NFL Eagles vs Falcons Betting Analysis: New Head Coaches On Both Sides

NFL Eagles vs Falcons Betting Analysis: New Head Coaches On Both Sides

Both the Philadelphia Eagles and Atlanta Falcons had losing records in 2020 and both made head coaching changes this offseason: Nick Sirianni takes over in Philly and Arthur Smith in Atlanta. One will get his first win Sunday as the Falcons are home NFL betting favorites over the Eagles.

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Last Meeting

In Week 2 of the 2019 season, the Falcons won 24-20 in Philadelphia. Falcons receiver Julio Jones turned a fourth-down screen pass into a 54-yard touchdown with 2:10 remaining – Jones is now with Tennessee. Matt Ryan was 27 of 43 for 320 yards and three touchdowns, while Calvin Ridley caught eight passes for 105 yards and a TD. Carson Wentz finished 25 of 43 for 231 yards with two interceptions and a rushing score for Philly. He’s now with the Colts.

Why Bet on Philadelphia?

The Eagles missed the playoffs last year, snapping a string of three straight seasons in which they qualified for the postseason. Owner Jeffrey Lurie vowed to “transition” the roster to a more youthful one during the offseason, yet the Eagles have just 18 new players on the roster compared to 2020 and the team’s overall average age dropped just a fraction, from 26 to 25.9.

It will be the head coaching debut of Philadelphia’s Nick Sirianni, the former Colts offensive coordinator. He beat out Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels.  The Eagles held an extensive search after firing Super Bowl-winning coach Doug Pederson on Jan. 11. Pederson was fired after going 4-11-1 in his fifth season with the team.  The Falcons interviewed Arthur Smith, Robert Saleh, Jerod Mayo, Joe Brady, Kellen Moore, Duce Staley, Todd Bowles, Dennis Allen, McDaniels and Sirianni.

Jalen Hurts makes his first opening day NFL start at QB for the Eagles. Hurts, a 2020 second-round pick out of Oklahoma, started four games last season. He completed 77 of 148 passes for 1,061 yards, six touchdowns and four interceptions with a 77.6 quarterback rating. Hurts also rushed for 354 yards and three scores on 63 carries. Hurts must become a more efficient passer — his 52 percent completion percentage last year was the lowest of any quarterback with at least 100 pass attempts.

This will be the NFL regular-season debut of first-round receiver DeVonta Smith, the reigning Heisman Trophy winner at Alabama. Coming off a senior season where he caught 117 passes for 1,856 yards and 23 receiving touchdowns, Smith figures to be a vital part of the Eagles’ offense.

Rookie wideouts have been hit or miss for the Eagles in their first year. Mike Quick, a franchise Hall of Famer, caught 10 passes in 1982. Calvin Williams had 37 catches and nine touchdowns as a rookie and Fred Barnett added eight touchdown receptions and 36 receptions. DeSean Jackson had 62 catches for 912 yards in 2008 and Jeremy Maclin caught 55 passes the next year. Jalen Reagor had 31 receptions for 396 yards and a touchdown last season.

The team will open with T/G Jack Driscoll, TE Tyree Jackson, and CB Josiah Scott on Injured Reserve. They are eligible to return to practice after the first three games if they are ready. The Eagles previously said that Jackson would be out 8-10 weeks with a back injury on August 18.

Why Bet on Atlanta?

As noted above, the Eagles interviewed former Titans offensive coordinator Arthur Smith for their head coaching job, but he landed in Atlanta. Though he was the franchise’s top target, Smith was one of seven coaching candidates considered by Atlanta after the Falcons fired Dan Quinn on Oct. 11. The Titans ranked fourth in the league in scoring during the 2020 regular season, averaging 30.7 points per game under Smith. Tennessee finished the regular season averaging 396.4 total yards per game, good for third in the NFL.

The Falcons wanted a bright mind to revitalize their offense. After seeing quick turnarounds under young offensive-minded head coaches such as Sean McVay (Rams), Kyle Shanahan (49ers) Matt LaFleur (Packers) and Kevin Stefanski (Browns), the Falcons will likely expect the same from Smith. It took only two seasons as OC for Smith to bring the Titans from nearly the bottom of the league in scoring to one of the NFL’s top offenses. The Falcons ranked 26th in touchdown percentage (53.4) in the red zone last season, whereas Tennessee ranked second (74.4) under Smith.

Falcons guard Josh Andrews was on injured reserve with a broken hand, leaving the franchise without one of its five starting offensive linemen for at least the first part of the 2021 season. Andrews had been in a competition with rookie Jalen Mayfield throughout training camp but had pulled away during the final two weeks to win the role.

This will be the NFL debut of Kyle Pitts, who was the fourth overall pick in this year’s draft out of Florida. That’s the highest a tight end has ever been picked. Pitts had 43 receptions for 770 yards and 12 touchdowns in only eight games in his final year at Florida. Pitts is really more of a hybrid receiver. He can line up all over an offense and give defenses challenging looks. His versatility and skill set will make him an instant weapon for Atlanta.

This could be the final season in Atlanta for QB Matt Ryan, the former NFL MVP. Under no circumstances will the Falcons keep Ryan on the roster with a $48.7 million cap number next season. Ryan, 36, and others starters either didn’t play at all or had only cameo appearances in the preseason. (Pitts played one snap.)

Game Trends

  • Eagles are 1-9 ATS in their last 10 games in September.
  • Eagles are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games as a road underdog.
  • Eagles are 0-6 ATS in their last 6 road games.
  • Falcons are 3-7 ATS in their last 10 vs. NFC.
  • Falcons are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games as a favorite.
  • Home team is 5-0 ATS in their last 5 meetings.

Expert Prediction

  • Falcons 27, Eagles 24

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