September 28, 2018
What a difference a week (and an Eagles win) makes.
Coming off an 0-5 week in our PhillyVoice staff picks, we decided to learn nothing from our past mistakes and each picked the Eagles once again in Week 3. This time, however, we all came away winners.
Now, the Eagles head to Tennessee for another matchup against an AFC South opponent, the Titans, who currently lead that division with a 2-1 record.
Of course, like any gambler in a casino, it's a lot easier to let it ride than it is to pick up your chips and walk away. That's why, once again, we've each picked the same outcome and guaranteed that we either go 5-0 or 0-5 as a group, which makes it really difficult to gain any ground in the season standings.
Will the Birds' offense look more in-sync than it did a week ago? Will the potential returns of Alshon Jeffery and Jay Ajayi big as big a boost as expected? Will we all be correct in our predictions for another week? Or will it go the other way?
There's only one way to find out...
TV: FOX | RADIO: 94.1 WIP
SPREAD: Eagles (-4) | TOTAL: 41.0 (via Bovada)
The Titans want to run the ball, a lot, even if they're not even very good at it, which plays right into the hands of the Eagles, who had the No. 1 run defense in the NFL in 2017, and currently have the No. 1 run defense through three games in 2018. In the passing game, Marcus Mariota is having trouble gripping the football, backup Blaine Gabbert is concussed, and the Titans have two offensive touchdowns so far this season.
The Titans do have a very good defense, which stole a pair of divisional games against the Jags and Texans, but Carson Wentz will find a way to put enough points on the board to outscore Tennessee's woeful offense.
I think this is the game where the Eagles finally break free (and have their first touchdown celebration) and look like the defending champs. Potential Alshon Jeffery, and Jay Ajayi returns — both have practiced this week — means even greater things for Carson Wentz, who made more with less last week in his rusty debut. I expect there to be less rust, as well as a potent defense that stifles Tennessee's lackluster pass attack and forced Marcus Mariota to try to win the game himself. He won't, and Philly will move to 3-1.
The Eagles are getting healthier while the Titans, well, aren't. In fact, they're one Marcus Mariota injury from having someone worse than Blaine Gabbert take over at quarterback. An Eagles pass defense that has shown some holes through the first three weeks should shine on Sunday against a Titans team that loves running the ball — largely because they can't really throw it — and we all know what the Eagles run defense is capable of.
But there's a reason the Titans are 2-1 despite their lackluster offense; they're defense is pretty impressive in its own right. And the Eagles offense is much better than it's looked, especially if Alshon Jeffery and Jay Ajayi are both back on the field. There still may be a few kinks for Doug Pederson's offense to work out in this one since they've yet to have their full compliment of players (or anything close to it, really), but I think the Eagles get the job done in this one.
The Eagles’ offense has yet to hit the highs of last season through their first three games, and the big breakout likely isn’t coming against the Titans. Tennessee boasts a top-10 pass defense at the moment — aided by their early schedule, to be fair — and Philadelphia’s run game is still banged up to a point that you can’t expect them to totally shoulder the load.
But even if the Eagles don’t put up monster points this week, I’d expect things to look a little crisper than they did against the Colts last week. Carson Wentz will continue to improve as the reps pile up, and the forecast for Sunday’s game looks much rosier than last week’s rain-soaked affair, which will hand the Eagles’ offense a much sturdier base to work from.
Philadelphia’s road defense remains a potential concern, but Tennessee’s offense has looked toothless enough that it shouldn’t matter even if Marcus Mariota is fully healthy. I’ll take the Birds in a comfortable win.
The Titans are 29th in total offense in the NFL, while the Eagles aren't much better, at 19. But Marcus Mariota is still banged up with a balky throwing arm and the Titans haven't scored more than 20 points in a game this season. I see that trend continuing against an Eagles' defense that is No. 1 against the run. I also feel that the Eagles' offense is only going to get better and their timing will improve in Carson Wentz's second game back.
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