1. Can The Offensive Line Protect Matt Ryan?
The Philadelphia Eagles run out one of the best defensive lines in all of football. Led by Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham, the Eagles are loaded in all four spots with talented starters and solid depth behind them. In the last three games, the Eagles have recorded multiple sacks and QB hits on Matt Ryan. Here are some of the numbers.
2016 regular season- 2 sacks and 6 QB hits
2018 divisional playoffs- 3 sacks and 11 QB hits
2018 season opener- 4 sacks and 14 QB hits
The Eagles have destroyed Matt Ryan in the three games they have played. With the Minnesota defensive line getting 4 sacks and 7 QB hits, the Eagles are thinking they are going to have even more free runs at the Falcons QB than they did the last three meetings. If the Falcons want to compete in this game, they will have to keep their QB upright.
The Falcons saw the kind of beating Matt Ryan was taking last season and invested heavily into the offensive line this offseason. Two free-agent signings and two first-round draft picks were spent to shore up this offensive line for this season. Chris Lindstrom, their first-round draft pick and starting right guard, suffered a broken foot in the opener in Minnesota. Jamon Brown, one of the Falcons offseason signings, will slide into the starting right guard spot. Hopefully, Brown will fill in without any trouble, but his first test will be trying to block Fletcher Cox. It won’t be easy.