Are you ready for some football? The first NFL game of the 2018 season takes places tonight: Thursday, September 6.
2018 NFL SEASON | COMPLETE COVERAGE
Watch Online:: http://itvpass.com/join/nfl
The 2018 NFL season’s first game features the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles against the Atlanta Falcons. The two teams happen to have been the NFC representatives in the last two Super Bowls. Both faced the New England Patriots in dramatic championship games — with the Eagles winning an upset victory this year, and the Falcons losing after an epic comeback by Tom Brady and the Patriots.
The Super Bowl champion Eagles open the season against the Falcons on Thursday night in Philadelphia.
Quarterback Nick Foles will start for the Eagles in place of Carson Wentz, who tore his ACL last December. Foles, a six-year veteran, started the final three games of the regular season in 2017 and then led the Eagles to their first Super Bowl victory in franchise history over the Patriots 41–33 in February.
In their regular season game against the Browns, Foles threw two interceptions and was sacked three times. He didn't play in the team's final preseason contest against the Jets.
The Falcons finished last year at 10–6.
The Eagles defeated the Falcons 15–10 in the NFC Divisional Round matchup on their way to the Super Bowl.
Thursday night's 2018 NFL season debut features a matchup of the victor and the vanquished from the last two Super Bowls as the defending champion Philadelphia Eagles welcome the Atlanta Falcons for an 8:20 p.m. (ET) skirmish at Lincoln Financial Field.
From a historic perspective, this duel is between an Eagles team that outgunned the New England Patriots in the last Super Bowl and a Falcons team that was overcome in an embarrassing fall-from-in-front loss in the previous Super Bowl. Both Super Bowls were against the Patriots.
Although the main news in big games usually surrounds the starting quarterbacks, the hot topic this time is about the quarterback who will not play -- Eagles second-year sensation Carson Wentz. He remains the starter-in-waiting until medically cleared for a return from that mid-December surgery to repair two ligaments in his right knee, which ended a spectacular season for the second-year quarterback.
After initially acting testy about naming his starting quarterback, Eagles head coach Doug Pederson announced Monday that it would be Nick Foles, who was merely the Super Bowl LII MVP in a victorious 41-33 shootout over Tom Brady and the Patriots about eight months ago.
Tuesday, Pederson openly shared the agony and reality of keeping Wentz on the sideline because he was not medically cleared after the player himself set a goal for opening day and worked hard to reach that goal. Pederson said that there were not setbacks, as such, and said the quarterback is in a "good place" and "close" to returning, although admitting frustration because "I'm no medical expert."
And Pederson's frustration, which spilled out in two press conferences, might reflect what he does hear from medical experts. Dr. David Chao, a board certified orthopaedical surgeon who was team physician for the San Diego (now Los Angeles) Chargers for 17 years, does not sound optimistic about a rapid return by Wentz. In fact, he says it could be weeks, or maybe even next season, before Wentz should play.
Only time will tell.
Meanwhile, the Falcons are trying to become the first NFL team to play a Super Bowl in their own stadium, with SB No. LIII scheduled for Atlanta's Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Feb. 3, 2019. It is a realistic goal after the team added even more offensive firepower and is expected to return to the sort of high-scoring offense that propelled them to the championship game two years ago.
Still, the 2018 Falcons are a bit of a mystery. Head coach Dan Quinn did a great job protecting wide receiver Julio Jones and running back Devonta Freeman. Neither played a down in the four preseason games.
He limited the snaps for quarterback Matt Ryan and other key players, such as wide receiver Mohamed Sanu, running back Tevin Coleman and first-round draft choice wide receiver Calvin Ridley. As a result, the team is probably as healthy as it has ever been entering the first game.
So, the Atlanta offense will have all its pieces in place and must hit the ground running, with Freeman and Coleman, and allow Ryan to get in sync with his receivers. The first-team offense looked great when it played against Kansas City, but struggled against Jacksonville (albeit both times without Freeman and Jones).
