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Atlanta Falcons vs. Philadelphia Eagles Point Spread - Pick

Atlanta Falcons (0-0 SU, 0-0 ATS) vs. Philadelphia Eagles (0-0 SU, 0-0 ATS)
Week 1 NFL
Date/Time: Thursday Night Football, September 6, 2018 at 8:20PM EDT
Where: Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
TV: NBC

By Loot, NFL Football Handicapper, Lootmeister.com

Betting Odds: ATL +2.5/PHI -2.5
Over/Under Total: 45

The Atlanta Falcons take on the Philadelphia Eagles in week one action. Here we go—the kickoff of the NFL season! Finally! Here we have the last two NFC representatives to the Super Bowl going at it. Only the Eagles were able to get it done, earning Super Bowl honors last season against the Patriots. They return home this week to what should be a rambunctious throng of faithful fans. The Eagles better not get too caught up in the hysteria, though, as the Falcons have maintained their edge and look to start their season fast.

One can almost sense some people not really buying into the Eagles this season. Not so sure why that's the case. Yeah, Blount is gone, along with Torrey Smith, and a few pieces on defense, along with some key components on the coaching staff. The Super Bowl hangover seems to be real with how few teams actually repeat. Not having Carson Wentz start the season could alarm some, but the offense is in the sure hands of Nick Foles, the same guy who guided this team to glory with Wentz out to end last season.

There also doesn't seem to be a ton of heat surrounding the Falcons this season. Maybe people have grown tired of them. Maybe it's the leftover stink from when they blew the Super Bowl game against the Patriots. But in a really tough NFC South last season, they kept their nose above water, made the playoffs, and even pinned a loss on a favored Rams home team in the postseason, before losing to the team they face this week. In a way, this is the second game in a row where the Falcons have to play the Eagles.

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One shouldn't be so quick to bury either team in light of what is a burgeoning NFC conference. The Eagles look to have stumbled upon the right formula. OK, maybe some luck was involved and the right mix has been disrupted to a point where things won't come off as well this season. But there was nothing that fluky about their ascent last season and without a ton of righteous reasons upon which to forecast a downturn, the assumption here is that they're going to be pretty tough. Their defense still appears to be the goods, the same unit that held Atlanta scoreless in the second half in the playoffs last season. And their offense looks like the same group we saw last season.

Atlanta may not have thrived last season as they did the previous season. Their formula on offense is still a potent one, although they need to find some new life this year. Maybe incoming WR Calvin Ridley can provide a boost. They averaged just over 22 points a game last season, not characteristic of a typical Matt Ryan-led offense. With that O-line and their weaponry, it should be better. What helped get them in to the playoffs and even thrive and lose just 15-10 to the eventual Super Bowl champion was a defense that really started to find its stride. It could be even better this season with some breaks in the health department. Last season, Philly only got in the end zone once in a home playoff game against this bunch.

Atlanta still has some issues that bear reckoning. The offense seems to have gone stale to some extent. Freeman needs a bounce-back season at running back. Julio Jones is getting older. Ryan sagged after his MVP-winning season the previous year. They're a team still forming in terms of identity, morphing into more of a defensively-reliant squad. Maybe this is the season where they achieve better balance and really become a threat in a conference that has grown in depth since they sat atop the roost two seasons ago.

The Eagles have a target on their backs now. It's simply not going to be as easy as it was last season. Their top competition got better. And when a team long-starved for championship glory finally gets it, a lot of energy is blown off, maybe bringing the title hangover potential more into play. At the very least, the typical things that seem to prevent teams from repeating could very well be at play for the Eagles.

Just not in week one. This crowd should be bumping, as enthusiasm is something not lacking in this scenario. It's going to be a hostile environment, but the Falcons are used to big spots and it's going to take more than a jumpy week one road crowd to throw them off their game. The landscape has certainly changed since last season's playoff game, but I see some similar things playing out. Calling the game seems a little dicey. I just the scoring not being all that plentiful, making me think that maybe under 45 is the right play. I'm going under.

Loot's Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I'm betting that the Falcons-Eagles games goes "under" 45 points. Bet the Atlanta-Philly Thursday Night Football game for FREE by taking advantage of a massive 100% sign-up bonus on your first deposit of $100 to $500 at GTBets!

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