Eagles

Eagles-Falcons NFL Week 2 predictions 2019

Eagles-Falcons NFL Week 2 predictions 2019

The Eagles (1-0) continue their 2019 season in Atlanta on Sunday Night Football against the Falcons (0-1). 

Since Doug Pederson became head coach, the Eagles have won all three games against the Falcons, but all three have come at home. 

To the predictions: 

Reuben Frank (1-0)
Tough game. Loud stadium. Tricky matchups. Good opponent that’s desperate for a win in its home opener. I know one thing: If the Eagles come out and play like crap for the first quarter they’re going to lose. If they fall behind this team 17-0 they’re not coming back. I went back and forth on this one, but I’m going Eagles because I feel like if they can play consistent football on both sides of the ball for 60 minutes, they’re the better team. Maybe that’s asking too much, but I’m thinking they got the cobwebs out last week and they’re going to be sharper this week. They’ll have to on defense. They need to pressure better and hang onto the football when they have opportunities for INTs. Big measuring stick game. 

Eagles 27, Falcons 24

Dave Zangaro (1-0)
There’s no question this is a tougher matchup than the one the Eagles faced in Week 1. And the Falcons will be highly motivated after getting their butts kicked on the road in Minnesota last week. Now, it’s their home opener against a team that has had their number in recent matchups and a team that pretty much beat them on the final play of two of them. While Matt Ryan and his weapons are scary at home on that turf, I can’t help but look at the trenches. The Eagles have an advantage with both lines. Their pass rush should feast on a Falcons’ OL that was already hurting before losing a starter. And while Grady Jarrett is a really good player, I think the Eagles’ OL can own that unit on Sunday night, giving Carson Wentz a chance to win this game on the road, where he’s just 8-12 in his career. Should be a fun one. 

Eagles 28, Falcons 26

Derrick Gunn (1-0)
The Eagles’ season opener was a success, while the Falcons’ was a flop. It took the Eagles’ offense a while to get rolling, but once it did it was almost unstoppable. Now, Doug Pederson and his crew look to get off to a much smoother start in a hostile environment. 

Atlanta could do very little right at Minnesota. Matt Ryan threw two INTs, one of them in the end zone that killed a Falcons drive, and Devonta Freeman fumbled. Three turnovers in any game can be costly and it was for the Falcons. Kirk Cousins attempted only 10 passes. The main reason was because the Vikings were so efficient on the ground. Minnesota ran the ball 38 times for 172 yards. (Are you listening, Coach Pederson?) 

Carson Wentz will throw more than 10 passes for sure, but the Birds could have the opportunity to find a good measure of success on the ground against a small but quick Falcons' defensive front. The Falcons’ defense will give up the underneath passes and try to take away the deep throws. Speaking of defenses, the Eagles’ D must do a better job of tackling and pressuring Ryan. The Eagles won the last two regular season encounters with Atlanta, but both of those games were here. It’s the Falcons’ home opener. Should be another good, hard-fought nail-biter between these two. I see this one coming down to the end as well, with the Eagles holding on. 

Eagles 30, Falcons 27 

Ray Didinger (1-0)
I've heard people say the Eagles have the Falcons’ number because they have beaten them each of the last three seasons. However, all three games were played at the Linc which is a huge advantage. The Falcons are not good away from home but they are tough in their dome on that fast track.

Since 2000, this series has been dominated by the home team. The Eagles have won nine of the 10 games played in Philadelphia. The Falcons have won three of the five played in Atlanta, including the last two (35-31 in 2011, 26-24 in 2015). The Falcons were beaten badly last Sunday in Minnesota, which makes me think they will bounce back with a big primetime effort on Sunday.

I'm not down on the Eagles — I still think they are headed for the playoffs — but they are walking into a tough spot here.

Falcons 28, Eagles 24

Andrew Kulp (1-0)
I'm torn. While I tend to think Matt Ryan and the Falcons are a middling quarterback and team whose reputation is elevated by one great season in 2016 (and largely have Kyle Shanahan to thank for that) -- not to mention Jim Schwartz seems to have Ryan's number — the Eagles are on the road here after showing signs of rust in Week 1.

The Eagles’ offense will put up points, and Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley will get their numbers. For me, the game hinges on whether the D-line and blitzes can pressure Ryan like it has in previous meetings. Fletcher Cox and company should eat against Atlanta's front, but we thought so against Washington, too. If the pass rush is humming, Ryan becomes uncomfortable, drives stall, he turns the ball over a couple times, Eagles win. That's been the playbook the last three years.

The X-factor here is the building. All three of those previous meetings were at the Linc. On Atlanta's turf, those receivers should release just a little bit faster, allowing Ryan to get the ball out quickly. If the pass rush isn't in mid-season form to begin with, that will prove deadly.

So I don't know. Here's my guess.

Falcons 26, Eagles 24

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What has Miles Sanders done to turn his season around?

What has Miles Sanders done to turn his season around?

Remember how overmatched Miles Sanders looked after gaining just 25 yards on 11 carries in the opener against the Redskins? Remember how lost he looked a week later when he was just 10-for-28 in Atlanta?

Three weeks into his rookie season, Sanders was averaging 3.1 yards per carry and ranked 28th out of 33 qualifying running backs.

Six from the bottom.

Since then?

Sanders has blossomed.

In the Eagles’ last nine games, Sanders is averaging 5.1 yards per carry, 7th-best in the league of 53 backs during that span.

Six from the top.

In a season with very few positives, Sanders’ development has been fun to watch.

What’s been the difference?

Sanders is just seeing things better, he’s running more decisively and he's moving the chains forward.

Nothing demonstrates that better than his percentage of carries that have gone for one or fewer yards.

In his first game, more than half his carries went for one or fewer yards (6 of 10). Through five games he was still at 35 percent, with 19 of 53 runs that went less than two yards.

In the last seven games, that number has dropped precipitously. Of his 62 carries since the Vikings game, only nine — nine of 62 — have been one or fewer yards. 

“I feel like I’ve been getting better and better each week,” the second-round pick from Penn State said. “Everybody’s been telling me that, but most importantly, I’ve been noticing it myself, just trying to get better and do it each week. I feel more confident just as far as reading where I’m supposed to be, getting my eyes in the right place and just playing ball out there.”

Sanders has 520 rushing yards and needs 118 to break LeSean McCoy’s franchise rookie rushing record of 637, set in 2009.

He has 879 scrimmage yards and needs 130 to break DeSean Jackson’s franchise rookie scrimmage yards record of 1,008, set in 2008.

Going into this weekend, he was second to Raiders 1st-round pick Josh Jacobs among rookies with 879 scrimmage yards and fourth in rushing (behind Jacobs, David Montgomery and Devin Singletary).

Is Doug Pederson using Sanders enough?

That’s a different question. 

Sanders is averaging 4.5 yards per carry overall but still has only the 30th-most carries in the league and the 25th-most touches among running backs. 

“I think you're seeing the patience in the running game,” Doug Pederson said. “His vision is better, it's improved from Week 1 to Week 13. The more he gets time, the more he gets snaps, the better he'll get.”

Sanders has taken care of the production. Now it’s up to Pederson to take care of getting him more snaps.

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Eagles vs. Giants live: Highlights and analysis from NFL Week 14 game

Eagles vs. Giants live: Highlights and analysis from NFL Week 14 game

9:57 a.m.: Good morning, everyone! 

We have waited a long time for tonight, but the Eagles will host Eli Manning and the Giants tonight at the Linc. Here are five matchups to watch.

If you’re heading to the game, bring your rain gear. 

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