Sunday, October 28, 2012
How you feeling? Eagles-Falcons
By Dan Graziano
PHILADELPHIA -- As the Philadelphia Eagles prepare to host the undefeated Atlanta Falcons at 1 p.m. ET today at Lincoln Financial Field, here's one reason for Eagles fans to feel good and one reason for concern.
Feeling good: Andy Reid is 13-0 in his career as Eagles coach in games immediately following bye weeks. That's not a fluke. It's a large enough sample size on which to base the conclusion that Reid's coaches and players know how to take advantage of the extra rest and preparation time. Last year's 34-7 Week 8 victory over the Cowboys at home was the Eagles' most complete and dominating performance of the season. If there is any week this year on which you should be able to count on Michael Vick and the Eagles playing their absolute best, it's this one. They should be able to get Atlanta's excellent receivers covered with Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, and they should be able to run the ball against the Falcons' defense, so there are matchups in the game that favor them. But if you believe the Eagles haven't yet played their best football this season, history indicates that you can reasonably tune in today expecting that to change.
Cause for concern: The Falcons have forced 17 turnovers this season, which is the fourth-highest total in the league. The Eagles have committed 17 turnovers this season, which is tied for the second-highest total in the league. This puts the Falcons in position to take advantage of the Eagles' biggest weakness and the problem that is most responsible for their 3-3 record so far this season. A lot of people's hopes for the Eagles in this game rest on the idea that the Falcons' 6-0 record has been built against a supposedly weak schedule. And it's true that the Falcons have yet to play a team that currently has a winning record. But the Eagles don't have a winning record either, and the main reason is that they can't protect the football. Atlanta is not likely to make that any easier.