Tag Archives: Atlanta Falcons

The Choke’s on You, Atlanta

Super Bowl LI was one for the record books, thanks to the greatest comeback in NFL history. Or was it the biggest choke job the World has ever seen? After trailing 28-3 in the third quarter, Tom Brady led the Patriots down the field time and time again, ultimately leading them to a 34-28 overtime victory. Brady easily solidified himself as the greatest quarterback to ever walk the planet, but was it solely because of his performance or are the Falcons to blame as well?

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Brady played out of his mind, throwing for a Super Bowl record 466 yards and two touchdowns. Accompanying Brady in the backfield was Patriots running back, James White, who caught 14 balls tallying 110 yards and 3 total touchdowns.

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On the other side of the ball, Dont’a Hightower made one of the biggest plays of the night, as he strip sacked Matt Ryan, leading to a 25 yard touchdown drive. When it came to crunch time each and every player on the Patriots roster made the plays they were supposed to make. The same could not be said for the Falcons.

With a 28-12 lead in the third quarter, the Falcons essentially had the game in the bag. With the game in hand the Falcons continued to drop back and pass, ignoring the fact that they had been averaging 6.8 yards per carry. With 9 minutes left in the third, the Falcons faced a 3rd and 1 from their own 36 yard line. Idiotically the Falcons decided to pass, leading to the Dont’a Hightower strip sack. This moment seemed to change the whole momentum of the game. Brady then drove down the field and capitalized on the opportunity, pulling the game to just one possession.

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The dumb play calls did not stop there. On the ensuing drive, Julio Jones made a circus catch to bring the Falcons within field goal range at the New England 22 yard line with about 5 minutes left in the 4th quarter. A field goal would have essentially sealed the deal. The Pats stopped Atlanta on first down, tackling Devonta Freeman behind the line of scrimmage. This led to a 2nd and 11 situation. Again the Falcons decided to pass the ball and as Ryan stepped back to pass, Trey Flowers bodied his way through the line to sack the quarterback for a 12 yard loss, pushing the Falcons back to the 35 yard line and almost out of field goal range. Freeman had been averaging 6.8 yards per carry and a run during that situation would have made the most sense. The Falcons then faced a 3rd and 23 in a clear passing down and again the Falcons choked, committing a holding penalty that pushed the Falcons back even further. The Falcons were then forced to punt the ball away and the rest was history.

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The New England Patriots were outmatched and outplayed for the first three quarters but when it came down to it, their experience and championship pedigree propelled them to become Super Bowl Champions once more. The Patriots performed when it meant the most but the Falcons crumbled under the bright lights. There is no doubt that the Patriots deserved this victory but it is evident that the Atlanta Falcons let this game slip through their hands.

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What you might have missed?

The past weekend has been crazy. Rumors are swirling in the NBA, Super Bowl Media week started, two tennis legends are back on the mountain top, and the NHL and NFL all star game ensued.

NBA

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Rumors continue to swirl about Carmelo Anthony, but just how true are they? Well…unfortunately, for Anthony, it looked like his stock is way down and the Knicks are looking to get rid of him for next to nothing for the caliber of player he is. The Clippers, Celtics, and Cavaliers have been linked as potential suitors for Melo. The Celtics have come out and said they weren’t interested, but they might be interested in being the third team  in a deal to help the Knicks and Clippers complete a trade. The stumbling Cavs are likely out as well as the combination of Lebron, Kyrie, and Melo would probably sour in Cleveland very quickly.

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The rumor mill is also firing up with Jimmy Butler’s name in the center of it. Rajon Rondo’s comments about the Bulls on his Instagram page didn’t go unnoticed. Tempers are flaring and what was thought to be a contender in the East, has fallen a long way off. NBA analysts have talked about the Bulls calling the Celtics in regards to a trade between the two teams involving Butler.

NHL

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The NHL All star skills competition and game took place this weekend in Los Angeles. The Atlantic came out on top in the skills competition with 9 points, but the highlight of the night was when Ryan Kesler’s son took part in the final shootout competition. Kesler’s son took the puck down the ice and dangled Montreal goalie Carey Price and slid the puck 5-hole, then followed it with an even better celebration.

The All Star game took place Sunday afternoon in the new 3v3 format. The Metropolitan division took the crown with a 10-6 victory against the Atlantic, with Wayne Simmonds getting the MVP award.

Tennis

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Roger Federer and Serena Williams made history this weekend in Australia taking home the men’s and women’s title in the Austalian open, the first major championship of the year.

Roger won his 5th Aussie open title and 18th major championship overall, the most in the open era. Federer took on his longtime rival Rafael Nadal and took him down in an epic 5 set match.

