Before you look at my NFL picks from week 8 and call me out for picking Buffalo, consider my pre-season projections, where I picked the Eagles to go on the road in Week 8 and hold Buffalo to 13 points in an Eagles victory. Let’s just stay with that one and pretend you didn’t look at my weekly picks from last week.
Reviewing last week’s blowout of Buffalo
Last week, the Eagles traveled to Buffalo, two-point underdogs, facing extreme wind conditions. It was a show-me moment for the Eagles rushing attack, as Buffalo’s glaring weakness is stopping opposing rushing attacks. It seemed, on paper, to be an ideal matchup for the Bills this season with a great opportunity for Josh Allen to exploit the Eagles’ weak passing defense and show fans he is capable of winning a game on his arm and not through simply managing the game and making throws when the defense gives him the opportunity.
Alas, the weather was dreadful for the Bills’ plans and the Bills failed to exploit the Eagles’ pass defense. The Eagles managed to take advantage of the Bills rush defense holes and Carson Wentz was able to make some throws when needed and the Eagles flipped the game midway through the third quarter and made it a real uphill battle for Buffalo. It was a great victory for the Eagles and their fans as the stench from the Dallas blowout a week earlier was at least masked for a week. It sets up the Eagles for a nice stretch of winnable games and allows them to tinker a bit more with the secondary, with the hopes they can be ready again for another playoff run.
This week has the Eagles as a -5.5 favorite and 42 as the over/under. Got a feeling about this Sunday’s game? Be sure to check out the PlaySugarHouse PA sportsbook.
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Eagles flying high with late-season optimism
Are the Eagles back? According to my preseason predictions, game to game, I had the Eagles at 4-4 at this point and going on to finish 11-5. At this point, I’m optimistic. The schedule opens up a bit and the Eagles’ rushing attack is starting to find their way. The passing defense may have been relieved last week a bit due to the insane 25 mph winds against Buffalo, but it’s a good, misleading performance to take our minds off the pass defense for a week, so that’s cool.
Moving forward, the Eagles have a very winnable home game against the Bears, followed by a bye week and then two home games against both the Patriots and Seahawks. From there, it’s a lot of soft matchups as they’ll get the Dolphins, Redskins, Giants twice, and of course the Cowboys. 11-5 is very optimistic, given the offensive inconsistency and struggling secondary. A 10-6 finish seems more realistic, given the three tough games remaining on the schedule. 9-7 appears to be the Vegas odds here, but for this team to have any shot at a deep playoff run, they’ll need to figure out the secondary woes in one of those three remaining tough games.
The Eagles are 5th in rushing defense DVOA and 10th overall in DVOA, so they’ve improved since the earlier weeks as far as overall and passing defense, but we are going to need to see more from them soon if they have any aspirations of making the playoffs.
Eagles host Bears as 5.5 point favorites in Week 9
As I mentioned earlier, the Bears are 5.5 point underdogs, according to PlaySugarHouse heading into this weekend’s game in Philly. Their rushing attack finally emerged last week against a sloppy Chargers defensive front. They’ll be facing a different class of rushing defense this week in Philly, so Eagles fans should be licking their lips from the prospect of Mitch Trubisky attempting 35+ passes in the game, even despite the Eagles’ struggles in the secondary.
I expect the Eagles will be able to get some pressure on Mitch this week, which should expand the potential for turnovers to be had. It’s a great matchup for the Eagles as the Bears haven’t shown they can take advantage of a soft pass defense yet in 2019. Offensively, the Eagles should have some nice matchups and will have some decent rushing lanes this week against a Bears team who has struggled mightily to stop the run in 2019.
The funny thing about the Eagles offense this season is that no matter the matchup, their offense stays relatively balanced. Even in good passing matchups, Wentz has not fully taken to the air. This is good because if Philly continues to keep defenses guessing on their approach, they’ll have the upper hand in utilizing unique approaches towards game-planning in the playoffs. I like the Eagles to cover and win at home this week.