Two teams with very different week one outcomes will face off in the week 2 edition of Sunday Night Football when the Philadelphia Eagles head to Atlanta to take on the Falcons. The Falcons are coming off a disappointing week one loss to the Vikings where their potent offense managed only 12 points. The heavily favored Eagles trailed the Washington Redskins 20-7 at the half, however they rebounded for 25 points in the second half of the teams 32-27 win.
The Eagles offense was blessed with the return of starting quarterback Carson Wentz who hadn’t played since week 14 of last season. He went 28-39 for 313 yards and three touchdowns as the Eagles gained 436 yards of total offense. Two of those touchdowns were thrown to DeSean Jackson who was making his return to the Eagles for the first time since 2013. At age 32 Jackson appears to have not lost a step. Jackson blew past the defense on a third-and-10 in the third quarter, caught Wentz's pass inside the 10 and strolled into the end zone to give the Eagles a 21-20 lead. The 53-yard TD reception was Jackson's second of 50-plus yards in the game and the 31st of his career. Only Hall of Famer Jerry Rice had more at 36. With play makers like Alshon Jeffrey and Zach Ertz this Eagles offense has the potential to be the most potent in the NFL.
The Falcons come into the season with high expectations. With a playmaking running back in Devontae Freeman, two star receivers in Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley and all pro quarterback Matt Ryan the offense has the potential to be the best in the NFL. Unfortunately for them they ran into a Minnesota Vikings defense that forced the Vikings into 4 turnovers and the Vikings converted all four into touchdowns. Matt Ryan played more like a rookie than the 2016 league MVP beginning his 12th season, unable to find his footing all afternoon in the face of a fierce pass rush that racked up four sacks. The worst moment came at the end of Atlanta's first possession of the second half, a 13-play, 82-yard drive thwarted when his second-and-3 fling into the back of the end zone for backup tight end Luke Stoker was picked off by a leaping Harris. The Falcons weren’t able to get much going on the ground with Freeman only getting 9 carries for 19 yards. The team only had 17 rushing attempts as a team for 73 yards.
Sunday night will provide a big stage and an opportunity to answer some questions. Can Wentz continue to shine against against what is a tougher Eagles defense? Will the Falcons find a way to establish more balance on offense? The key to the game will be the secondaries for both teams finding a way to contain the star wide receivers. Whichever defense that can find a way to stop the other teams passing game will likely be victorious.