ATLANTA (10-6) at Philadelphia (13-3), 8:20 p.m. Thursday on NBC. The hunter becomes the hunted, as the saying says. The champions now are the target. A pair of NFC rivals meet in the City of Brotherly Love as the Atlanta Falcons take on the defending Super Bowl champs at Lincoln Financial Field.

Philadelphia and Atlanta have the honors of being the opening act for the 2018 NFL season and all eyes will be on these two teams. They’ll have the stage all to themselves. They met last year as both teams were marching toward a date with the Lombardi Trophy, a march that allowed the Eagles to advance and give their fan base their first Super Bowl in the team’s history.

The Eagles are celebrating their 41-34 win over Tom Brady and New England in Super Bowl 52, giving the Eagles their first Lombardi Trophy. Trailing 22-12 at the intermission at US Bank Stadium last February, the Patriots would take their only lead of the contest at 33-32 with 9:22 left in regulation when TE Rob Gronkowski and Brady hooked up on a 4-yard TD pass. The Eagles would then take back control and scored the final 10 points of the contest. Philly outrushed New England 164-113, with Brady throwing for 505 yards and three TDs, while Zack Ertz threw for 373 yards and three TDs and caught a TD pass early in the contest. New England went 5 of 10 on third down tries in the contest (the Pats were 1 of 2 on fourth down) and held on to the ball for 25:56, while the Eagles ruled the clock and held the ball for 34:04, while going 10 of 16 and 2 of 2 on third and fourth down tries.

In regular season action, the Eagles lead the series 16-13-1 and have outscored the Falcons 652-562. Their last regular season meeting was in the City of Brotherly Love in 2016, with the Eagles prevailing 24-15. As for Atlanta’s last win in the series, that came in the Big Peach in 2015, with the Falcons surviving 26-24 at the old Georgia Dome.

Their last meeting? In Philadelphia in the NFC Divisional Playoff game at Lincoln Financial Field. Atlanta took a 10-9 lead at the intermission, only to see the Eagles kick a pair of Josh Elliot field goals in the final 30 minutes of play to come away 15-10 winners. Philly outrushed Atlanta 96-86 (Atlanta’s Tevin Coleman led all rushers with 79 yards), while Nick Foles threw for 246 yards (Atlanta’s Matt Ryan threw for 210 yards with a TD pass to Devonta Freeman) in the contest. Philly’s defense would hold off a late Falcons rally in the final minutes of play as Ryan’s pass to WR Julio Jones fell short of its intended mark. Atlanta on third down conversions went 4 of 13 (the Falcons were 1 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 27:54, while the Eagles ruled the clock, holding the pigskin for 32:06, going 6 of 13 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

In the 2016 contest at Lincoln Financial Field in week 10, Atlanta trailed 7-6 at the intermission and pulled to within a point at 10-9 when Falcons K Matt Bryant connected on a 46-yard field late in the third quarter. After Eagles K Chris Sturgis put his team back up by 4 early in the fourth, the Falcons would take their only lead of the contest when Matt Ryan and WR Terrell Gabriel connected on a 75-yard TD toss to lead 15-13. Philly would then restore order in the contest, scoring the final 10 points of the game unchallenged, with RB Robert Matthews scoring from 5 yards out (he also had a 2-point try as well) and Sturgis booting a 48-yard field goal to seal Atlanta’s fate.

Matthews rushed for 109 yards and a pair of TDs as the Eagles rushed for 208 yards, holding Atlanta to 48 yards on the ground, while Carson Wentz threw for 231 yards in the win (Ryan threw for 267 yards and a TD but was sacked twice and picked off once). Third down conversions in the contest were not something that kept the fan bases of both teams happy (Atlanta was 2 of 11, Philadelphia was 5 of 14; the Eagles were 0 of 1 on fourth down) and the Eagles ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 38:10 to Atlanta’s 21:50.

In the playoff meeting, Atlanta was favored by 2 1/2 and the over/under was 41 1/2. The Eagles covered the 2 1/2 with the 5-point win but the over/under was untouched as both clubs merged for 25 points. In the week 10 contest in 2016, the Eagles easily covered the 1-point spread but both clubs missed the 50 over/under, scoring 39 points. Vegas likes the Eagles as a 1 point favorite and the over/under’s 45. The opener for the 2018 season could very well be a preview for the NFC Championship game. Philadelphia may celebrate but Atlanta prevails in the opener in the City of Brotherly Love, covering the 1.

Broadcast Information: 8:20 p.m. on NBC: Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, Michele Tafoya (Field reporter); NATIONAL RADIO: Westwood One: Kevin Harlan, Boomer Esiason, Ross Tucker; SIRIUS: 81 (Atlanta), 83 (Philadelphia); XM: 226 (Atlanta), 225 (Philadelphia)

Referee: John Hussey

Injury Report

Atlanta – Atlanta reports no injuries

Philadelphia – Philadelphia reports no injuries

Weather: Overcast with a 70 percent chance of scattered thunderstorms and 84 degrees.

Broadcast information and injury report courtesy the National Football League, odds courtesy Don Best, weather information courtesy The Weather Channel.