November 04, 2021
The reeling Eagles were in desperate need of a win last week, and they got just what the doctor ordered with a matchup against the NFL's worst team, leading to a 38-point rout of the Lions in Detroit.
Now, the Birds return home still looking for their first win at the Linc all season when they host the 4-3 Chargers as home underdogs. And after that win over the Lions, the mood around this team has shifted dramatically from "tear it all down" to "playoffs?!" with the Birds sitting just a game back of the newly-added third wild card spot.
While it might be a little premature to start thinking about the postseason, given that they're just 3-5, the Eagles do have the easiest remaining schedule in the NFL, one that gets even easier after Sunday's game against the Chargers. And a win over L.A. would go a long way toward turning that playoff conversation from something you laugh at under your breath to something you have to seriously begin considering, especially with the rest of the NFC looking so bad.
But we're not there yet. First, they have to get past Justin Herbert, Austin Ekeler, Joey Bosa and the Chargers. Can they do it? Is there a reason they're only two-point underdogs — and even less depending on where you look? Or are the oddsmakers overcompensating following a blowout of the winless Lions?
We'll find out on Sunday. In the meantime, here's a look at how our writers see this Eagles vs. Chargers matchup playing out...
TV: CBS (Ian Eagle and Charles Davis)
RADIO: 94.1 WIP (Merrill Reese and Mike Quick)
|DraftKings||LAC -2||PHI +110|
|FanDuel||LAC -2||PHI +110|
|UniBet||LAC -1.5||PHI +110|
|BetMGM||LAC -1.5||PHI +105|
Justin Herbert is a very talented up-and-coming star player, and as such the Chargers are going to be competitive for as long as he's their quarterback. As Super Bowl contenders in 2021, however, the Chargers feel a little fraudulent to me. They only have one good pass rusher, they can't stop the run, the right side of their offensive line is a major problem spot, and they have shaky depth.
When this line opened at Chargers (-1.5), that looked like a steal, and sure enough, that line quickly moved to (-2.5). I'm picking the Chargers because they're better than the Eagles (duh), but I don't love their roster, and their coaching staff is overhyped. An Eagles upset wouldn't surprise me.
Can the Eagles no-name run game do it again against a terrible run defense in the Chargers? The Birds have an interesting opportunity Sunday, as they can use a ball-control approach to keep the ball away from Justin Herbert and a Chargers offense that has some real fire power.
However, I fear that the Eagles defense — the one that decimates bad teams but can't hold a candle when facing good ones — will be the reason they lose this one. Mike Williams, Keenan Allen and Austin Ekeler are really good, and the Eagles can't shut them all down. I think this one is respectably close and I think the Eagles walk away feeling pretty good as their schedule gets easier again next week when they go to Denver, but this one's in the loss column.
Listen, I'm as surprised as you are that I'm picking the Eagles again, but this is not an overreaction to a win over a bad team. The Eagles did some things really well in that game, and if the same Nick Sirianni is calling plays again on Sunday, they should have a chance to pick up their first home win of the season. I like that the Eagles are beginning to work some of their younger players into the game on defense (see: Davion Taylor and Milton Williams) and think that's the kind of thing that can have a trickle down effect on the entire roster, showing younger guys that the coaching staff is valuing performance over resume. Guys feed off that.
Of course, going against the worst run defense in the NFL, it would be so Eagles for Sirianni to totally abandon the run this week when rushing the ball seems like the most obvious thing to do. Hopefully, last week's win showed him what his team can do when he sticks with the ground game, even without Miles Sanders. Beyond that, Justin Herbert's hand injury could be a difference-maker in this one, and will be more so if the Eagles defensive front can get after Herbert like they did against Jared Goff last week.
Historically, this feels like a game where the Eagles go out and lay an egg, but there has to be a reason oddmakers see this as such a close one. And Philly is due for a home win. Give me the Birds.
Picking the Eagles two weeks in a row seems insane, but I choose to view last week as a step forward for the coaching staff, regardless of how bad the opponent was. The Chargers have been trending down the last couple of weeks, Justin Herbert was dealing with a hand issue at practice this week, so give me the team playing at home even though I still think the Eagles aren't very good.
I think we found out the definition of terrible last week in Jared Goff and the Detroit Lions.
The Chargers are far from terrible, and the Eagles, despite pounding the hapless, winless Lions,.44-6, are still bad. Justin Herbert is formidable and the Eagles are 3-5 this year without one victory coming at the Linc.
That trend continues this week.
The Eagles shocked a lot of people beating Detroit. I love the Chargers this week but the concern is Justin Herbert's hand. If healthy, this is a perfect bounce-back after being humiliated by the Patriots. The Lions game didn't reveal anything new or different about the Eagles until we see it again. That's been a problem for the Birds to say the least — learning from mistakes or what worked from week to week.
Everything outside of Herbert's hand injury tells you this is an Eagles loss, especially because Philadelphia has lost four straight games at home. But I can't stop thinking about Herbert being a late scratch or leaving the game. So I'll take the Eagles by a field goal.
The Eagles are 0-3 at Lincoln Financial Field, a venue they generally dominated in during the Doug Pederson era. The early opponents were projected to be difficult coming into the season, but two of the first three visitors have underachieved thus far — San Francisco and Kansas City — while the Super Bowl champs have been as advertised for the most part. Whatever the spin, Philadelphia needs a win at home and the Los Angles Chargers shape up as a winnable game.
By definition in the NFL if a game is winnable it's also losable, however, and the Chargers' second-year quarterback Justin Herbert looks like he's going to be a star moving forward for a lot of years. His skill-position talent is also a sharp step up from what the Eagles faced in Detroit as well, while Joey Bosa and Derwin James can be game-wreckers on the defensive side. The good news is that the Chargers will come in with the worst run defense in the NFL and a right side of the offensive line that could be exploited by Josh Sweat and Co.
You can talk yourself into either side in this game so I'm playing the odds. The Eagles have to win at some point at home, so why not Sunday?
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