November 18, 2022
The Eagles finally lost a game and there's a book now on how to beat them.
The Colts, meanwhile, just days after installing alum Jeff Saturday as the interim head coach, collected themselves from a miserable first half of the year and shocked Josh McDaniel's Las Vegas Raiders.
It's a weird spot.
The Eagles haven't lost in a long time, but looked largely out of sorts when they finally did against the Commanders on Monday night.
And the Colts, after becoming the league punching bag for a seemingly rash decision to bring in Saturday (who never coached a down of NFL football) from the outside, are actually coming in with some optimism.
That said, at 8-1, the Eagles are still very much the favorite to go into Indy and win.
And our writers largely feel the same...
TV: CBS (Ian Eagle, Charles Davis, & Evan Washburn)
RADIO: 94.1 WIP (Merrill Reese, Mike Quick)
| PHI -295
| PHI -300
At first glance, the Colts might look like a team ripe for a smashing considering owner Jim Irsay fired head coach Frank Reich and inserted in "drinking buddy" Jeff Saturday. But this is not a bad team. They have their fair share of things going for them.
While I think the Eagles will bounce back from their frustrating loss to the Commanders Monday night and win this game, I also think it could be a struggle. Beware that 6.5-point line, which might look good on paper. Birds in a tight one.
I really feel like this could be a loss — the injuries and poor play against Washington aren't just going to vanish. Stopping Jonathan Taylor is no easy task and the 30+ veterans the team signed to stuff up the middle are walking in off the street and won't make an immediate impact. I think there are a lot of things working against Philly in this one, but they still have so much talent that I am going to reluctantly pick them to win here, without a ton of conviction.
This is a situation where the narrative tide is going to shift too radically toward the Colts' favor after this past week. At the end of the day, Indianapolis' head coach had never coached above high school before Sunday and the Eagles remain an 8-1 squad.
The Birds will bounce back and the anger at referees, defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon and the world itself from the fan base will subside (at least for a couple of days).
With star Dallas Goedert missing time for the foreseeable future, I'll say second-year tight end Jack Stoll scores his first career touchdown too.
The Colts somehow managed to win a game after hiring a coach with no real experience in the middle of the season, but I am not going to bet on lightning striking twice. The thought of Jonathan Taylor going wild on a run defense desperately adding reinforcements scares me a bit, but I'll back the Eagles here.
Last week, I said it was hard to find reasons to pick against the Eagles and expected them to be in control of pretty much the entire game against Washington.
Things change quick in the NFL, and it will leave you eating crow within seconds.
I do ultimately believe that the Eagles will be okay in the long run, but looking at the last two weeks – at how Dameon Pierce ran all over them in Week 9, and how Brian Robinson Jr. and Antonio Gibson kept their defense on the field in Week 10 – I don't think they're in for a great time against Jonathan Taylor.
Washington used a slow, deliberate, and methodical gameplan against the Eagles to kill as much time as possible and it worked, and the Colts, while not great, are a bit better equipped to roll out that same strategy to greater effect. Taylor started looking like last season's leading rusher again, which is huge for Indy, and Matt Ryan, though up there in age now, can still manage a game with the best of them under center.
The Eagles are a better team, but I don't think this matchup is a good one for them. I just can't help but feel there's going to be another huge differential in time of possession and another gassed defense out there because of it.
Jalen Hurts and the offense will come up with some big plays to keep it close, but my gut says the Eagles as a whole won't have things fully sorted out this week and lose back-to-back.
Fully prepared to eat crow again a few days from now though.
Nothing like a get-right game to follow the disappointing home loss for our Birds. The problem wasn’t so much a fundamental issue, like not being able to stop the run, so much as the entire coaching staff getting nervous and blowing up their identity. It’s too easy to say the Eagles need to run, or stop the run, so looking at this week expect some fine-tuning – but also some conservative plays.
The Eagles are on the road in a non-conference game against a coach making just his second appearance on the sidelines. It would be a colossal failure for this team to have Jeff Saturday and his cronies outcoach this group. Expect a healthy dose of what got the Eagles here, but they are also on the road, so only in bursts. The Colts will run as much as possible but the human turnover machine – Matt Ryan – will do what he does best.
Sixty minutes of lackadaisical football. That's how long it takes many in the bipolar Philadelphia fanbase to race from the zero of not seeing a loss on the upcoming schedule to the 60 of pearl-clutching pessimism of 'how in the world can the best team in football beat an abject mess of a franchise in which the maverick owner fired the offensive coordinator and head coach before bringing in a novice to stop the bleeding?"
The answer is, of course, the simple market correction by Philadelphia and not playing along with the narrow path to victory Washington followed on Monday night.
The growing injury list is the larger concern for the Eagles, particularly Dallas Goedert, who is out for at least four games, and A.J. Brown, who is going to try to play through an ankle injury but certainly wasn't himself after rolling it against the Commanders. One of Howie Roseman's few mistakes in roster building was corrected on Wednesday when Philadelphia came to terms with the 34-year-old Linval Joseph, a true nose tackle who isn't the Pro Bowl player he once was but should be the legitimate run-stuffer Jonathan Gannon needs to keep the light boxes he wants to use.
In the end, though, if you think Nick Sirianni is letting Jim Irsay off the hook after the Colts owner did Frank Reich dirty, think again. This is personal for Sirianni.
Follow Nick on Twitter: @itssnick
Like us on Facebook: PhillyVoice Sports