Falcons-Eagles Preview

The injury-riddled Philadelphia Eagles will start Kevin Kolb

again at quarterback as Michael Vick continues to heal.

The NFC South-leading Atlanta Falcons are ready to make things

difficult for him.

Kolb leads the Eagles against a Falcons team looking for their

longest winning streak in 12 years Sunday.

Philadelphia coach Andy Reid decided Friday that Kolb will make

his second straight start after determining Vick has not

sufficiently healed from a rib injury suffered in Week 4. Vick did

practice Friday, but it is uncertain if he will be healthy enough

to be Kolb’s backup.

Vick’s injury is one of several for the Eagles, who could be

without defensive tackle Broderick Bunkley (elbow), left tackle

Jason Peters (knee), cornerback Asante Samuel (concussion) and wide

receiver Riley Cooper (concussion). Left guard Todd Herremans

(knee) may return.

“Crazy, isn’t it?” defensive tackle Mike Patterson said. “Maybe

they’ll rethink that extension (of 18 games) to the season.”

Vick got hurt during the first quarter of the Eagles’ 17-12 loss

to Washington on Oct. 3, and Kolb was a shaky replacement. He

completed 22 of 35 passes for 201 yards with one touchdown and was

intercepted on a Hail Mary pass in the end zone on the game’s final

play.

Kolb was better last week, connecting on 21 of 31 passes for 253

yards and a score in a 27-24 win at San Francisco. He showed the

ability that led the Eagles to name him the starter after longtime

star Donovan McNabb was dealt to Washington during the

offseason.

Kolb lost the top job when he suffered a concussion in a

season-opening loss to Green Bay, and Reid insists there’s not

controversy.

“Michael is still (the) starting quarterback, so we won’t get

that controversy going there. That’s what it is,” Reid said.

Kolb starting means Vick will not make his first start against

his former team. He saw limited action in his first meeting versus

Atlanta (4-1) last December, as the Eagles won 34-7 on the road.

Despite only throwing two passes for 48 yards, Vick tossed a TD

pass and ran for another score.

Kolb will have to deal with a Falcons’ defense that leads the

NFL with 10 interceptions while collecting three fumbles and

holding opposing QBs to a 72.5 rating.

Atlanta is trying to win five straight for the first time since

tying a franchise record with a nine-game run to close out 1998.

The defense sealed last week’s 20-10 win at Cleveland, as defensive

end Kroy Biermann returned an interception 31 yards for a score

with 4:01 to play.

The unit held the Browns to 269 total yards while forcing three

turnovers.

The Falcons have allowed a league-low six fourth-quarter

points.

“The biggest thing about this team is we’ve won a bunch of

different ways,” center Todd McClure said. “It hasn’t been one

phase of our team carrying the team. It’s been a bunch of different

ways by a bunch of different guys.

“If you can do that and win the turnover game, you’re gonna be

pretty successful in this league.”

The offense has leaned on a running game that leads the

conference with 148.8 yards per game, and Michael Turner is a big

reason for that. He leads the team with 421 yards while gaining 4.5

per carry after totaling 140 yards on 19 chances last week.

Quarterback Matt Ryan has been efficient, completing 61.6

percent of passes while ranking 13th with 1,165 yards. He’s tossed

seven touchdowns with three interceptions after posting career

highs of 22 and 14, respectively, last season.

Ryan has relied heavily on Roddy White, whose 37 catches are

tied for second in the league while his 463 yards are seventh.

White also has three touchdowns, including a 45-yard catch against

the Browns.

The Falcons’ balanced play has them gaining confidence.

“I feel like every game we can win,” defensive end John Abraham

said.

Philadelphia acquired Jerome Harrison from Cleveland for fellow

running back Mike Bell on Wednesday in a move to add depth behind

LeSean McCoy, who is nursing a rib injury.

Harrison ran for 91 yards on 31 carries in four games with the

Browns after leading them with a career-high 862 rushing yards and

five touchdowns last year.

The Eagles have won five of the last six meetings with the

Falcons, including three in a row at home since losing Oct. 30,

1988.