Falcons vs. Eagles: Spread Info, Line and Predictions
The next team in line to take on the undefeated Atlanta Falcons will be the Philadelphia Eagles, fresh off a bye week and eager to prove their early-season struggles are behind them.
Philly fired defensive coordinator Juan Castillo on Oct. 16, just days after blowing a late lead to the Detroit Lions and eventually dropping the game in overtime.
Castillo was the scapegoat for the early-season struggles, but he wasn't turning over the ball on offense or underachieving at key positions. He also wasn't in charge of the running game, which has struggled to get on track with LeSean McCoy or Michael Vick.
For Atlanta, going 7-0 would put them on the fast track toward home-field advantage in the NFC playoffs. Matt Ryan has been tearing defenses apart over the first six weeks of Atlanta's season, averaging 292.7 yards passing per game and spreading the ball all over the field.
Also coming off a bye, Atlanta will have to contend with Philadelphia's 13-0 record under Andy Reid after a bye week. Keep reading for all the major storylines, betting advice and everything you need to know about this NFC showdown on Sunday.
When: Sunday, Oct. 28 at 1:00 p.m. ET
Where: Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, PA
Watch: FOX (check local listings)
Live Stream: NFL Sunday Ticket
Spread: Philadelphia (-3) via Bovada
With Reid's sparkling 13-0 record after the bye week and Atlanta skating by the past couple of weeks, it's not hard to understand why odds makers are giving the Eagles the slight edge at home.
Additionally, the Eagles desperately need a win to keep pace in the NFC. Reid's job is on the line, and his team figures to play inspired football at home in front of green faithful.
Who you got?
Over/Under: 45 via Bovada
These are two offenses capable of putting up big numbers each week. Atlanta hasn't scored less than 20 points in any game this season, and hasn't exactly set the world on fire on defense.
If it wasn't for timely turnovers and the "bend but not break" mentality, it's hard to peg Atlanta's defense as anything close to dominating. Giving up almost 375 yards per game, the Eagles can take advantage by moving the ball on the ground and avoiding the big turnover.
This is certainly a game that could go over 45, but could just as easily feature turnovers on both sides and a late charge from Vick or Ryan.
WR Harry Douglas, knee/ankle, Questionable
DT Jonathan Babineaux, groin, Questionable
TE Michael Palmer, shoulder, Questionable
RB Antone Smith, hamstring, Questionable
#Eagles injury report: G Danny Watkins (ankle) did not practice Thursday. Everyone else was a full participant.— Philadelphia Eagles (@Eagles) October 25, 2012
Fantasy Big Plays
Atlanta - WR Julio Jones
The Eagles have been remarkably good as a fantasy defense this year, currently in the top 15 in defending virtually every positional category.
They have, however, given up some big games to opposing wide receivers. It's been hard to project between Jones and Roddy White this season, because both are going to get targets and catches in this pass-heavy offense.
But it's time Jones went to work with a big fantasy game, and after White has been torching defenses the past few weeks, the safe bet is for Jones to get loose past this defense and make some big plays down the field.
Projected Stats: 5 receptions, 112 yards, 1 TD, 1 rush, 11 yards
Philadelphia - RB LeSean McCoy
If there's a defined weakness on this Atlanta defense, it's the ability to stop the run. Allowing 143 yards per game on the ground this season, they've shown a propensity to let teams march down the field on the ground before making turnovers.
Throw in Philadelphia's full week to prepare the running game and the insistence on avoiding turnovers, and this could be a big day for McCoy.
He had 95 yards and two touchdowns against the Falcons last season, so things are presumably looking good for the running back's first big fantasy day this year.
Projected Stats: 23 rushes, 165 yards, 1 TD
Keys to Victory
Atlanta - Take Crowd Out Early
The Eagles are a resilient bunch. We know that after two come-from-behind victories so far this year, and because of their head coach.
The fans in town are the same way. If the Falcons can jump out to an early lead and protect the ball for most of the afternoon, they take home-field advantage away from Philadelphia and turn this game into a bad matchup for the Eagles.
Michael Turner will need to establish the running game to have any shot of jumping out early, because Philadelphia and new defensive coordinator Todd Bowles will be keying on the passing game early on, hoping to force a Ryan mistake.
Philadelphia - Run the Football
The reason McCoy is on pace for a good game is because the Eagles need to run the ball effectively to win this game. Every team that has played Atlanta close has used the running game to get there, and Sunday is no exception.
To exploit the holes in this defense, McCoy will have to put consecutive stinkers behind him and focus on the task at hand.
If Reid can avoid asking Vick to win this game by himself, they can avoid having to stave off the pass rush in obvious passing situations. Mixing the play calling will help Vick to not be pressured every snap, and hopefully help cut down on costly turnovers in the process.
13-0. Hard to argue with that stat, and as the saying goes, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.
Prediction: Philadelphia 31, Atlanta 24
I like the Eagles to cover and win this game. Their bye week record suggests that the coaching staff will have them ready to play at home this weekend, and Atlanta's string of close wins finally comes to an end on the road in the city of brotherly love.
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