery is also looking like a doubt for the start of the season. With an Over/Under of 46.5, we would not be surprised to see this one go the under. Given last year’s indicators of overs, the Eagles only hit it twice while at home, and Atlanta three times on the road. The Eagles did have an edge against the spread, going 11-5, and 7-3 at home overall. The Falcons played closer to .500 against the spread on the road, and a dead even 8-8 overall. Atlanta’s scoring did not drop off on the road, which can be the case with indoor teams. They averaged 25.8 points per game at home last year, and 24.3 on the road. The big notable home-road split goes to Philadelphia, who allowed just 14.7 points per game at home, compared to 20.9 on the road. We don’t have a huge track record of these two teams playing, as the playoff game is the only relevant game in the last few seasons.
If we get something closer to the playoff game, fantasy relevance will be rather low. Julio Jones of course is a must start every week, but a tough task against the Eagles secondary looms. Matt Ryan was held to under 200 passing yards, but the playoff home atmosphere is always a tough task to go against. If Wentz comes back shaky, and Jeffery is limited or absent, then the running game should carry a bulk of the workload. Nelson Agholor and Zach Ertz would also see sizable bumps in volume. The running game is up in the air this year, but a lot points towards Jay Ajayi gaining a good workload. Corey Clement and Darren Sproles will likely still work their way in. On the Falcons side of things, we know the running back situation is going to be a 60-40 split between Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman. Calvin Ridley is the highly touted rookie out of Alabama, and he should jump to the right wide receiver, but will have a tough matchup for his NFL debut. This should be a fun game to watch, but likely limited if you are watching for fantasy purposes. Expect these two teams to continue to be in the upper tier of the NFC.