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NBC Sports Predictor

Sunday Night 7: Eagles at Falcons

by John Daigle
Updated On: September 17, 2019, 5:09 pm ET

Sunday Night 7 is back for Week 2 after the opening weekend saw three fans tie for first place with 60 points and each take home $20,666.67. In fact, over 32% of Predictor users who made SN7 picks last week ended up winning money (17,317 of 54,037). So now, the attention turns to Eagles-Falcons.

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1. First Touchdown?
(Jackson, Jones, Jeffery, Ridley, Ertz, Freeman, Other Eagles Player, Other Falcons Player)
The Falcons are being completely written off following their 27-18 deficit to the Vikings in Week 1, but Atlanta’s offense actually moved the ball well, only stumbling on third downs (2-of-8) and inside the red zone (1-of-2, two turnovers). Now back at home, the Falcons’ offense should have no issues keeping involved in an up-tempo matchup from kick-off. Expect a few early deep shots to Julio Jones, who has the best chance of scoring first for Atlanta given his team-high 11 targets (five more than Calvin Ridley’s total) in the team’s season opener.

2. Wentz vs. Ryan: More Passing Yards? More Total TD?
Falcons OC Dirk Koetter notably called the sixth-highest pass play rate (63%) during his time as Tampa Bay’s play-caller last season and that approach shouldn’t change in his transition to Atlanta long-term. Ryan has a tremendous chance of single-handedly notching both of these categories considering Atlanta’s Week 1 propensity to throw the ball on 5-of-6 offensive plays inside the 20-yard line.

3. Zach Ertz: Receiving Yds and TDs?
(Yds: <40, 40-69, 70-99, 100+    TD: 0, 1, 2+)
Ertz’s workload was a looming question mark coming into the year since the Eagles only added talent around him (DeSean Jackson, Miles Sanders, Jordan Howard, J.J. Arcega-Whiteside). His seven targets and 54 yards in Week 1 were promising, but still nearly three looks and 20-yards fewer than his averages in ’18 (9.8, 72.7). With Philadelphia expected to keep it competitive rather than playing from behind for the second consecutive week, expect Ertz’s final tally to finish in the 40-69 yards range.

4. Julio Jones: Receiving Yds and TDs?
(Yds: <75, 75-99, 100-124, 125+    TD: 0, 1, 2+)
Julio’s poor performance (6/31/1) against Vikings shutdown corner Xavier Rhodes in Week 1 is all the more reason to believe he’ll bounce back against Philadelphia’s shoddy secondary at home. Jones had previously totaled just six catches and 69 yards against Rhodes but should have no issues striking against incumbent starters Sidney Jones, Ronald Darby, Rasul Douglas, and Avonte Maddox. Atlanta’s stud wideout should easily walk away with 125-plus yards and, at the very least, one score. 

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5. Which Eagles Player Will Have Most Reception Yards?
(Jackson, Jeffery, Agholor, Sproles, Ertz, Goedert, Arcega-Whiteside, Other)
Alshon Jeffery notched a touchdown against Washington in Week 1 but finished third on the team in targets (6) and wasn’t looked to in the slightest downfield. DeSean Jackson (8/154/2), on the other hand, was eyed frequently, finishing with team-highs in targets (10), catches (eight) and, perhaps most important, receiving yards (154). As Philly’s only over-the-top threat, Jackson has a legitimate shot of leading the Eagles in yardage just by simply securing two catches deep.

6. Total Points Scored?
(<35, 35-41, 42-47, 48-53, 54-60, 61+)
Projected to finish as one of the week’s highest-scoring contests, it only makes sense to expect both teams to buoy a faster indoor environment into at least three touchdowns apiece. Any additional scores (field goals included) will push this total close to the 50-point barrier. Educated guess is the final whistle blows with a compiled 48-53 points scored between the two NFC foes.

7. Winner and Winning Margin
(PHI/ATL; 1-3, 4-6, 7-9, 10-13, 14-16, 17+)
It wasn’t the best showing for the Falcons out the gates, but playing their home opener under the spotlights of Sunday Night Football should have Atlanta chomping at the bit in a tremendous bounce-back opportunity against a potential playoff adversary. Expect the Falcons to come out swinging, edging out the Eagles in a 27-24 victory.