Falcons vs. Eagles, Week 8: Atlanta hopes for quick start

Matt Sullivan

The Atlanta Falcons are known for scoring early and playing tight defense to start games. They haven't done much of that lately, but still winning.

Despite the Falcons having the best season in franchise history up to this point, there is something they haven't able to do recently that Atlanta built a reputation for; start strong in games. The Falcons have led the NFL in points scored on their first offensive possession since Mike Smith took over as head coach in 2008.

But not only have the Falcons struggled to score on their first possession since Week 3, but Matt Ryan even threw an interception on the first offensive drive against the Raiders in Week 6. Atlanta wants to change this against the Eagles this week.

"It's important every week," Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan said. "That's one of the areas we need to improve. We haven't done a great job of that the last couple of weeks. Smitty talks about it all the time. We want to start fast and maintain that throughout the game. Regardless of what they have going on, I think that's a point of emphasis for this week."

The Falcons' defense is usually just as impressive to start the game. Daniel Cox from the team's website writes that the Falcons are one of only four teams to allow two or fewer first-possession touchdowns since last season. The touchdown Atlanta gave up to the Panthers on the opening drive in Week 4 was just the second time they've given up a TD to begin the game in the last 23 games.

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