The opening kickoff of the 2018 NFL Schedule gets underway on Thursday Night Football with a battle between the Atlanta Falcons and the Super Bowl Champions the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. All eyes will be on the opening contest of the season as fans, sports bettors and even fantasy football owners finally get to see the real product on the field.
As you look at this matchup the Eagles were possible one of the most impressive teams from a year ago and one that rolled to an impressive win over the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl. Now less than a year later the big question mark in Week 1 of the 2018 NFL Season is whether or not we can all turn our trust to Nick Foles. Foles who put together a solid campaign down the stretch including the Super Bowl has been solid at times but he has also shown this preseason that he can be very inconsistent.
Meanwhile the Falcons enter this contest looking to bounce back from a disappointing 15-10 loss at Lincoln Financial during the Divisional round of the 2017 NFL playoffs. For this Falcons team the success will start on the offensive side of the ball including the play from quarterback Matt Ryan and wide receiver Julio Jones. Both players landed extensions this offseason opening up the door for them to concentrate on the upcoming season.
Here are the key to the game for both the Atlanta Falcons and Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday Night Football.
NFL Keys to the Game
Atlanta Falcons – Force Nick Foles to Beat You
While the success of the Falcons will fall on the shoulder of Matt Ryan, their key to their success on Thursday Night football is to force Nick Foles to beat them. During the Divisional round meeting, Foles connected on 23 of 30 passes while protecting the ball. One of the ways the Falcons will do this is to put pressure on him both up the middle and on the outside. This was something they failed at last season recording just one sack. While trying to make Foles beat them, the Falcons will need to limit the big play potential of Jay Ajayi in both the passing attack and running game.
Philadelphia Eagles – Put the Ball in the Endzone
Despite delivering for their fans and sports bettors last season holding the Falcons to just 10 points, the Eagles will need to find a way into the end zone on Thursday Night against a Falcons team that many expect to put up a ton of points in most contests this season. The big question mark in week 1 will be who will step up to fill the void of Alshon Jeffery. Jefferey led the team in touchdowns last season with nine while providing a third passing weapon along with teammates Zach Ertz and Nelson Agholor. For the Eagles to have success in week 1 they will need to find the end zone multiple times.
NFL Betting Trends
Atlanta Falcons – The Falcons enter Thursday Night Football covering the spread in seven of their last eight contests on prime time. Along with that success the team covered four of their last five games in September. While that success looks great they have struggled on the road posting a 2-6 record against the spread.
Philadelphia Eagles – For the Eagles their success continues to come at home at Lincoln Financial Field as they have covered the spread in seven of their last nine home contests. That success has also shown up against teams in the NFC as they have gone 12-4 against the spread.
Head 2 Head – The betting trends are odd in this matchup as the home team has covered the spread in five of the last six matchups while the underdog has covered in four of their last five meetings.
What’s next for these two teams:
Atlanta Falcons – The Falcons return home for a key divisional matchup with the Carolina Panthers on September 16th, 2018.
Philadelphia Eagles – The Eagles make the trip South to Tampa to take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on September 16th, 2018.