Line: Eagles -2.5

The first Monday night matchup of the year belongs to the Philadelphia

Eagles and the Atlanta Falcons in the certain to be raucous Georgia Dome. Both of

these teams are coming off disappointing seasons, which ended abruptly without a

trip to the playoffs. Both teams made significant offseason moves but the Eagles

went 10-6 barely missing the post season while the Falcons went 6-10. The Falcons

hired head coach Dan Quinn who is known as a defensive coach to help a struggling

Falcons defense, which allowed over 25 points per game last year. The Falcons also

allowed more yards per game than any other team with an average of over 398. The

Eagles have upgraded at both the quarterback and running back positions with the

additions of Sam Bradford and Demarco Murray.

The Eagles lost several key players including fan favorite and all-pro running

back Lesean Mccoy but actually upgraded the position with the acquisition of

Murray. Murray is the reigning offensive player of the year as he tallied over 1,800

rushing yards and scored 13 touchdowns for the Cowboys. While Bradford is an

upgrade over Nick Foles, he has been injury prone in the past and is actually

returning from his second ACL tear. Head Coach Chip Kelly’s offense is impressive

as the Eagles offense was ranked in the top 5 last year in both yards gained and

points scored and they should remain there even with the loss of all-pro receiver

Jeremy Maclin. Kelly has built a proven offensive system in Philadelphia and if

Bradford can stay healthy, he could have a great year as less talented quarterbacks

have flourished in Kelly’s system like Mark Sanchez and Nick Foles. The Eagles did

however lose 2 starting guards in Evan Mathis and Todd Herremans so the offensive

line is untested.

The Falcons offense is also very good as quarterback Matt Ryan has thrown

for over 4,000 yards each of the past 4 seasons. His biggest weapon is all-pro wide

receiver Julio Jones who caught more than 100 passes for over 1,500 yards last year.

With that said, they have hired a new offensive coordinator in Kyle Shanahan and

lost 2 starting guards in Jon Asamoah and Joe Hawley. The Falcons will also be

starting a rookie running back in Tevin Coleman. With a new offensive coordinator

and new defensive minded coach Atlanta has unanswered questions on both sides of

the football. They did draft Defensive End Vic Beasley in the first round and

acquired Adrian Clayborn from the Buccaneers to help ease some of the pressure off

of Matt Ryan.

Even with the advantage of playing this game on their home turf, the Falcons

have a new head coach and several question marks on both offense and defense. The

Eagles are now in the 3rd year of Kelly’s regime and have upgraded at 2 significant

positions. The Eagles are looking to get back to the playoffs while the Falcons are

looking to get back on track.

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Pick: Eagles -2.5