Good morning Falcons fans!
I'm sure you've seen fan posts like this in past, sprinkled around various SB Nation team blogs. If you haven't, the title is fairly self-explanatory. With the coming matchup between our two vaunted teams, I give a brief overview of our team and leave the comments section up for any questions, comments, or general discussion about how much we hate the Patriots.
You met this very same offense in the divisional round of last year's playoffs and the game came down to the wire, which can only speak to how good both these teams are. The Eagles last year made a historic run, broke league records in regards to 3rd down conversion %, and led the league in scoring averaging 29 points per game. This time around the Eagles will be without their MVP caliber QB Carson Wentz, as he continues to rehab from his ACL/LCL injury, so again Nick Foles will be the starter. They will also be without #1 WR Alshon Jeffery, #4 WR Mack Hollins, and #3 TE Richard Rodgers. Last year's breakout star, slot WR Nelson Agholor figures to get the majority of targets, while TEs Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert will test matchups with the Falcons' smaller but quick LBs. The Eagles also boast last season's #1 offensive line, with all members returning in 2018, including HoF left tackle Jason Peters (from injury).
The Eagles also return a very similar defense from last season, which was known for it's quality depth, and large array of pass rushers that rotate consistently. They may have lost starting DE Vinny Curry, DT Beau Allen, and slot corner Patrick Robinson to free agency, but they replaced them with 3 time pro-bowler Michael Bennett, Haloti Ngata and 2nd year man Sidney Jones. They will also be without starting DT Timmy Jernigan, starting LB Nigel Bradham, and ST ace Chris Maragos. Jim Schwartz (Eagles defensive coordinator) runs a 4-3 wide 9 defensive scheme, which boasted last year's #1 rushing defense, allowing only 79.2 yards per game and 3.8 yards per carry. Due to the nature of the wide-9 it makes outside zone runs harder on offenses, (which I've been told) is what the Falcons utilize. The key will be to establish a running game against a front 7 that allowed only 7 yards on 10 carries to starting RB Devonta Freeman, and 86 yards on 20 carries overall, the last time these two teams met.
QUICK LOOK AT THE EAGLES DEPTH CHART
- QB - Nick Foles, Nate Sudfeld
- RB - Jay Ajayi, Corey Clement, Darren Sproles, Wendell Smallwood
- WR - Mike Wallace, Nelson Agholor, Shelton Gibson, Markus Wheaton, Deandre Carter
- TE - Zach Ertz, Dallas Goedert, Josh Perkins
- LT - Jason Peters, Halapoulivaati Vaitai, Jordan Mailata
- LG - Stefen Wisniewski, Chance Warmack
- C - Jason Kelce, Isaac Seumalo
- RG - Brandon Brooks, Matt Pryor
- RT - Lane Johnson, Halapoulivaati Vaitai
- LE - Brandon Graham, Chris Long
- RE - Derek Barnett, Michael Bennett, Josh Sweat
- DT - Fletcher Cox, Haloti Ngata, Destiny Vaeao, Bruce Hector
- OLB - Nate Gerry, LaRoy Reynolds
- MLB - Jordan Hicks, D.J. Alexander
- OLB - Kamu Grugier-Hill, LaRoy Reynolds
- CB - Ronald Darby, Jalen Mills, Sidney Jones, Rasul Douglas, Avonte Maddox
- FS - Rodney McLeod, Corey Graham
- SS - Malcolm Jenkins, Tre Sullian