Look for Ertz, Matthews to be Key Factors vs Falcons
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It’s no secret the Atlanta Falcons have one of the best offenses right now in the NFL, Matt Ryan is having a MVP-type of season and his top target Julio Jones is leading the league in receiving yards. But on the other side of the ball, the Falcons defense is one of the worst units in the league, ranking 28th in the league, giving up 28.8 points per game.
One area where the Eagles can try to exploit is the Falcons linebackers.
Their tight ends have a real problem trying to cover the tight ends, making Zach Ertz, Brent Celek and Trey Burton X-factors in this weeks game.
"They have been terrible against tight ends," ESPN.com NFL insider KC Joyner said on the Sports Bash. "They have done a terrible job against TE’s so i'd like to see a lot of Ertz and Celek involved in this contest because the Falcons have done a horrible job against the TE’s this year.”
Last week Errz began to click more with rookie quarterback Carson Wentz, catching eight passes for 97 yards in Week 9 against the Giants. Eagles offensive coordinator Frank Reich admitted this week he wants to feature Ertz more, especially in the red zone.
"He's a guy we want to feature," Reich said. "Obviously, last week was a big week for Zach, period. As you guys have noted, he probably wasn't targeted as much in the previous games, period, not just in the red zone, but to your point."
"He's a play-maker," Reich continued. "We need to find ways to get him the ball in the red zone, I would agree."
Another spot the Eagles should be able to find some yards in the passing game, with the Falcons top corner Desmond Trufant ruled out, Jalen Collins will start opposite Robert Alford in Trufant's place. The Falcons rank 18th in the vertical total QBR allowed and they also have given up six touchdowns on vertical throws.
While the Eagles wide receivers have struggled this season, Jordan Matthews is steady, and will be working on nickle corner Brian Poole for most of the game. Another guy to keep an eye on is rookie wide out Bryce Treggs, who Eagles head coach Doug Pederson said should get more work, is able to get behind the Falcons secondary for a big play.
"They do have some players in their secondary you can go after," Joyner explained. "Go after Robert Alford; I’m not convinced that he is that good. Brian Poole their nickel corner, iI think you can go after him."
The Pick: Eagles 29, Falcons 24