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Serena Williams cruised through the competition winning her 7th Aussie Open title and her 23rd major championship overall, a record in the open era. Williams took on her sister Venus for the first time in a final since 2009. Serena coasted to a 6-4, 6-4 victory.

NFL

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The NFL held their first skills competition since the mid 2000’s and it was an extreme waste of time. If you didn’t watch it, you did not miss out. The Pro Bowl however was a much more entertaining game with the AFC edging out a victory 20-13. It was a rare defensive battle where there was multiple turnovers and somewhat entertaining football, something we have not seen a lot from in past Pro Bowls.

NFL: JAN 30 Super Bowl Opening Night - Patriots : News Photo

On top of the Pro Bowl, the Atlanta Falcons and the New England Patriots made their way to Houston. Media week is under way and the rest of our NFL coverage including predictions will be posted later this week so be on the look out!

Another One

The New England Patriots will be entering their 9th Super Bowl. The opponent is the often-overlooked and underrated Atlanta Falcons. ATL Quarterback Matt Ryan may be the favorite for the league’s MVP award, but when it comes to winning, nobody is better than Brady.

Both Super Bowl-bound teams put on a display in their respective Conference Championship Games. The Falcons destroyed the Green Bay Packers by a score of 21 to 44 that was really a far greater blowout than the score would lead you to believe and the Patriots had the Steelers beaten from the get-go with a final score of 36-17.

Seriously, both teams were dominant in every aspect of their game. These victories are certainly huge confidence-boosters for both teams, especially going into the biggest game of the year.

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For Tom Brady and the Patriots it’s hard to ignore the storyline. They may never address it, but everyone knows what this game means for the Patriots. Its the redemption of Tom Brady, it’s his one moment to silent the critics for good. “Deflategate” would be erased, it’d be eliminated for good.

As many New Englanders know, opposing fanbases still wave around “Spygate” wisecracks every now and again. Tom Brady was hung out to dry, turned on, and labeled a villain by the NFL. He’s had to endure media and nation-wide criticism and hate since, and February 5th is his chance to erase the detrimental “Deflategate” demons forever. It will no longer be a headline, but a mere footnote. Make no mistake, Tom knows this is the case.

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I’m not saying that the storyline is greater than that of Super Bowl 49. Both that Patriots roster and that Seahawks roster will be remembered as historic, I’m not sure about the Falcons. This could be the start of a great team for years, but it’s far more likely the NFC South continues to cycle through their top teams as they have the past 15 years. But for the Patriots, this game is everything. It’s a defining moment. It’s the period at the end of a statement that has been 16 years and 4 Super Bowl victories.

It’s the punch to remind you how legendary this dynasty has been. This Super Bowl puts the Belichick-Brady era over any other in the NFL, if that wasn’t already the case.

Divisional Round Playoff Preview

Saturday 4:35 PM

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Seattle Seahawks @ Atlanta Falcons

In this weekends first student v. mentor match up, former Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn will take on his former boss Pete Carroll in what should be a very interesting game. Matt Ryan and the high octane Falcons offense will look to attack the “Legion of Boom” head on without star free safety Earl Thomas. Julio Jones, Mohamed Sanu, and the two headed monster at running back, Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman, will lead the charge in unlocking the elite secondary and front seven of the Seahawks D. On defense, NFL sack leader Vic Beasley will be the key to containing Russell Wilson from breaking out of the pocket and making the big play.

The Seahawks will look to channel some of the offensive outburst they had last week against Detroit. Wilson will look to target number one receiver Doug Baldwin and newcomer Paul Richardson to keep the ball moving. This paired up with a strong performance from Thomas Rawls and the Seahawks could be looking at an upset. Defensively, Seattle just needs to keep doing what they have done all season, get to the quarterback, make him uncomfortable and let the talented secondary make plays.

Matt Ryan is 1-4 in his career in the playoffs, but that changes today.

Atlanta Falcons 27- Seattle Seahawks 24

Saturday 8:15 PM

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Houston Texans @ New England Patriots

With what started as a 14.5 point margin, has now risen to 16 points in some Vegas spreads. With that being said, the Patriots are heavy favorites in this game. Student Bill O’Brien will be taking on his former mentor Bill Belichick in our second student v. teacher match up of the Divisional round. Belichick will take his league leading scoring defense into this playoff run with high hopes to get another Lombardi trophy. The Patriots offense featuring Tom Brady’s 28 TD’s- 2 INT’s ratio will make it tough on the Texans defense combined with an explosive running game with Legarette Blount.

