After a week off to coincide with the bye week, BDTS is back and this time with the very familiar Philadelphia Eagles. The Falcons and Eagles have matched up every year since the Mike Smith era began. The Eagles have dominated the series winning three of four, but they fell to the Falcons last year in the Georgia Dome. This time the Matt Ryan led Falcons will head to Lincoln Financial to face the Eagles led by former Falcons QB Mike Vick.
The Falcons head to Philly to take on Vick and his dynasty
When you look at the coaching match up several things stand out. For starters, Andy Reid has had Mike Smith's number in the series, but the Falcons managed to grab a win last year. The Eagles DC is still their former OL coach Juan Castillo. Castillo was heavily criticized for being in over his head last year and not utilizing a scheme that played to the strengths of his players, specifically CBs Asante Samuel and Nnamdi Asomugha. After much debate between the media the Eagles chose to retain Castillo and traded Asante Samuel to the Falcons a few days before the draft.
Looking at the head to head between the coordinators we'll start off with Mike Nolan. When the Dolphins defense under Nolan matched up with the Eagles in 2011, Mike Vick was held to a 50% completion rating, 208 yards, one TD, nine yards rushing, and was picked off once. LeSean McCoy was held to only 38 yards on 27 attempts. Needless to say the Dolphin's D did their job. When Dirk Koetter and the Jaguars met the Eagles in 2010 they came out on the losing end of a 28-3 affair. David Garrard was limited to 13/30 for 108 yards and a touchdown while also throwing an INT and being sacked seven times. MJD was held to 88 yards on 22 carries. Needless to say Koetter's boys didn't play up to par in this game. I'll give the Eagles an edge in this category as they have been the winning team in this series.
On offense the Eagles are a very explosive and dangerous team. They have playmakers at all the skill positions. Specifically their biggest play-makers are Mike Vick, Shady McCoy, DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, and Brent Celek. Atlanta did a great job on D-Jax last year limiting him to only 2 catches for 21 yards. Jeremy Maclin on the other hand had a field day reeling in 13 balls for 171 yards and 2 touchdowns. With the addition of Samuel, the Falcons should be able to cover both of the Eagles wideouts without any troubles. The big issues wil be stopping McCoy. McCoy is a very shifty back and the loss of Curtis Lofton might show through here. A lot of pressure will be on second year man Akeem Dent and Sean Weatherspoon to keep McCoy in check. Atlanta must contain Michael Vick to the pocket and not let him break free. If Atlanta can contain the Eagles they will have more than a fighting chance in this game. Another thing to factor in is the loss of Jason Peters to an achilles injury. The Eagles signed Demetress Bell to make up for the loss, but he isn't on Peters level.
On Defense is where the Eagles can be very dangerous. Their DL in particular could pose some major problems for Atlanta. Sam Baker struggled mightly against Trent Cole last year and Jason Babin was a monster. The addition of Fletcher Cox will on make their DL that much more dangerous. The LB corp is where Philly is weak. They did add former All-Pro Demeco Ryans, but they still have issues at the OLB spots. The Eagles have a strong secondary led by Nnamdi Asomugha, but Rodgers-Cromartie hasn't lived up to his expectations since being acquired from Arizona and he may have issues against Julio Jones. The Eagles have two very solid safeties as well. The big issue here for Atlanta will be protecting the QB, they can do this by running the ball and running screen plays. Coming off a bye week Michael Turner should be extra fresh and able to carry a large load. This could play key for Atlanta as the Eagles still aren't that great against the run.
If Atlanta can play very good D and protect Matt Ryan they can come out this game victorious, they'll have the plus of having an extra week to prepare in the Bye Week. However, this game could really swing either way, but Atlanta must play solid football this week and execute on all levels to get the win.
Previously on "Breaking Down the Schedule":