November 03, 2017
The Philadelphia Eagles are just a few days from their bye week, but they'd be wise to forget about that until Sunday evening. That's because before getting next week off, the Birds will have to take care of business against the Denver Broncos if they still hope to be the NFL's only one-loss team when they return to face the Cowboys on Nov. 19 in Jerry's World.
Currently, the Eagles (-8) are the second-biggest favorite of the weekend, but that could change now that DeShaun Watson is done for the season; the Texans were 13-point favorites to beat the Colts, but between Watson tearing his ACL and Andrew Luck being ruled out for the season, Bovada has stopped taking bets on that game for now. When it opens back up, it will likely be a much tighter spread.
Last week, the Birds had no problem covering a double-digit spread of their own against the 49ers. And while the Broncos offense, now led by Brock Osweiler, isn't much more intimidating than what San Francisco brought into the Linc, their defense will pose plenty of challenges for Carson Wentz and the rest of the Philly offense.
Through their first seven games, the Broncos are No. 1 in the NFL in yards allowed and No. 2 in yards per carry, holding opposing offenses to just 3.04 yards per carry. For all the talk about the Eagles run defense, which is currently first in rushing yards allowed with just 563 total in eight games (70.4/game), they still surrender 3.83 yards per carry on average.
If you think that means Wentz is going to throw more than 32 times in this one, something he hasn't done since Week 2 of this season, think again. Without Jason Peters, Halapoulivaati Vaitai and the rest of the offensive line will have its work cut out dealing with Von Miller and the rest of that Denver front seven. If the Eagles want to keep their QB upright and healthy heading into the bye, they'd be wise to get the ball out of hands quickly in this one.
Here's what you need to know about the game, plus how we see it playing out.
TV: CBS | RADIO: 94.1 WIP
SPREAD: Eagles (-8) | TOTAL: 42.5 (via Bovada)
Earlier, we took a look at what other local and national writers are predicting for Sunday's game. You can check that out, here. [Spoiler warning: Most, but not all, of them are picking the Birds.]
The Broncos have a good defense, and so do the Eagles. The Broncos have an awful offense, but the Eagles have a good offense. And thus concludes my extraordinarily remedial analysis of this matchup.
Philadelphia’s secondary has been a hell of a lot better than expected, but I still think there are a handful of quarterbacks who could do serious damage to the back end of this Eagles defense.
Brock Osweiler is not on that list. The Eagles are being given a gift in the form of a quarterback shakeup for Denver, and I think that will help them offset some of the issues they’ll have against a very good Denver defense.
This one will probably be ugly for decent stretches, but I trust Carson Wentz and the offense to come up with enough big plays to get it done comfortably.
The Broncos' defense hasn't been nearly as effective in its three road games as it has been when playing at home. Opponents have scored at least 21 points in each of those games and are averaging 25.3/game. On the flip side, their offense has failed to score 20 points on the road this season and is averaging just 11.7/game away from Mile High.
Meanwhile, the Eagles are lights out at home. They're undefeated there this season and are 10-2 at the Linc dating back to the start of last season. They'll also be breaking out the all-black jawns for Sunday – they're 4-2 when wearing them since introducing the black-on-black look back 2014 and have won three of their last four, including both times they wore them last season. That lone loss came in Chip Kelly's penultimate game in Philly (2014), one week before he was let go by the Birds. Don't mock my #analysis; I'm 7-1 picking Eagles games this season.
Although the Eagles defense isn't perfect, it's certainly good enough to hold its own against Brock Osweiler and a Broncos offense that is changing quarterbacks on a short week – don't forget they just lost to the Chiefs on the road on Monday night. I think the Eagles take care of business and ultimately head into the bye at 8-1.
And that's something I never thought I'd be writing.
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