The Texans come into this game with nothing to lose and a lot of knowledge of how the Patriots operate. Defensive Coordinator Romeo Crennel, Linebackers coach Mike Vrabel, and Special teams Coordinator Larry Izzo were members of the Patriots organization for many years. This knowledge could give Brock Osweiler some much needed knowledge after a disappointing performance earlier in the year in New England. For the Texans to have a chance, they need to unleash Deandre Hopkins on some deep routs and get to Brady early and often on defense and maybe, just maybe, they will have a shot.

It has happened before, but I don’t think this 14-2 New England team will lose in the Divisional round.

New England Patriots 34- Houston Texans 14

Sunday 4:40 PM

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Green Bay Packers @ Dallas Cowboys

No quarterback in the NFL has played better than Aaron Rodgers these past few weeks. He has had time to sit in the pocket and diagnose everything about the defense. And when things break down, they go to their “backyard offense”. However, Rodgers will be missing his favorite target Jordy Nelson in Jerry’s World on Sunday. But Davante Adams and Randall Cobb should be enough to keep the Packers offense rolling. On the Defensive side, they need to find a way to get through Dallas’ excellent offensive line to slow down Ezekiel Elliott and force Dak Prescott to make some throws.

Dallas is coming into this game off of their best season in almost a decade, with two rookies at the helm. This is the only thing that would give me pause to say Dallas is a surefire winner in this football game. Their defense is much better than people give them credit for and you will see that this Sunday. If Dak can calm his nerves early, make a few throws here and there, and let Elliott do his thing, they can keep Rodgers off the field and come away with a long awaited playoff W for Jerry Jones and Co.

Elliott channels his Ohio State v. Alabama days and has himself a day leading the Boys to victory over the Pack.

Dallas Cowboys 24- Green Bay Packers 20

Sunday 8:20PM

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Pittsburgh Steelers @ Kansas City Chiefs

Arrowhead Stadium is one of the loudest places to play in the NFL, which has given many teams problems communicating on offense. With this weather that delayed the game from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. (for the first time in NFL History for a playoff game) it could hurt the attendance. On top of that, the first round bye has been more of a curse for the Chiefs who are 0-3 in first round byes since the current format has been in place. However, Alex Smith along with Travis Kelce and Tyreke Hill should light up Arrowhead for a couple spectacular plays on Sunday. The Chiefs D has to capitalize on the Big Ben’s inability to hold onto the football and turn it into some points.

The Steelers need to keep doing what they’re doing on offense with the triple threat of Big Ben, Antonio Brown, and Le’Veon Bell. If they can hold onto the ball on offense, they should have no trouble. Defensively, they need to contain Alex Smith because he is a sneaky good runner. Along with that, they need to keep Tyreke Hill and Travis Kelce from making big plays. They cannot play like they did last week and expect to win, they will need to step up big on D.

KC fans will brave the elements and Andy Reid, who’s teams are 16-2 coming off the bye, will find a way to semi contain Bell and AB, and sneak away to Foxboro for the AFC championship game.

Kansas City Chiefs 31- Pittsburgh Steelers 27

Week 13 Preview

How ‘bout them Cowboys!? Dak and Zeke are taking the league by storm and they are running away with the NFC East title. A huge road victory on Thursday night up in Minnesota has lifted the Boys to 11-1 on the season. I truthfully think they are the clear cut favorite to win the NFC crown and play in the Super Bowl.

With that being said, what other games this weekend should we be watching this weekend around the NFL? Let’s take a peak, shall we?

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Hotlanta Hiccup (Kansas City @ Atlanta):

The Kansas City Chiefs are sitting pretty for a wild card spot in this year’s playoffs, but this weekend they are heading down to the hip hop capital of the world to play the Dirty Birds at the Georgia Dome. The Atlanta Falcons are coming off a huge win over the Cardinals and I look for them to continue that success this week against the Chiefs. The Chiefs have allowed over 300 passing yards in each of the last two games, and I see no reason to believe that Matt Ryan and Julio Jones won’t pick apart the KC secondary. Alex Smith is elite, but not elite enough this week ladies and gents, Falcons get the victory 38-24.

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Baltimore Blues (Miami @ Baltimore):

Miami is 7-4 and very much in the running for a wild card spot, while the Baltimore Ravens are 6-5 and are in first place in the AFC North, I look for that to change this Sunday. After a dismal 1-4 start, Miami has won 6 straight and are on a role. I believe Ryan Tannehill will lead the Fins into Baltimore and secure a huge win for Miami, and solidify their rise in the league. Jay Ajayi is running wild right now and he gets a chance to go up against the league’s best run defense, I cannot wait to see that matchup. Call it a hunch on this one, I just see the Dolphins snagging a much needed road victory this week, Fins 20-17.

