The expectation level for the Eagles this season is high. It is also very dangerous for us to have an expectation level as high as we do, so there needs to be balance. Us fans need to remember that Chip Kelly and the team take it one game at a time.
This week, the opening regular-season game is against the Atlanta Falcons and will be played in the Georgia Dome. Tempering my expectations for the season, overall, here are my five expectations for this Monday night game.
1. The offensive line will do its job – and well. Sure, Dan Quinn is a great defense of coach coming over from Seattle. However, it’ll take more than a few weeks of preseason play for the Atlanta defensive front to become respected. It could certainly take an entire season. The Eagles offensive line should have no major issues run blocking well and protecting the quarterback.
2. Sam Bradford’s confidence = yardage, touchdowns and a win. Speaking of the quarterback, I expect Sam Bradford to throw for at least three touchdowns, and over 340 yards. We have seen Bradford making quick decisions and getting the ball out of his hands to avoid sacks and pressure. The chemistry is there between he and his wife receivers. Did you happen to see the press conference with Bradford this past week? Talk about a quarterback who is determined and focused going into week one. There’s no reason why he won’t be able to pick apart the Falcons weak defense.
3. The secondary will go through growing pains. Even though the secondary has been greatly revamped, and of course Byron Maxwell and Walter Thurmond are better defensive players than last years personnel, Atlanta has veteran receivers who will confuse and frustrate our corners and safeties. Matt Ryan is a top-10 quarterback and Julio Jones is a top-five wide receiver. I expect an average performance from the secondary.
4. The front seven will accumulate at least six sacks. The Falcons offensive line last year and during the course of this preseason was absolutely abysmal. They are one of the worst in the league. The power that Fletcher Cox, Bennie Logan, Cedric Thornton, and the linebacker corps will bring won’t be matched by Atlanta’s o-line.
5. Cody Parkey will kick a perfect game. Even though he had been nursing a slight groin injury during the latter part of the preseason, Parkey will be good to go in a dome atmosphere. I have him making 94% of his field goals this season. This first game will be a great start to another Pro Bowl season for Parkey.
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