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The Eagles Are Protecting Their Investments And It May Ruin Their Playoff Hopes

Fresh off their latest loss, the Eagles managed to not only upset their own fans, and they also managed to tick off most of the NFL bettors in America. Trailing 23-9 with under 50 seconds left in the game, the Eagles played like it was a one-score game.

Following a few chunk plays, Carson Wentz launched a prayer into the end zone, which was batted down into the hand of Richard Rodgers, who was laying on his back in the end zone. Following the insanely lucky stat-padding effort, the Eagles followed it up with a completely meaningless two-point conversion.

The Philadelphia Eagles are 8.5 underdogs in this weekend’s game with a 48.5 total. Have a feeling about one side or the other? Bet it at the DraftKings PA online sportsbook.

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A look back at Week 12

As for the rest of the game, we collectively shook our heads at both the personnel being used on offense, and the offense’s ineptitude against a historically awful pass defense. Alshon Jeffrey looked washed. Carson Wentz looked terrible, again. As if it wasn’t bad enough live, there are entire threads on social media for a number of plays showing wide open receivers and Carson Wentz throwing it into coverage.

From Alshon Jeffrey looking washed to Carson Wentz looking lost, the Eagles appear to be strangely throwing their season away. Even teams like Jacksonville and Cincinnati, who have no hopes for the playoffs, are out there getting a good feel for their backup quarterbacks.

To me, it has something to do with showcasing the two. Wentz and Jeffrey account for 34 million (24.5%) of the team’s 139 million dollar payroll. Next season, Wentz and Jeffrey will account for 55 million (27%) of the team’s payroll. Wentz is signed through 2024, while Jeffrey is signed through 2021.

My theory here is the Eagles value two things more than winning a hollow division title in 2020. The first is “showcasing”. They have Jalen Hurts on a rookie deal. Ideally, Hurts was drafted to be the injury replacement for Wentz, but a worst-case-scenario replacement if Wentz was just awful.

I believe the Eagles are already planning to move on from Wentz, but they need to showcase he’s still a good quarterback, so they can something for him in a trade. They appear to be doing the same with Alshon.

The second explanation would be 2021 draft positioning. The problem the Eagles face is, if they make the playoffs, their first-round pick in 2021 would be no better than 19. If the Eagles were to simply play out the season, showcasing Alshon and Wentz, their pick position is somewhere around number eight. That’s a pretty big gap each round for the draft.

There’s honestly no good reason Fulgham shouldn’t be on the field as a starter and Jalen Hurts should be behind center, other than what we’ve stated about “showcasing” and “pick positioning”. The Eagles likely know a deep playoff run isn’t possible, so why try to go for it?

Week 13 preview

The Eagles have the most difficult schedule down the stretch in the division, so they’re going to need to win one of these out-of-division games if they want a shot at still winning the division title. First up is the Green Bay Packers. Now, the tricky part about the Packers is that they are a true Jekyll and Hyde team in 2020.

In a few games this season (Tampa, Minnesota, and Jacksonville), the Packers have looked like they’re sleepwalking. In other games (six wins by at least nine points), the Packers look like Conference frontrunners.

From a matchup perspective, the Eagles don’t look awful in this game. Of course, Davante Adams will have a favorable matchup no matter who covers him, but the rest of the matchups don’t look all that bad. Maddox will face either Lazard or MVS on the opposite side, so it’s advantage Packers there (but honestly, do either of those guys worry you that much?). Aaron Jones has a great matchup against the Eagles’ poor run defense. I expect a good mix of Jones and Williams, but Jones is the homerun hitter of the backfield.

Offensively, the Eagles have a good matchup with Fulgham against King on the outside. Though it’s likely Alshon will be in on most snaps since the Eagles appear motivated to not win. The Eagles shouldn’t have much trouble moving the ball on the ground, as the Packers are not good at stopping the run.

Goedert, Ertz, and Rodgers don’t have the best matchup, as the Packers are solid against the tight end position. Then again, the Packers don’t face a lot of 12 personnel, so there’s room for success there.

Week 13 prediction

Aaron Rodgers has been in flex mode recently. The Eagles have been in an offensive rut, due to Wentz’s poor play. Miles Sanders hasn’t looked quite the same since returning from injury, but at least the Eagles defense hasn’t looked horrible lately.

I think the Eagles will play a run-focused game, with plenty of screens and shorter passes to help get Wentz settled-in. The rushing advantage should be a big one for the Eagles, as it will likely be on the other side as well.

Because of this, I anticipate scoring will be relatively low, especially for Green Bay games where they’ve gone over in seven of their eleven games.

Final Score: Packers 30 Eagles 20

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