The Philadelphia Eagles and Atlanta Falcons are set to play each other this Thursday evening at Lincoln Financial Field. In order to preview the Eagles’ Week 1 game Rodney McLeod Jersey , I reached out to our associates over at The Falcoholic. The deferential Dave Choate (@WordsandBeer) kindly took the time to answer my questions about the upcoming contest. Let’s take a look at the answers. (Also don’t forget to check out my Q&A exchange over at TF.)1 - What’s different about this Falcons team from the last time these two teams played back in January? Is Atlanta better or worse than they were then? The biggest difference, I hope, is in the offense. Steve Sarkisian has talked all offseason about how he’s more comfortable with his playmakers and play calling at the NFL level, which should translate to fewer boneheaded calls, especially near the goal line. The addition of Brandon Fusco at right guard (a slight upgrade) and Calvin Ridley at wide receiver (a potentially major upgrade over Taylor Gabriel) should help this team to do more against tough defenses like Philadelphia’s this season. On defense, the Falcons have downgraded at defensive tackle (Terrell McClain/Jack Crawford instead of Dontari Poe), added a promising young cornerback in Isaiah Oliver (who may not play Thursday night), and have poured a surprising amount of resources into improving their special teams. The net result of this, I hope, is a better Falcons team, even if the improvements are more likely to be slight than drastic.2 - Do you think the Falcons losing the way they did to the Eagles has them extra motivated to come back to Philly and win this time? How about from a fan perspective? To what extent are fans bitter about that game? I certainly hope it will provide some extra motivation. The Falcons have lost to the eventual Super Bowl champion way too many times in the last decade, and as deserving a champion as the Eagles were a year ago, it has to stick in their craw that they were a handful of bad plays on offense and Keanu Neal’s failed interception away from potentially winning. There’s no way they should be flat for an opportunity at some revenge, no matter how small that revenge may be.For fans, I think it’s the same. Nobody watched the Eagles win the Super Bowl and thought “damn, we were better than them.” But we did know how close the game was, and we know how talented this Atlanta roster can be. We’re hoping for a better result this time.3 - What is the Falcons’ biggest strength? Where do they have the biggest edge in this game?The biggest strength should still be the passing game Stefen Wisniewski Jersey , and that should still be this team’s edge, even against a formidable Eagles defense. Matt Ryan is one of the better quarterbacks in the NFL, this offensive line is a top ten unit both talent and production-wise, and they have a borderline elite group of pass catchers with Julio Jones, Mohamed Sanu, Calvin Ridley, Austin Hooper, and Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman in the mix. If the Falcons falter throwing the ball this year, it’s going to be a bad sign for their season outlook.It would be ridiculous to say the Falcons should be able to pass all over the Eagles--Philadelphia’s pass rush alone probably ensures that won’t happen--but given the talent present it’s still their biggest strength and likeliest edge.4 - What is the Falcons’ biggest weakness? What concerns you the most about the Eagles? Honestly, I’m concerned that the defense is going to struggle to stop the run, and the pass rush is still something I’m going to need to see to believe. The team added some beefy defensive tackles and has one of the most physical secondaries in the league, but they’re still smallish up front and it’s not immediately clear that they have the pieces to be an elite run defense this year. The pass rush should be good--Takkarist McKinley, Vic Beasley and Grady Jarrett are all nasty--but again, I need to see whether they have the pieces to be great.And even with Nick Foles back under center, that’s what concerns me about the Eagles. There’s no question that Philadelphia has a strong offense, and especially in the first week as this defense finds its footing, I worry they’ll have lapses.5 - Who wins this game and why? Score prediction? And what are your expectations for this Falcons season?I do think the Falcons can win this one http://www.eaglescheapshops.com/cheap-authentic-jake-elliott-jersey , and at the risk of being fairly scorned I’m going to predict they’ll do it, by a score of 24-21. Neither result would surprise me, but with the Eagles being a bit banged up and the Falcons looking very healthy outside of (of all things) long snapper, I’m feeling bullish about their chances. I think Atlanta will be able to do more on offense this time around, and while I’m expecting Philadelphia to have a great deal of success running