October 26, 2018
After blowing a 21-point fourth-quarter lead last Sunday en route to losing to Cam Newton and the Panthers, the Eagles head to London, where they'll look to get back to .500 against another 3-4 team in the Jaguars.
And, yes, while the Jags are well versed in playing abroad, this will be the Eagles first time playing a regular season game in London, in case you haven't heard.
Here's how we see this week's Eagles-Jaguars game playing out.
TV: NFLN/ABC | RADIO: 94.1 WIP
SPREAD: Eagles (-3.5) | TOTAL: 43 (via Bovada)
If you think the Eagles are a mess at the moment, the Jaguars have been outscored 90-28 in their last three games, none of which were competitive at all.
But beyond the numbers, the Jags seem to be crumbling, as Doug Marrone benched Blake Bortles for Cody Kessler, and then went back to Bortles after the initial switch predictably did not go well.
Jags players were also reportedly fighting among each other after their latest loss to the Texans.
We were just told we could go into the Jaguars locker room. Then as the doors opened and we waited, we could see and hear clearing a very heated agreement going on with players in the locker room. We were told to come back out and wait.— James Palmer (@JamesPalmerTV) October 21, 2018
I'm sure James meant "argument," not "agreement." The disturbance likely wasn't, "HEY I LIKE YOUR SHIRT!" "OH YEAH? ME TOO!"
The Jaguars do have the advantage of playing in London every year, in that they know how to prepare for that trip. In fact, they have won three games in a row in London, and put up 30-plus points in each of those games. Playing in London will be much more difficult of a game for the Eagles, in my view, than playing in Jacksonville, where half the stadium would have likely be overrun by Eagles fans anyway.
This game is very simple. The Jaguars are nearly as injury-riddled as the Eagles, as they are missing their starting LT (and then subsequently their backup LT), their starting RB (around whom they are trying to build), and their top two (maybe three) tight ends. They also have a quarterback who isn't good in the first place, and now isn't playing well (even for him), and has to have shaken confidence.
Traveling to London to play a game cannot be easy for a team doing it for the first time, but it's time that the Eagles suck it up and put a tough W on the board. If they can't take care of business overseas against this team, they should probably forget about being buyers at the trade deadline.
Why is picking Eagles games so freaking hard? Last week I was sure the Eagles' offense was enough to overcome their lackluster defense. This week, it might need to be the defense that has to bail out the offense. The Jaguars are pretty bad with the ball, which is a nice respite for the Birds as they lick their wounds after blowing a 17-0 fourth quarter lead, but Jacksonville's D is still one of the better units in football.
I think the trip abroad, like last year's long stay in Los Angeles, could help bring the team together. I also think the Eagles, despite their shortcomings, are at worst a .500 team. So I am picking them to get to 4-4 before their bye week, 24-10.
Nearly halfway through the 2018 season, I'm still not sure if the defending Super Bowl champions have found their identity. Forget about a week-to-week level of consistency from this team, because in every game expect for the Giants game, they've looked like two very different teams at different points in the game. And now, they're in London to face a Jaguars team that's been almost as much of an enigma this year.
That's what's made Eagles games so hard to pick this season — you never know which team is going to show up, or for how long. Around 3 p.m. last Sunday, the Eagles were rolling over the Panthers and the Jaguars had just benched Blake Bortles for Cody Kessler. Of course, the Birds went on to lose while Kessler played poorly enough for Bortles to earn his starting job back.
So what's going to happen at Wembley Stadium on Sunday? Well, your guess is as good as mine, especially since both of these teams have been decimated by injury and the Jags are likely to roll out a new-look backfield, led by recently-acquired Carlos Hyde. It's taking everything I have not to let my inner-Jason Mendoza make the pick and roll with "BORTLES!"
But I think the Eagles are the better team and ultimately come away victorious on Sunday.
If the Eagles can’t beat Blake Bortles, they should cancel the season.
I think the Eagles are a mess right now. I just think the Jaguars are a bigger mess. The NFL is about confidence and Jags' QB Blake Bortles doesn't have it. Jacksonville has been outscored 90-28 during its three-game losing streak and Bortles was pulled for Cody Kessler in the Jags' 20-7 loss to Houston last week.
This could be it for the Eagles — and they know it. Carson Wentz needs to get his mojo back, because it certainly hasn't appeared in the fourth quarter of close, winnable games.
As Jimmy Kempski so keenly put it in his Monday piece, Wentz is 1-8 when it comes to winning games in the fourth, and he definitely didn't help himself last week by falling apart late by not seeing open targets when the Eagles had a chance to win.
This is it for me. My last ride on the midnight green band wagon. If the Eagles lose it promises to be two weeks of Philly sports misery and a pair of sprained ankles from my leap off this Titanic.
Right now, this is me:
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