By Mary Cunningham

Even before the Eagles play their first game tonight in Atlanta, Eagles Fever has spread to the national media.

Here’s a snapshot of what the “experts” in the national media think of the Birds’ chances tonight:


Of the 13 experts polled, 10 picked the Eagles, including Mike Ditka, Chris Carter, Mike Golic and Ron Jaworski, all of whom once played for the Birds.

Sports Illustrated: (pick by Don Banks)

I like where Falcons rookie coach Dan Quinn has his team headed over the long haul. But in the short term, the Eagles and Chip Kelly look ready to make some serious noise in the NFC, and I have them slotted as my projected top seed in the conference. Sam Bradford had some miserable prime time experiences in St. Louis, but the ex-Rams quarterback will thoroughly enjoy his Monday night in the Georgia Dome, and his gaudy stat line will be the story of the game.

CBS Sports:

Seven of the eight experts polled picked the Eagles.

NFL.com: (via Elliot Harrison)

I, too, feel the Eagles will win, using the run game heavily in the first half while building a double-digit lead. Chip Kelly will have Sam Bradford take vertical shots once the game slows down, which actually might get Atlanta back into the contest. Matt Ryan’s Falcons offense is more than capable of capitalizing off takeaways — if Bradford forces a few throws — but if Julio Jones gets blanketed, Tevin Coleman must provide balance. Defensively, the Falcons’ pass rush will be the difference between winning and losing. Atlanta can ill afford to let Jason Peters pitch a shutout at left tackle.


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