Philadelphia Eagles def. Atlanta Falcons: 5 Quick Takeaways

Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images
Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images /

The Philadelphia Eagles defeated the Atlanta Falcons in the 2018 NFL opener 18-12. It ended almost exactly as their playoff meeting back in January.

The game didn’t start off well with both sides unable to score much. Things opened up slightly in the second half with a lot of big moments. In the end though, the world champions managed to defend their home turf with a goal line stand to reach 1-0. Atlanta was forced to leave facing the same questions that haunted them from last year. So what are some takeaways from the action?

Steve Sarkisian may not survive the season

It was a puzzling decision when the Falcons made Steve Sarkisian their offensive coordinator in 2017 and the questions really haven’t gone away. The offense has looked nowhere close to the levels they were in under Kyle Shanahan and the team has developed some seriously bad tendencies in the red zone. Atlanta was repeatedly stonewalled in that area by Philadelphia (5 trips, 9 points), much of it due to Sarkisian’s bad play calling and handling of personnel.

The Nick Foles honeymoon is over

Whatever magic Nick Foles had in 2017 that led him to the Super Bowl MVP award was nowhere to be found in this game. He looked utterly lost at times, making some bad decisions with the ball. He threw 34 passes for just 117 yards. In the modern NFL that almost seems impossible. It’s not a welcome sign if he’s reverted back to who he was a couple years ago. Carson Wentz can’t return soon enough from his injury.

These might be the two best defenses in the NFC

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On the flip side, it’s fair to give all due credit to both defenses in this game. Everybody knows the Eagles have a great one already, but the Falcons came to play Thursday night. The two sides traded stops, sacks, and turnovers all night. In the end, Atlanta just got worn down by the superior Eagles rushing attack led by Jay Ajayi. Don’t be surprised if those two units finish #1 and #2 in the NFC by the end of this season.

Jim Schwartz continues to heat up his head coaching candidacy

The Eagles defense didn’t become great until Jim Schwartz arrived and it seems to only be getting better. Granted, he’s been gifted with a ton of talent spearheaded by Fletcher Cox and Malcolm Jenkins but still. The man is a hard-driving defensive wizard who has coached with a chip on his shoulder ever since the Detroit Lions fired him. It’s clear he is aiming for another head coaching job, and at this rate, he might be a favorite next January.

Alshon Jeffery was sorely missed

Outside of the Nelson Agholor, who had 33 yards, the Eagles wide receivers were an absolute non-factor. It was either the tight ends or the running backs and even Foles himself at one point. It reinforced how limited the offense is without Alshon Jeffery in the lineup. He’s trying to return from his own injury and it was made even worse when Mack Hollins went on IR. The Eagles might be thinner at receiver than they care to admit.