The defense will repeat the same aggressive nature it took in the playoffs when it held the Eagles to 15 points. However, the defense must find a way to get Philly off the field faster. They allowed the Eagles to convert 6 of 13 third-down opportunities and allowed them to have three possessions of 5:42 or longer and three drives that lasted 12 or more plays.
The Eagles must pressure Ryan, who historically has not played well in Philadelphia after growing up in the area. The Eagles have a way of dialing up their attack against him. Their defensive line may be even better than last season and is arguably the best in the league, with a rotation that includes Brandon Graham, Derek Barnett, Chris Long, Michael Bennett, Haloti Ngata and Fletcher Cox.
On offense, the Eagles have issues other than the controversy at quarterback, where Foles has proven his ability. Receiver Alshon Jeffery did not participate in any team drills during training camp. Left tackle Jason Peters and running back Darren Sproles did not play in the preseason. Running back Corey Clement only played in the first exhibition game and running back Jay Ajayi was held out in the final two games while receivers Nelson Agholor and Mack Hollins did not play in any of the four games.
But the Eagles' defense helped beat Atlanta before. Two years ago, it held the Falcons to 15 points and won. Last year in the playoffs, it held them to 10 points and won again.
What Channel Is the Eagles vs. Falcons Game On?
NBC is broadcasting the 2018 NFL season’s first game on Thursday night. Kickoff is scheduled for 8:20 p.m. ET at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia.
To watch the Eagles-Falcons game for free on TV, just tune in to your local NBC station. Networks like NBC, ABC, and Fox are included in most pay TV packages, so it should be no trouble to watch the NFL season opener if you have satellite or cable TV.
If you don’t have a pay TV service, you can still watch the Eagles-Falcons game for free in most of the country with a digital antenna. You can buy one for around $25, and when it is hooked up to your TV you’ll get free access to local affiliates of over-the-air networks like PBS and NBC.
After Thursday night’s game, NBC will be airing premier matchups on Sunday Night Football throughout the season. In Week One, on Sunday, September 9, the Chicago Bears face the Green Bay Packers, with kickoff at 8:20 p.m. ET. The announcers for NBC’s broadcasts of the Eagles-Falcons on Thursday, and for Sunday Night Football for the rest of the season, are Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth.
How to Stream the Eagles vs. Falcons Game Free
To watch the Eagles-Falcons game online, you could head to NBCSports.com/Live or use the NBC Sports app. Watching online through these services is free — but only for subscribers. In order to access the NBC Sports live stream, you must log in with the account number and password of a cable, satellite, or streaming TV service that includes the pay TV channel NBCSN.
However, no password or pay TV account is required for streaming tonight’s Eagles game — and many others throughout the 2018 season — with the NFL Mobile app. Download it to your preferred device and you’ll be able to watch live stream locally televised games, as well as nationally broadcast primetime games like the Eagles-Falcons game today, for free all season long. Free live streams of local and primetime NFL games are also available this season for the first time ever — totally for free — at Yahoo Sports.For yet another possibility to live stream NFL action, you can watch the Falcons-Eagles game online for free by signing up for a trial of a streaming TV service that includes NBC. In much of the country, services such as Hulu Live, Fubo TV, DirecTV Now, Playstation Vue, Sling TV, and YouTube TV all have packages that include access to NBC and other broadcast channels.
HOW TO WATCH
Time: Thursday, Sept. 6, 8:20 p.m. ET
TV channel: NBC
Live stream: http://itvpass.com/join/nfl (Free Trial)
Each of these services has a free trial period, allowing new subscribers to stream tonight’s NFL game and other programming at no charge for roughly one week. Just remember to cancel the service if you don’t want to pay the monthly fee, which could cost roughly $25 or more.
What Are the Betting Odds on the Eagles-Falcons Game?
Despite playing at home and coming off of a Super Bowl victory, the Philadelphia Eagles are only minor favorites in today’s game against the Atlanta Falcons. At last check, the Eagles were picked as the favorite with a point spread of 2.5 points.