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Eagles at Falcons Sunday Night Football Pick

9/18/11

The Falcons host Michael Vick and the Philadelphia Eagles this week on Sunday Night Football and are 2.5 point underdogs at some shops. If the Patriots/Chargers game is the Marquee game of the week, this one is a close 2nd. The Eagles are in off their opening day win over the Rams while the Falcons were embarrassed by the Bears 30-12. The Vick story will dominate the headlines but in reality, should only serve to motivate both quarterbacks in this game. Yeah, Vick would like to walk out of Atlanta with a win but just the same, Matt Ryan would love to let him know it's his town now.

We didn't expect a 30-12 outcome in the Bears game for the Falcons. But if you dig a little deeper you'll find the score didn't necessarily reflect the stats. The Falcons won the first down battle 20-17 as well as the total yards which included 110 on the ground and 276 through the air. The stat that jumps out is turnovers. Atlanta lost 2 fumbles (one returned for a TD) and an interception.

Both of these teams are coming off good years. The Falcons were 13-3 last season. They were 7-1 at home and they gave up just 288 points, good for 4th best in the NFL behind the Packers, Steelers and Ravens. They weren't too bad at putting points on the board either with 412 total points, good for 5th best in the NFL. The Eagles were 10-6 last year. Both of these teams were bounced out of the playoffs in their first playoff games, both at the hands of the Packers, the eventual Super Bowl Champs.

Fortunately for the Falcons, their entire division, the NFC South, all lost in week 1. So we have a 4 way tie, all at 0-1, between the Falcons, Saints, Bucs and Panthers!

We expect a big night from the Falcons Sunday. For our money, they have one of the top 5 QB's in the game today in Matt Ryan and a defense that can get after the ball. The last time they took the field in the Georgia Dome for a "real" game, they walked off with their tail between their legs as they were embarrassed, some say exposed, by the Packers in the playoff game. Combine that with last weeks performance and even though it's only week 2, you can sense some urgency.

The Falcons are the same team as they were a year ago with the additions of Julio Jones and Ray Edwards. Meanwhile, the Eagles have lots of new faces at key positions, such as most of the offensive line. Whether or not these new additions are for the better or worse remains to be seen, but it's not the same Eagles team. We like the Falcons here. The current number is +2.5 and while we'd consider buying this up to +3 we don't think we'll need it as this play is based on our feeling that the Falcons win this one straight up. Falcons+2.5

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