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Lambeau Life-support (Houston @ Green Bay):

Green Bay is hanging on by a thread right now, and they are very much still alive in the NFC North race. The Vikings lost Thursday and the Lions have a tough task this week with the New Orleans offense, so the packers might be able to get into a second place tie by the end of the weekend. Houston has a great defense, no offense, so this poses as an interesting matchup. Aaron Rodgers needs to have a good game if the Packers are going to in this game, and I think he will, Packers 31-24.

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Steel City Showdown (New York Giants @ Pittsburgh):

The Giants are a sneaky 8-3 and are the only team that can say they beat the Cowboys this season, but they run into a Steelers team that is fighting for a division title with Baltimore. Huge bonus to the Steelers for being at home in this one. I love the Antonio Brown and Odell Beckham Jr headline in this one, whoever scores more will be on the winning side, and for me that’s Pittsburgh. I think Big Ben and the steel curtain will shut Eli and OBJ down to take sole possession of first place in the AFC North this week. Steelers 35-23.

Quick Picks:

Detroit @ New Orleans: Detroit

LA @ New England: New England

Denver @ Jacksonville: Denver

Philadelphia @ Cincinnati: Cincinnati

San Francisco @ Chicago: San Francisco

Buffalo @ Oakland: Oakland

Washington @ Arizona: Arizona

Tampa Bay @ San Diego: Tampa Bay

Carolina @ Seattle: Seattle

Indianapolis @ New York Jets: Indianapolis

What to Watch: NFL Week 10

1:00 Games:

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Broncos @ Saints – The Broncos will be tested this week against one of the top offenses in the league. Will New Orleans’ passing attack challenge the Broncos to a shootout, or will they fold this week against the tough Denver defense? I think it’s clear if New Orleans can get the offense going, they’ll probably win the game. I just don’t see Denver’s offense able to keep up if the Saints fire on all cylinders. Von Miller and company has an interesting game on their hands this Sunday.
Prediction: Saints win

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Falcons @ Eagles – This game feels similar to the one mentioned above, where a team capable of an upset at any moment can turn the tides for a top NFL team. The Falcons are riding high, and they have a potential MVP candidate with Quarterback Matt Ryan. While Eagles QB Carson Wentz has had his rookie struggles, there’s no denying the talent is there. Plus, this Eagles team has a roster that could upset just about anybody. I wouldn’t be shocked if they snuck away with a win here, but then again I wouldn’t be shocked if they lost.
Prediction: Falcons win

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Packers @ Titans – This game might not seem huge, but I think it could be. On one hand, you could see the Packers handle this game like many would normally expect. But there’s another hand here folks, and it’s Marcus Mariota’s right palm. How do I envision Mariota’s hands? They’re probably golden tan, they’re soft but they’ve got some wear and tear. Just enough wear and tear. Jokes aside, this Titans roster is sneaky talented, with a running back that has proven himself to be as elite as everyone thought just a few years ago, a solid young QB and a surging set of wide-receivers. The Titans could sneak away with their division, and a nice place to start would be at home against the Packers.
Prediction: Packers win

4:00 Games:

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Dolphins @ Chargers – A joke game last year, both these teams are on the rise midway through the season. The Dolphins have found their guy in Jay Ajayi, and the Chargers team is looking all-around solid for the first time in a long time. This could be one of the better games this week, get a chance to catch some minutes if you can.
Prediction: Chargers win

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Cowboys @ Steelers – What’s up with the Steelers? Their defense has the ability to play well any given Sunday, but we haven’t seen too much of that so far. Steelers’ offense has been banged up all season, but they’re not performing with their essential players on the field. On the flip side of the field the Cowboys are red hot, but maybe this is the week the Dak train stops rolling. On a side note, YOU PLAY ROMO WHEN HE’S HEALTHY! Dak is clearly the future of the team, but let’s get some points across right now. 1. Romo hasn’t played with a Cowboys roster this well ever. The only contender would be from Murray’s historic year, and even then I’m not sure. Still, they were able to make some playoff noise that year. Reason #2 is that Romo has the veteran intangibles that Dak doesn’t. Before you make a Romo sucks joke, let it go. He’s been the scapegoat in a stagnant Dallas team for too long. You play the veteran; you trade him in the offseason and let Dak Dynasty lift off. But for the playoffs, whom do you trust more? Against top defenses (which Dak has played 0 games against), whom do you trust more? You go with the veteran. Don’t make a Brady reference, this is different. The Cowboys team is reliant on their offense, Brady’s breakout year they were very much reliant on defense. There’s a big difference here, and everybody just likes drinking the rookie story Kool-Aid. I like Dak a lot, but I’m using reason here. Jerry Jones should try it out sometime.
Prediction: Cowboys win

