The Philadelphia Eagles and Atlanta Falcons opened up the 99th NFL season Thursday night. The game for the most part felt like a 5th preseason game. Kickoff and the banner reveal were delayed due to weather condition and it felt like it sucked the energy out of the players.
Cris Colinsworth mentioned on the broadcast how exhausted players are under normal conditions during week 1, add in the long night and weather delays and it was a perfect storm for a dud opening night game. Roger Goodell was shown on the broadcast late in the second half and his face perfectly described a nation of football fans’ mood. We are all happy football is back, but that game couldn’t have finished soon enough.
The first drive of the game Atlanta came out swinging while the Eagles defense was sluggish and blowing assignments. However, just like any bad sequel, it was the same story just a different plot as Atlanta’s first drive came to a halt when they failed to get into the end zone on four tries. Philly’s stellar front seven displayed the speed and strength on the goal line stand. The rest of the game was much of the same story for Atlanta.
Run to the outside, throw it to Julio, and fold in the red zone (stop me if you’ve heard this tune for Atlanta before).
The Falcons ran 15 plays in the red zone last night and 8 of those plays were incomplete passes.
As for Matt Ryan, last night was probably rock bottom, hopefully. I have never seen Matt Ryan play worse. The final drive of the game made up for the grueling 59 minutes that seemed to be in slow motion. If you missed the end of the game, just harp back to how the playoff game ended last year between these two. Only picture it ten times worse for the Falcons.
As for the champs, they proved why they are the champs. Not because of Nick Foles, but because of the beef they have on both sides of the ball. Nick Foles had no rhythm in his game but for one drive. As the game wore on and the fatigue kicked in, the beef for the Eagles took over. Jason Peters return showed why he is a lock for Canton, Ohio as he eliminated any threat of a pass rush from the blindside while the rest of the offensive line unit worked in unison as they provided running lanes as wide as the Grand Canyon.
On the other side of the ball, Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham led an aggressive front seven which controlled every aspect of the game. The Eagles defense didn’t look great last night but they certainly showed flashes of how dominating this defense can really be especially with Jordan Hicks back in the middle.
My Final Views on this game is to throw the tape away. I don’t form any opinions on any team until October. Philly looks primed to make another run but I do not expect lightening to strike twice on Foles, the Eagles need their franchise QB back.
As for Atlanta, my prediction going into the season is a record of 8-8. While I think the talent is top 10 worthy, their offense is simply not good enough. I think they will have the same problems as last year and I do not envision Steve Sarkisian being with this team past the 2018-2019 season.
This article also appears on Views From The 22, a content partner of INSCMagazine here.