The Eagles have been perfect at home this season and will need some more Lincoln Financial Field magic to prevail against Atlanta and move to 5-4 this weekend.
The Falcons boast one of the NFL’s best offenses and will no doubt force the Eagles to play a different kind of football Sunday, at 1 p.m. on FOX — offense, offense, offense.
Eagles fans could be in for a shootout in Week 10, and if they are there will be some very interesting variable to monitor throughout the game.
Here’s a brief look at three things we’re looking forward to seeing in the upcoming NFC showdown:
Carson Wentz could be let loose in Week 10. With a deep threat finally available in Bryce Treggs —who opened up the field a lot for the Eagles against the Giants — now helping other weapons like Jordan Matthews and Zach Ertz, it feels like Wentz finally has the arsenal to put up big numbers.
It will be of utter importance against a high-powered offense like Atlanta that the Eagles are able to get touchdowns when in the red zone, and keep up on the scoreboard.
First downs will also be important. The less the Falconshave the ball the less damage they can do.
“Atlanta’s offense is one of the top offenses in the National Football League obviously,” head coach Doug Pederson said. “They’re playing extremely well. So, anytime you can sort of play keep-away, time of possession and things like that can help you.”
Atlanta boasts the NFL’s top passer and top rusher in Matt Ryan — a local kid who went to Penn Charter — and Julio Jones. Keeping both in check by rushing the passer and providing help in the secondary will be important, but it will also open up some other weapons like receiverMuhammad Sanuor runningback Devonta Freeman. It will be a true test for the Eagles defense.
“The Falcons are playing well, offensively, because they’re not a one-trick pony,” Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz said.”You talk about Matt Ryan, we talk about Julio Jones, but they run the ball very well. Their stats aren’t great running the ball, but they’re significant. … You guys have to check the stats, but I think they’ve won three games this year that Julio Jones really didn’t have a big impact on. [In those wins] his numbers weren’t great, but they were still able to win the game. I think that’s a sign of a good offense. Whether one guy isn’t having a good day, or defenses scheme to take him out, they still had enough to go to.”
The Falcons have several vulnerabilities on defense and one is their inability to slow down running backs. They have not allowed very many rushing yards and rank in the middle of the NFL pack as far as rushing yard allowed per game, but that’s because of the high-scoring shootout nature of their scheme. They’ve also had opponents playing from behind with a 6-3 record.
However they have allowed the most receiving yards per game of any defense. Which falls right into Darren Sproles’ wheelhouse. The little shifty running back has recently proven to be the Birds’ No. 1 option behind Wentzand could put up big numbers in yards from scrimmage Sunday.
“Darren is a great player and it’s hard to want to take him off the field,” Eagles offensive coordinator Frank Reich said.”We just have to keep reminding ourselves it’s good to mix it. We got a lot of talented players – let’s use them all.”
Sproles was on the field for 80 percent of snaps in Week 9, but will continue to share work with Ryan Mathews, Kenjon Barner and Wendell Smallwood.