This is it. We’ve been saying that we’ll see how all the moves the team has made this offseason will play out that it sounds like a broken record, something that I’m depressingly realizing is probably an obsolete saying now. Now we really do get to see how they all play out, over the course of an 18 week season, and beginning today with Falcons vs. Eagles.
We’re all pretty optimistic the Falcons will win this one, at least among the writers who chimed in for this roundtable, which is probably equal parts our collective perception of the Eagles as an improving-but-not-great team, the kind of hope that springs eternal when you haven’t actually see your starters in action yet, and maybe just a strong desire for a win. You’ll find those predictions below.
Give us your predictions in the comments and/or call us homers, we’re good either way.
Falcons 27 - Eagles 20
Yes, I’m going to predict a 7 point Falcons win despite how uncertain everything surrounding this team seems. No, I don’t see any possible way I could regret doing so.
I think we’ll see this Dean Pees defense do enough to rattle Jalen Hurts and keep him in the pocket that a couple of major mistakes will be made, and that’ll help give an offense that has some tough sledding ahead in the position to make plays. It’s not going to be a pretty, finished product from this football team in Week 1, but I think we’ll see encouraging things against an interesting Eagles team and start 1-0 before the Buccaneers stomp all over our good vibes next week. We’re going to learn a lot about whether this team can fight pass some offensive line shakiness and a defense in progress this week. - Dave Choate
Falcons 24 - Eagles 21
I have confidence that the Falcons offense is going to be dramatically better in 2021. Arthur Smith has the play-calling acumen to put Atlanta back in the top-10, even as question marks loom on the offensive line. The Eagles, however, have the kind of defensive front that will cause some problems and end a few drives early. They won’t be able to completely compensate for questions in the Philadelphia secondary, however. Jalen Hurts has potential as a QB, but Dean Pees is going to throw the kitchen sink at him. I think that combination is enough to give the Falcons the win against a team that I think is going to surprise people in 2021. - David Walker
Falcons 24 - Eagles 17
The Falcons manage to get an opening day win for the first time since 2017, ending an era of mediocrity—or worse—and taking the first step into the future with Arthur Smith and Terry Fontenot at the helm. Atlanta’s offense will be the engine of the team going forward, but I think they’ll struggle a bit out of the gate. Philadelphia features a fearsome pass rush that will make things difficult for the Falcons, but Smith is able to lean more on the rushing attack and quick-passing game to get just enough points on the board. The true stars of the game will actually be the defense, who manage to hold the Eagles under 20 points on the back of an impressive debut for Dean Pees’ scheme. — Kevin Knight
Falcons 20 - Eagles 16
This is a real shot in the dark. We did not see much from either team’s starting offense. Each team has depth concerns, starter concerns, and new coaching staffs. I would like to dip into some analysis, but ultimately I have so many questions and no answers about the lines, the secondary, the pass rush, the run game, passing tendencies, or how anything will work. Ultimately, I think the Falcons have the superior coaching staff and quarterback, resulting in a win. It is Week 1, when even more established teams look rough — so don’t expect too much scoring. — Matt Chambers
Falcons 24 - Eagles 16
Well folks, the big day is finally here. We’ve waited all offseason for this moment, as the Falcons and NFL at large return to action. Although the Falcons have lost three of the last four meetings with the Eagles, I’m optimistic. Even if we don’t know what will actually happen later today, the lifelong fan in me wants to believe in this new regime. The Eagles have a weak linebacker group, which I think Arthur Smith will focus his attack on. I thin it’ll be closer than we’d like to see, but (prediction) Calvin Ridley’s two touchdowns will put them over the top. — Evan Birchfield