This Sunday, the Atlanta Falcons travel to Philadelphia to play the Eagles in the Bird Bowl.
The biggest storyline about the game, will Michael Vick start? As of now, Vick is listed as questionable and Andy Reid has not released any more information on it. You know Vick will want to play in this game, because he has something to settle with his old team, the Falcons.
However, aside from Vick, the rest of the Eagles squad is going to have their hands full with a very difficult Falcons team. The Eagles are going to have to show up to win, on all sides of the ball.
The Eagles look to break their losing streak at home, and move to 4-2. The Falcons look to gain a tough win on the road, and advance their record to 5-1.
Here are five ways the Eagles can win against the Falcons:
The Falcons are an offensive powerhouse, and they can get a lead and keep it the entire game. The Eagles need to get a big momentum push, and put some points on the board as fast as possible.
I hate to beat a dead horse, get the ball to DeSean Jackson. How are the Eagles not getting the ball to this guy? Jackson is the definition of explosive. Jackson is the type of player that gets the ball, and before you know it, is in the end zone.
This could be a potential problem if Kevin Kolb gets handed the ball as the starter. Kolb did look very impressive against the 49ers, but he is not a fast-moving QB. However, if Vick is starting, this should be a breeze. Vick should be able to move the ball down the field in big chunks, and post up some big numbers.
If the Eagles offense fails to score, the Falcons could easily take a lead and never look back.
The Eagles defense played a very good game last week against Frank Gore, and they need to do the exact same thing against Michael Turner.
Turner is a beast. 100 percent power, the type of player that can carry players on his back into the end zone. If the Eagles defense can't stop Turner, the Falcons will have a huge advantage, clock management. If Turner hits his stride, the Falcons can run out the clock and force the Eagles offense into a corner. Forcing the Eagles to work with little time, and essentially forcing their ground game to become non-exsistent.
Whatever Sean McDermott did against the 49ers, he needs to do the exact same thing against the Falcons. This a going to be a make it or break it for the Eagles. Turner can carry his team to victory, we have seen it too many times before.
Let's see some Jim Johnson blitzes.
Matt Ryan has quickly become one of the best young QBs in the entire NFL. He can torch defenses deep down the field, and has great vision, and isn't afraid to make plays with his feet. Ryan's biggest weakness is his lack of experience. Other than that, he is very solid and is a huge threat to the Eagles shaky passing defense.
The Eagles allowed the 49ers to throw the ball all over against them, and they simply can not let the Falcons do it. Ryan has way too many threats and can use them all, especially Roddy White. White is a great deep threat receiver, with hands of glue. White will burn the Eagles secondary all day, especially if the Eagles defense gives Ryan time to throw.
So to prevent an artillery of passes deep down the field, the Eagles defensive line needs to step it up and get Ryan on the ground. Trent Cole and Juqua Parker need to make big plays on the defensive end position and get in Ryan's face.
On the interior of the line, Broderick Bunkley is down and out with the elbow injury, which leaves Mike Patterson and Trevor Laws. Laws and Patterson need to lock down the interior and just create problems for the Falcons offensive line.
I really don't see any other way to stop the Falcons passing game, other than to sack Ryan and not even allow him to throw. Ryan just has to many weapons, and the Eagles just don't have a solid enough secondary to stop the Falcons.
Again, let's get those Jim Johnson blitzes going.
The Eagles defense did a great job stopping the 49ers' running game, which forced them to pass the ball for the remainder of the game. Soon after switching to a passing offense, the 49ers realized that the Eagles defense could not stop the pass.
So the 49ers abused the secondary for the rest of the game. The Eagles capitalized on an Alex Smith mistake to win the game.
The Falcons are just too good to let this happen.
The Eagles defense needs to make big stops, and not allow one aspect of the offense to fail and the other to succeed. If the Eagles contain Turner, they need to make big plays on Ryan and try to force a mistake. If the Eagles contain Ryan and the passing game, then the Eagles defense needs to stop Turner's powerful running game.
If the Eagles can't stop the Falcons offense, the Falcons will have an easy win.
So the Eagles should look to play, hard and aggressive defense. Contain Turner, and at the same time keep the passing game in check.
This is a very emotional game for Vick, and he deserves to play against his old team. There is nothing that can change a football game more than emotion. Vick is entering this game, wanting to show his old team, what they are missing out on.
Vick wants to play against the Falcons, whether or not he has bruised rib cartilage. I'm not saying that Kolb is not capable of starting this game. I think that Kolb could do a killer job as the starter in this game. I am simply saying, Vick deserves to start this game.
Another reason Vick should start, he is a big playmaker and can get the offense moving quickly. As stated before, scoring quickly and efficiently will be a huge part of the Eagles winning this game. There is no one better to lead that offensive charge than Vick.
Vick is on a roll this year, and before this rib injury he was looking like a Pro Bowl candidate. Vick is the guy who will win the Eagles this game, and Reid knows that. The Falcons will be preparing to crush their ex-QB, and Vick will be ready to burn his old defense.
Overall, the Eagles have the upper hand in this game, coming off of a huge win on the road against the 49ers. Also, having home-field advantage is going to be a huge factor in the Eagles' success, and the Linc will be rocking.
Final Prediction: Falcons- 28 Eagles- 35