With Week 10 on the horizon, the Eagles (4-4) need to start piecing together some wins if they have any hopes of playing well into January.
A 28-23 loss to the Giants last week dropped the Eagles to 0-3 in the NFC East and three games off pace of the division-leading Cowboys.
After beginning the season with two layups in the form of the Browns and Bears, the Eagles have gone on a six-game stretch where they've faced opponents with a combined 30-18-1 record. The Birds have gone 2-4 over that stretch and the schedule isn't softening up anytime soon.
On Sunday the Eagles will return to the friendly confines of the Linc, where they are 3-0 this season, but, in doing so, will welcome an imposing Atlanta Falcons (6-3) team that is capable of putting up points in a hurry.
Matt Ryan and company currently pace the NFL in both passing and total offense, as well as points per game (33.9). Atlanta is winners of two straight, most recently taking down the Buccaneers last Thursday night in Tampa Bay, 43-28.
To find out more about the Eagles' Week 10 opponent, here's what they're saying about the Falcons heading into Sunday's matchup.
Keep the slow starts going
One of the main reasons that the Eagles have trended downward over the past month has been their slow starts on both sides of the ball.
On defense, the Eagles have surrendered 14 first-half touchdowns this season compared to just three total touchdowns in the second half. On the offensive side of the ball, Carson Wentz has thrown four picks, compared to one touchdown, and has posted a 63.4 quarterback rating in first quarters.
In their four losses, the Eagles have been outscored by a combined 36 points in the first quarter.
According to Khadrice Rollins of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, if the Falcons want to leave Philadelphia with their third straight win, ensuring the Eagles continue their slow starts will be a solid place to begin
"If Atlanta is going to keep those trends going, getting Philadelphia’s offense off balance early will be a big help," Rollins wrote. "Eagles’ quarterback Carson Wentz has been at his worst in the game’s opening period. Of his five interceptions this season, four have come in the first quarter. Last week a pair of early picks helped put Philadelphia behind 14-0 just more than five minutes into the game."
Trying to find the end zone in the red zone
The scariest thing about the Falcons' high-octane offense may not be how many points they've put on the board, but how many they've left off it.
Atlanta has been able to boast the league's top scoring offense despite having the 15th ranked red zone efficiency, finding the end zone on 56.76 percent of its trips inside the opposing 20.
But, according to Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com, the Falcons may have found a simple solution to their struggles in the red zone. In their previous win over the Bucs, Ryan connected with star wideout Julio Jones on a fade route for a three-yard score. It was Jones' first touchdown in the red zone across his surprisingly-low five targets.
According to McClure, even if it fails at times the Falcons should continue to go to that well when they reach the red zone.
"Those misses shouldn't discourage Jones and Ryan from continuing to try the fade when the chances arise," McClure wrote. "Imagine how much more potent the league's highest-scoring offense at 33.7 points per game will be if such completions to Jones become a regular part of the repertoire. The two have non-verbal communication on the play depending on if Ryan is under center or working out of the shotgun."
Beware of Beasley
Since his shaky NFL debut against the Redskins Week 6, Halapoulivaati Vaitai has settled in and remained out of the headlines with his steady play.
Vaitai will get arguably his toughest draw of the season on Sunday as he'll have to deal with the dynamic Vic Beasley. The eighth overall selection in the 2015 draft has broken out in his sophomore season, totaling 7.5 sacks and three forced fumbles through nine games.
The combination of Beasley's dominance and Vaitai's inexperience is why D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution has the Falcons' young defensive end as the game's X-factor.
"Falcons defensive end Vic Beasley, who’ll have a favorable matchup against rookie right tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai, will be the X-factor against the Eagles," Ledbetter wrote. "... Beasley, who has 7.5 sacks, has sparked the revival of the pass rush. Adrian Clayborn and Grady Jarrett have joined the party while veteran Dwight Freeney recovers from a thigh injury."
The Eagles have been dominant in their three games at home this season, but the national experts aren't expecting that dominance to continue against the Falcons.