Now that the first wave of free agency and the NFL draft are over, we have some idea of what each roster in the league looks like. We have a feel for the quarterback situations, the composition of the offense and the general direction of the defense. Predictions are always tricky and can look ridiculous in hindsight, but we’re going to dive in anyways.
Starting now, we’ll be taking the schedule week-by-week and polling our writers and our readers (hey, that’s you!) on predictions for each game on the Falcons 2021 slate. Here’s how our writers see things playing out in week 1 as the Falcons host the Eagles at home.
Falcons 30 - Eagles 21
The Eagles appear to be a team in the midst of a rebuild. They opted to not go after one of the top QBs in the draft and it now looks like Jalen Hurts is their starter, though veteran Joe Flacco could certainly push for the position in training camp. Philadelphia still has some good players on the roster and guys like Brandon Graham and Fletcher Cox can still cause havoc on the defensive side of the ball. That said, Arthur Smith is going to want to start his career as a head coach with a big win. He’s going to pull out all the stops and Dean Pees is a veteran defensive coordinator who is going to mix up coverages to torment Hurts. I like Atlanta’s chances to start off with a win. - David Walker
Falcons 27 - Eagles 21
It’s Week 1, so hiccups should be expected. The Eagles are one of the easiest teams on the schedule on paper, with a relatively unproven quarterback, unproven rookie head coach and a roster that needs help. None of that guarantees a win—Philly never seems to stay down for long—but it does make the job easier for Arthur Smith and company as they try to start the season on a positive note. Add the fact that the Eagles have lost their last three games in Atlanta, that the Falcons have the firepower to take advantage of a retooling Philadelphia secondary, and that Jalen Hurts turned the ball over a lot in his stint as a starter last year and you have the recipe for a win, even if expecting the Falcons to make it easy is rarely a good idea. - Dave Choate
Falcons 31 - Eagles 26
It’s insanely early to make an actual prediction, but I’m optimistic for now. The Falcons trading literally one of the best players in franchise history definitely won’t make them better but what remains on offense combined with a competent offensive play-caller, I think the team will still put up points. There’s a lot of unknowns for both teams, as the Eagles will likely start with Jalen Hurts at quarterback who started four games in 2021 throwing 6 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. For now though, I’m picking the Falcons to win Week 1 because honestly, it would be a rough start for the new regime to stumble out of the gate here knowing that they have to travel to Tampa and face the defending Super Bowl champions the following week. - Evan Birchfield
Falcons 17 - Eagles 16
A few years ago this looked to be an exciting match up. The Falcons played Philadelphia early in 2019. Now nearly all of the names have changed. The Falcons snuck out a win before both teams quickly transitioned from competitive teams to rebuilding. Both look to fit in that meaty section in the middle of the league: plenty of questions with some talent that could put them anywhere between a few wins to the playoffs. It is tough to knew where either team will end up. Week 1 is typically an anomaly, and with both teams dealing with new coaching staffs, we probably see limited scoring. I think Atlanta has the better roster and give the Falcons the slight edge. - Matt Chambers
Falcons 24 - Eagles 21
Both team will be debuting under brand new head coaches so I would expect some kinks which will need to be worked out on both sides. Ultimately, I’m a big believer in Arthur Smith’s play calling and believe that the transition which Matt Ryan will have to make in working with another offensive play caller will be rather seamless this time around because the type of offense Smith calls plays to Ryan’s strengths. Jalen Hurts displayed some flashes in limited starts last season, but there was plenty of bad to go with that good. Ultimately, I think pressure which Dean Pees likes to dial up with his defense will get to Hurts just enough to be the difference here. - Adnan Ikic
Falcons 26 - Eagles 20
I felt confident about this matchup even before the Falcons parted ways with Julio Jones. Looking at the makeup of the Eagles for this season, their biggest strength lies on the defensive line in my opinion but the back seven behind them has serious question marks, especially in the secondary. It appears the keys to the Eagles offense will be handed over to quarterback Jalen Hurts. Many are wondering what to expect from an Eagles receiving group that was decimated last season because of injuries and inconsistency.
This will be a game where the matchup advantages favor the Falcons on the offensive side of the ball. Because of this game being the season opener, I expect both offenses to sputter a little early on. But I believe ultimately, the Falcons pull out a gritty win thanks to creative play calling and an Eagles offense that will be trying to find their footing all game. - Eric Robinson
Falcons 30 - Eagles 28
Honestly, I think the fact that we’re all so high on the Falcons in this season opener might not be reflective of how this will play out. I think Atlanta will become a decent team throughout the course of the year under Arthur Smith, but in the first game of the season, anything can happen. The Falcons should bet on their offense in 2021, especially early in the year, which is why I like them to score enough to knock off the Eagles in Week 1.
I continue to harbor some real skepticism about this defense, however, and even against a Philadelphia team in the midst of its own retooling, I think there will be some issues getting stops. It’s a pretty good opening matchup for Atlanta because of the talent that remains in place on offense, and Philadelphia’s defense ranked middle of the pack in defensive DVOA last season but was fairly mediocre against the pass. With Matt Ryan, Calvin Ridley and Mike Davis leading the way, I think the Falcons have enough firepower to give Smith a 30-point outing in his first run as head coach and play-caller. - Will McFadden
2021 Week 1: Eagles
This poll is closed