Philadelphia Eagles (1-0) at Atlanta Falcons (0-1)
I had relatively high expectations for the Falcons going into the season, as their defense looked likely to be improved with Deion Jones, Keanu Neal, and Ricardo Allen back from injury. Their defense struggled in a week 1 loss in Minnesota, allowing a 44.90% first down rate in a 28-12 defeat. The Falcons didn’t play nearly as badly as the final score suggested, however, as the game swung on a few turnovers. The Falcons only lost the final down rate battle by 1.61%, but they threw two interceptions, lost a fumble, failed to recover two Minnesota fumbles, and had a punt blocked. Turnover margin and fumble recovery rate tend to be highly inconsistent week-to-week, so I think the Falcons are pretty underrated going into this week.
The Eagles are obviously a tough opponent, but I still have this line calculated at Atlanta -1. We’re not getting great value with the Falcons at +2, but I think they have a good shot to win this game outright. We could very easily see a much more focused Falcons team at home in a big measuring stick game against one of the top teams in the conference. This is only a low confidence pick against the spread, but the money line at +115 is worth a small bet.
Atlanta Falcons 30 Philadelphia Eagles 27 Upset Pick +115
Pick against the spread: Atlanta +2