Battle of the Birds: Falcons vs Eagles week 1  

Noah Goulbourne, Staff Writer

Two teams eager to redeem themselves in their first clash of the season. Who will prevail? (Credit: Noah Goulborne)

On September 12, at 1pm, the Atlanta Falcons faced off against the Philadelphia Eagles for their first game of the NFL season. Going into the season the Falcons were 0-3. This may be due to the Falcons’ inability to acquire any stars in the off season. Their only new additions were rookie tight end Kyle Pitts, who was selected 4 overall in the draft, and former Carolina Panther running back Mike Davis. The TE out of Florida was selected due to seven-time Pro- Bowl Wide receiver Julio Jones being traded to the Tennessee Titans. Along with the Julio package, the Falcons also sent a 2023 6th round pick. In exchange, the Titans gave up a 2022 2nd round pick as well as a 2023 4th round pick. (Julio Jones Trade Package) Mike Davis was picked up after the Falcons released starting RB Todd Gurley. With star wide receiver Calvin Ridley still thriving, plus these two new additions, QB Matt Ryan should be able to cook when on the field.  

Despite having 2x Pro-Bowl defensive tackle Grady Jarret, the Falcons defense struggled. Sports Illustrated states, “Pro Football Focus ranked the defensive lines of all 32 teams in the NFL and – rooted in poor draft selections – ranked the Falcons No 31. Yikes.” (Defensive Stats) This could be an issue since the Eagles have a young and talented offense. Since former QB Carson Wentz was traded to the Indianapolis Colts, Jalen Hurts has been given the starting spot. In his sophomore year, Hurts will be able to air it down the field whenever needed. The Eagles managed to draft 2020 Heisman Trophy winner Devonta Smith, the lighting quick WR from the University of Alabama. They also have three-time Pro Bowl TE Zach Ertz. Ertz played a huge role when the Eagles won the Super Bowl back in 2018. The veteran TE should make things easy for Hurts and as they establish an elite connection when on the field together. 

Although the Eagles’ defense was far from stellar last year, they’ve managed to add some new players who could turn things around. (Eagles 2021 Defense) Glenn Erby from USA Today Sports says, “The Eagles have concerns at linebacker, but talented additions in Eric Wilson and JaCoby Stevens could allow the position to trend up”. He also states, “In 2020, Philadelphia finished 29th in interceptions (8) and 23rd in takeaways (19). The addition of Anthony Harris should drastically alter that stat line.” “This could pose a big threat to the Falcons rush and pass offense”, says Senior Boubacar Diallo when asked about the week 1 clash. Diallo also says, “I believe this game will go down to the wire.” “It will honestly come down to which team can be more successful in the air, not the ground game. “In the end, I think the Falcons will come out victorious with a final score of 21-14.”