Nov 122016

Atlanta Falcons (6-3) at Philadelphia Eagles (4-4)

The Falcons are 6-3 and one of the better teams in the league this season thanks primarily to a high flying offense that leads the NFL with a first down or touchdown on a whopping 43.26% of snaps, including 50% in back-to-back games against the Packers and Buccaneers coming into this game. No other offense is even close, as the 2nd place Cowboys have a first down rate of 41.74% and the 3rd place Saints are at 40.63%. The defense hasn’t been nearly as good, allowing the 4th highest first down rate in the NFL, but their offense has been good enough to compensate, so they rank 4th in first down rate differential entering this one.

The Falcons offense will probably have to play at a very high level once again this week, as the Falcons’ defense is without cornerback Desmond Trufant, arguably their best defensive player and certainly their best defensive back. Without him, an already weak defense gets even worse. The Eagles are not a great team and have fallen back to earth after a 3-0 start and sit here at 4-4, but they’re not bad either. They enter this game 16th in first down rate differential. I’m not confident either way in this game, but the Eagles are the pick as 1.5 point home underdogs against the Falcons without Trufant.

Atlanta Falcons 24 Philadelphia Eagles 23

Pick against the spread: Philadelphia +1.5

Confidence: None

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