You all knew it was coming. Last year the Falcons thought they would get a chance to redeem themselves against Michael Vick, only see the Eagles pull the switcheroo on us and send out Kevin Kolb. One injured Dunta Robinson later, and we all remember how that agonizing game turned out.
However, this season's Sunday night matchup with the Eagles looks to be even more interesting because apparently "the Dream Team" is the single best football team ever to be assembled. If the Falcons can even manage to get a first down against Philly's vaunted linebacking corps of Casey Matthews, Jamar Chaney, and Moise Fokou I'll be impressed.
Record: 10-6, NFC East Champions, lost to Packers in the Wild Card round
Last Meeting: Week 6, 2010 (Falcons lost 17-31)
Notable Additions: CB Nnamdi Asomugha, CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, DE Jason Babin, DL Cullen Jenkins, QB Vince Young, RB Ronnie Brown, WR Steve Smith
Notable Losses: LB Stewart Bradley, QB Kevin Kolb, S Quentin Mikell, K David Akers, G Nick Cole
Regardless of how I or anyone else may feel about the Eagles, the Falcons will certainly be put to the test early on this season. Nnamdi Asomugha is the best cornerback in the league, that much is true. They're not the '07 Patriots, but the Eagles still look to be a very good football team.
However, one thing to remember about the Eagles is that they somewhat cooled off towards the end of 2010. Teams started pressuring Vick, getting to him with the blitz and forcing him to make bad plays. The offensive line, while solid, isn't exactly stacked either. If the Falcons pass rushers can get to Vick and Brian VanGorder has finally figured out how to scheme against a mobile QB, the Philly offense can be contained.
Also remember that with so many new players and such a short offseason, I feel like there's bound to be some sloppy play early on for the Eagles. Either that, or we'll be commending their players for learning a new system in little over a month.
Finally, the Falcons get to face the Eagles at home this time. Under Mike Smith, the Falcons have gone an astonishing 20-2 over the past three years at home. Come Sunday night, the Dome will be rocking and Matthews the Younger won't find it quite as easy to call out the defenses. We might start to see some chinks in the Eagles' collective armor.
While the Bears will be a tough matchup, I feel like this game against the Eagles could be the year's defining moment, as it will dictate both national attention and how the rest of the season plays out. Ray Edwards, this will be the game where Atlanta needs you the most.
For more on the Falcons, check out The Falcoholic.