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Game: Philadelphia Eagles (489) @ Atlanta Falcons (490)
Time: Monday 09/14 7:10 PM Eastern
Pick: Atlanta +3.5 (-115)
Fast starters? Not the hurry-up Eagles….the Eagles are 3-10-1 ATS in their last 14 games in September. As fun as the offense was to watch in preseason, the real games begin now. And the Philadelphia defense has been awful under Chip Kelly, and has a lot of new faces. He dumped three of four starters in the secondary, and they still look soft up front. Kelly’s move to trade Nick Foles for QB Sam Bradford from the St. Louis Rams comes with many concerns. The quarterback has a steep injury history, and Bradford will be returning from his second ACL tear. And leading receiver Jeremy Maclin was allowed to walk in the offseason. While there are question marks surrounding this Eagles squad, they run into a talented Atlanta team welcoming a new coach, so emotions will be high for the home team, on the field and in the stands. New Coach Dan Quinn takes over after running the Seattle Seahawks defense (and running it well). The defense adds sack artist rookie Vic Beasley and CB Jalen Collins, the team’s second round pick. Defensive end Adrian Clayborn was brought in, and in preseason he displayed flashes of the explosiveness and power that made him a first round pick by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers back in 2011. In free agency, the Falcons upgraded their linebacker situation by adding Justin Durant, Brooks Reed, and O’Brien Schofield. The Falcons already have a nice looking young cornerback group. The Atlanta offense is solid, fifth in passing with 284.6 yards per game, 12th in scoring with 23.8 points per game. They’ve ranked sixth, seventh, and fifth in passing the last three years behind QB Matt Ryan (28 TDs, 14 INTS, 4,494 yards) and WR Julio Jones (1,593). And new OC Kyle Shanahan brings in an outside-zone blocking scheme, looking for better balance to control the ball and the clock. The Falcons are 5-2 ATS against the NFC, and the place will be sky high for their new coach. Play the Atlanta Falcons.