the ball in particular, I think the Falcons can edge it out. I think this Philadelphia game will help me figure out what’s ahead, but this team has the talent to make a deep run and a third place schedule, so I’m expecting a season around 11-5 and a playoff berth. Whether they can turn that into a Super Bowl run like 2016 depends on health, the strength of the NFC’s many elite teams, and Atlanta’s improvement.Eagles vs. Falcons snap counts: Some surprises in Philadelphia’s Week 1 game Here’s a breakdown of the snap counts from the Philadelphia Eagles’ 18-12 win over the Atlanta Falcons in Week 1 of the 2018 NFL season. Some interesting things of note here in the reigning Super Bowl champions’ first game. OFFENSEJason Kelce missed one snap. He limped off the field as Isaac Seumalo ran in to replace him as the Eagles took a knee to end the first half. He didn’t miss any more time, which was good to see.Jason Peters missed a snap due to an upset stomach.Zach Ertz almost played the entire game. The Eagles especially need his presence with Alshon Jeffery and Mack Hollins out. Ertz didn’t have his best night against Atlanta but he still managed to lead the time in receiving with five receptions for 48 yards. Mike Wallace was held without a catch despite playing 92% of the snaps. Who would’ve guessed DeAndre Carter would get so much playing time? He logged his first NFL career reception on Thursday night. That was cool to see. But even though I like Carter, I’m not crazy about him playing nearly 40 snaps more than second-round pick Dallas Goedert. What’s up with that? The season is incredibly young, but this kind of usage is why I had some questions about the selection being the most efficient use of resources. Hopefully we see more of Goedert moving forward. I never fully bought into the idea that Jay Ajayi was simply going to dominate the Eagles’ playing time at running back and Thursday night confirmed my suspicion. This is still very much a rotation. Now, I don’t disagree that the Eagles SHOULD use Ajayi more often. It felt like a little too much of Darren Sproles (with all due respect) and not enough Jay Train at times. In addition to filling in for Kelce on one snap, Seumalo saw four snaps as a blocking tight end. He got into the game over Halapoulivaati Vaitai in that role. Last year at this time it was Big V ahead of him in that regard. Seems like a good sign for Seumalo’s development.It’s pretty surprising to see Shelton Gibson only played four snaps after having such a strong preseason. He seemed to figure in as a sure-fire starter with Jeffery and Hollins missing time. Most of Gibson’s playing time came on special teams, where he was used as the team’s primary kick returner.DEFENSEGood to see Jordan Hicks out there healthy and playing the full game. The stat-stuffing stud finished the game with seven tackles (team high), 1.5 sacks Cheap Sidney Jones Jersey , two tackles for loss, one pass defensed, and two quarterback hits. He’s a beast. The Eagles made an effort to manage Fletcher Cox’s snaps throughout the season in order to keep him fresh for the playoffs. They certainly weren’t conserving him for this game, which is fine, because they really needed him. Cox had one sack, one tackle for loss, and four quarterback hits.Derek Barnett got the “start” at defensive end but he was ultimately outsnapped by MIchael Bennett. Sidney Jones played the entire game as the Eagles’ nickel corner.Nathan Gerry got the “start” at linebacker but Kamu Grugier-Hill played more than him. It’ll be interesting to see how the playing time gets split up there with Nigel Bradham back. Grugier-Hill had a key tackle for loss on the Falcons’ first failed 4th-and-goal attempt in the game.Destiny Vaeao got the “start” at defensive tackle next to Cox despite the fact Haloti Ngata is listed ahead of him on the depth chart. Rasul Douglas filled in for Ronald Darby on two snaps and made the most of his playing time by notching a crucial red-zone interception. Kudos to Sul.SPECIAL TEAMSRookie corner Avonte Maddox only played on special teams. No defensive snaps.Newly acquired Eagles linebacker D.J. Alexander got some good work in on special teams.When the Eagles traded for Deiondre’ Hall, my thought was that the Eagles are going to cut him after Hall’s one game suspension is over. Sullivan did nothing to help himself with his bone-headed decision to get near a live ball and gift possession back to the Falcons. Just can’t do that, my guy.Johnston got a lot of work due to the Eagles’ offensive struggles. He did pretty well in his regular NFL season debut with six punts for 313 yards (52.2 average), only one touchback, one punt downed inside the 20-yard line, and a long of 65. Looks like the Eagles have a keeper here, which is good to see after moving on from Donnie Jones.Not listed in the graphic here: Jake Elliott played six special teams snaps (22%).