Where to listen on radio: 94 WIP/XM 225, 226
Time: 8:20 p.m. EST
Site: Georgia Dome
Where to watch on TV: NBC (Nationally televised)
Al Michaels is the premiere voice of the National Football League. His presence alone somehow makes the game seem more important. Say what you will about Collinsworth, who was critical of the Eagles during their days of James Thrash and Todd Pinkston, but he’s one of the most inisghtful analysts on television. He doesn’t hold back and isn’t afraid to criticize a player or coach when it’s warranted–that’s a dying trend these days (i.e. John Gruden).
Line: Philadelphia -2.5, O/U 49.5
Last Meeting: Last October, Kevin Kolb replaced an injured Michael Vick to lead the Eagles to a 31-17 win over the Falcons. Kolb was 23 of 29 for 329 yards and three touchdowns. It could have been worse for the Falcons had David Akers not missed three field goals. Jeremy Maclin had a big game. He hauled in seven passes and two touchdowns.
Stats to know: Matt Ryan has struggled against the Eagles, going 0-2 against them thus far in his young career. Dating back to last season’s NFC Divisional Playoff game against Green Bay the Falcons have allowed a total of 78 points.
Editor’s Prediction: This game is being billed a must-win for Atlanta, but that’s not really true. Each NFC South team lost last week, so the Falcons’ situation isn’t as dire as some say. Still, with Michael Vick returning to Atlanta on national television, this game carries some extra juice. Ultimately, there’s no reason to believe Atlanta’s defense is going to be able to slow down an explosive Eagles’ offense. On the other side of the ball, the Eagles’ secondary should take away the vertical passing game from Matt Ryan. In order to win, Atlanta must get Michael Turner going–and keep him going. Regardless, I believe the NFL is predicated on big plays and I think the Eagles will be able to make just a few more than the Falcons. I’m taking the Eagles to win 30-26.