The Atlanta Falcons meet the Philadelphia Eagles to kick off Week 1 of the 2021 season. The Falcons have struggled since making the Super Bowl in 2016, while the Eagles have had to pivot from the regime that brought them a title the following season in 2017.
The Falcons bring in Arthur Smith from the Tennessee Titans to maximize Ryan’s final seasons in the league. The veteran quarterback has good weapons with WR Calvin Ridley and TE Kyle Pitts, but the lack of a difference maker at running back could hinder the unit. The Falcons also need to improve defensively after being dismal in key situations last season. The Eagles, meanwhile, will try to show their rebuild is headed in the right direction under first-year head coach Nick Sirianni. He’ll have Jalen Hurts at quarterback to lead a young but talented skill position group offensively. Philadelphia’s defense struggled last season, but showed signs of improving late in the year.
Date: Sunday, September 12th
Time: 1:00 p.m. ET
The Falcons are favored at -3.5 at DraftKings Sportsbook, but that’s largely due to them being the home team in this contest. Both squads are about the same in terms of talent, but Atlanta’s veterans do give them a slight edge on paper. The key matchup will be Atlanta’s cornerbacks against Philadelphia’s wide receivers. DeVonta Smith, Jalen Reagor and Quez Watkins should be able to find openings in what is a suspect secondary, but can Hurts make enough throws to win the game? Everyone knows what the quarterback can do with his legs but it’ll ultimately be his ability to throw which determines his ceiling in the NFL.