“Monday Night Football” begins the its 46th season with two games in Week 1. The Philadelphia Eagles visit the Georgia Dome to face the Atlanta Falcons in the first game of the double-header.
Philadelphia is one of eight road favorites in Week 1, according to vegasinsider.com. The Eagles are giving the Falcons three points at Las Vegas casinos, and the over/under of 55.5 points is the highest of the week.
The game will air on national TV on ESPN at 7:10 p.m. ET. Viewers can watch a free live stream online with WatchESPN.
The 2010 No.1 pick has lived up to lofty expectations, battling injuries throughout his career. The quarterback only has a 79.3 passer rating in 49 career games, and he’s played just seven games since the start of the 2013 season. But Bradford looked like he was starting to reach his potential in his last few seasons, and he looked very good in the preseason.
Bradford’s last season was his most productive, and he threw for 35 touchdowns and 17 interceptions from 2012-2013. Philadelphia had a top-four offense in both seasons under head coach Chip Kelly, and the Eagles added last year’s league-leading rusher, DeMarco Murray. However, no player on the team has ever had a 1,000-yard receiving season.
Bradford has a chance to throw for a lot of yards against Atlanta, who allowed more total yards than any NFL team in 2014. The Falcons had the league’s worst pass defense, surrendering 280 yards per game.
Dan Quinn’s Debut
After their defense performed so poorly in 2014, Atlanta hired a top defensive coordinator to be their head coach. Quinn helped the Seattle Seahawks rank as the NFL’s best defense for two seasons, and the Falcons are hoping he can turn around the unit that ranked dead last in multiple categories last year.
Quinn and the Falcons drafted defensive end Vic Beasley with their No.1 pick, and he’ll make his regular-season debut on Monday. Under Kelly, Philadelphia has become known for their fast-paced offense, but Quinn doesn’t appear overly concerned regarding the Eagles, calling it a “terrific matchup.”
"As we went through the whole offseason we knew there were certain weeks that teams run more tempo than others and some you have to prepare for," Quinn told reporters on Thursday. "They're not unique in the league in terms of trying to play fast.”
Philadelphia lost their top quarterback, wide receiver and running back from a year ago. But optimism for the team remain high, and they started the season tied for the third-best Super Bowl odds. Only three players had better MVP odds than Bradford to start the year.
The Eagles are favored to win the division, even though the Dallas Cowboys edged them by two games last season. A season after the Falcons finished in third place, no team in the NFC South has better Super Bowl odds than Atlanta.
Atlanta’s defense might still be subpar in 2015, but it should be improved under Quinn, and they have the ability to put up a lot of points. Philadelphia is deep at running back, but they don’t have a proven No.1 wide receiver. Bradford could have a solid start, but he’s no guarantee to put up big numbers on the road.
Atlanta over Philadelphia, 27-24