What Mismatch Favors The Eagles Versus The Falcons?
One of the narratives of the Eagles season has been the number of injuries they have sustained which includes Carson Wentz, Jason Peters, and Jordan Hicks. But the Falcons are also having to play without a key player as Andy Levitre is on Injured Reserve, an issue that became glaring when Rams All-Pro Defensive Tackle Aaron Donald manhandled every Falcons Interior Offensive Lineman in Atlanta's win on NFL Wild Card Weekend. Pro Football Focus rated Vinny Curry, Fletcher Cox, Brandon Graham, and Tim Jernigan as four of the Top 30 Defensive Lineman in the NFL in 2017; the Atlanta Falcons Offensive Line allowed 87 Quarterback Hits on Matt Ryan, which ranks them in the middle of the league at protecting the Quarterback.
NFL Network Analyst and former NFL Offensive Lineman Shaun O'Hara joined Rich Quinones on Thursday with his perspective on the Falcons Offensive Line versus the Eagles Defensive Front:
“If you can get pressure over the (Falcons) Guards, that’s where Matt Ryan struggles. Look last week against the Rams, Aaron Donald was throttling the Left Guard Ben Garland; I’ve never seen a Guard spend more time on the ground in a game than Ben Garland did. He had filled in admirably for Andy Levitre but that (Eagles Defensive) Line, they’re going to be chomping at the bit and they are going to be fighting over who can line up over Ben Garland. Fletcher Cox is going to be (lined up) over the Right Guard Wes Schweitzer whose had his struggles too – I expect Fletcher Cox to have a big game….The thing the Eagles have is they have so many good (pass) rushers; they got Vinny Curry coming in, you bring Brandon Graham and put him down on the Guard, you got Chris Long on the outside too, you got fresh bodies so they’re going to be rotating guys…that’s a nightmare for Offensive Lineman, so I think that’s a mismatch in the Eagles favor.”
Checkout what O'Hara had to say about Nick Foles starting in the playoffs for the Eagles, review of the NFL Playoffs Divisional Round Match-ups, and more NFL talk