Week 1 Preview: Eagles open up regular season in Atlanta

The Philadelphia Eagles will travel to Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta, GA, to take on the Atlanta Falcons in Week 1 of the 2021 NFL season.

Philadelphia is coming off a disappointing 4-11-1 season in 2020 and an offseason where major changes were made. They moved on from former second overall pick quarterback Carson Wentz, who was traded to the Indianapolis Colts in the offseason after a down year and a drama-filled ending.

The team also moved on from Super Bowl-winning head coach Doug Pederson and hired Nick Sirianni, who has no head coaching experience, although he was the Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator for the past three seasons.

With Sirianni at the helm, there has been a wait-and-see approach from many fans to see what his offense could look like with the current personnel that the Eagles have.

As for the Eagles’ roster, Jalen Hurts will now be the starting quarterback after taking over for Wentz in Week 12 at Green Bay and starting the final four games last season. In those four starts, Hurts threw for 919 yards, 5 touchdowns, and ran for 272 yards.

Heading into this season, the second-year quarterback hopes to improve in the passing game under a brand new regime. However, Hurts will not have to do it alone as he has a new top target in DeVonta Smith. Smith was selected in the first round by Philadelphia and won the Heisman Trophy last season.

However, on the defensive side of things, the Eagles shook up the secondary with the free-agent signings of Anthony Harris from the Minnesota Vikings and Steve Nelson from the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Despite those two signings, depth is still a concern for Philadelphia in the secondary. But this is one of the better starting units they have had in recent memory.

On the defensive line, the Eagles added former Pro Bowl defensive end Ryan Kerrigan, who looks to be a key contributor on one of the more consistent defensive fronts in the NFL.

The Falcons, just like the Eagles, also have a new head coach in Arthur Smith. Smith was recently the offensive coordinator with the Tennessee Titans.

Veteran quarterback Matt Ryan will head into this season without Pro Bowl wide receiver Julio Jones, who was shockingly traded to the Titans in the offseason. Calvin Ridley now steps into the No. 1 receiver role for the Falcons.

Ryan will also have a new weapon in rookie tight end Kyle Pitts as they look to incorporate him into their offensive scheme. Pitts was selected with the fourth overall pick out of Florida in the 2021 draft.

As for the Week 1 injury report, the Eagles will be without safety Rodney Mcleod, rookie offensive lineman Landon Dickerson, and second-year offensive lineman Jack Driscoll.

Meanwhile, the Falcons will be without left guard Josh Andrews, offensive lineman Matt Gono, and backup quarterback AJ McCarron, who are all on injured reserve.