Primetime Game:

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Seahawks @ Patriots – In a failing NFL season financially; we might have our game of the year right here. Amidst deflategate, we have a Superbowl rematch of one of the greatest football games to ever be played. Brady hasn’t really been tested yet, and the Seahawks defense is still as elite as ever. Meanwhile, the Seahawks offense finally broke out the passing attack last week, which means this game isn’t a surefire win for Brady like everyone thinks. One thing’s for certain, it’ll be a hell of a game.
Prediction: Patriots win

NFL: What to Watch in Week 8

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London Game:

Redskins vs. Bengals – Teams representing Washington and Cincinnati both travel to London this week for another morning game. There’s nothing like waking up hungover to find a morning football game that surprisingly looks competitive. The Bengals are looking to bring back their powerful offense with the addition of Tyler Eifert, potentially at 100%, for the first time this season. The 10 TD animal would love to spark the struggling offense against a Redskins D that could potentially be missing star player Josh Norman due to a concussion. So far, no coach has been fired this year after loosing in London; I don’t see the streak living on this week but I guess a boy can dream.
Prediction: Redskins win

1:00 Games:

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Cardinals @ Panthers – A.K.A a game that sounded way better at the start of the year than it did going into Week 8. Could Carolina start to turn things around? Will Bruce Arians finally punish a player who isn’t performing well? Coaches like Arians are allowed to make bold claims and statements when they’re winning, but I imagine how long he can keep loosing and making bold statements before he’s on the hot seat. One team has to prevail, but its possible Arizona tries to tie a game for a second week in a row.
Prediction: Panthers win

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Lions @ Texans – A big reason why this game is listed is because the Lions are quietly becoming a team to watch this year in the NFL. Although their identity was a huge question mark coming into the year, Matt Stafford has been able to lead the Lions to 4 – 3 early on. The most interesting aspect of this team is how close every game has been; the score differential in every game the Lions have played in have never been greater than a single possession (7 points maximum). That means they could either be 7-0 or 0-7. The Texans face a different scenario, as many fans and media personalities have expressed an increasing outrage towards the play of QB Brock Osweiler. To me, Quarterback play is a key indicator towards the outcome of this game.
Prediction: Lions win

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Seahawks @ Saints – This game could be incredibly boring or it could be incredibly fun. The Seahawks play the residential “shootout” team in the NFL this week. The Saints could either rise above the Seahawks defense or sink below it. If they have the defense’s number on Sunday I’d expect a shootout, if they can’t get started I’d expect a boring game. Let’s face it, the Saints have a crappy enough defense where the Seahawks can start miraculously and randomly airing it out if they need to.
Prediction: Seahawks win

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Patriots @ Bills – Arguably the most interesting game available this week, regardless of my fandom towards the Patriots. The Bills have been riding high so far in the season, collecting a couple divisional losses against Miami and New York but dominating the New England Patriots 16-0 on Week 4. Since Tom Brady has returned, the Patriots haven’t lost and don’t really look to be considering losing as an option. The team isn’t quite as fired-up and vengeance-filled as many expected, but they’re playing solid football all around. The storyline is there, and both teams are riding high. What’s to hate about this matchup?
Prediction: Patriots win

4:00 Games:

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Packers @ Falcons – A.K.A. the “Identity Crisis of Best Quarterback” Game. Usually we’d say the best Quarterback spot belongs to Aaron Rodgers, but this year it belongs to Matt Ryan? Don’t be surprised if that narrative starts to fade away, not due to Matt Ryan but due to Falcons Offensive Coordinator’s historical narrative of a steady decrease of wins as each season progresses. Seriously, all his teams have success early on and then begin to lose often. Eventually, this Falcons squad will loose too. I’m convinced. It probably won’t happen this week, as the Packers passing defense doesn’t create much of a challenge for the Falcons offense.
Prediction: Falcons win

Primetime Game:

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Eagles @ Cowboys – The two young success stories of the NFC East square off Monday night. The Eagles knocked down the only unbeaten team in the NFL last week; they could easily ride the high this week against Dallas. Dak Prescott could be playing for his starting spot, as it’s rumored Tony Romo could be coming back as the starter next week. The final storyline to look at is the tough Philly Defensive front 7 against the Cowboys offensive line and star rookie running back Ezekial Elliot. This could turn out to be the game of the week; it might even bring the NFL ratings back.
Prediction: Cowboys win