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September 24, 2023

Week 3 NFL picks: Rounding up the experts' predictions for Eagles-Buccaneers

A look at what the national media thinks of Eagles-Bucs.

Someone has to lose Monday night. We don't think it's going to be the Eagles.

Wrote, I guess:

Between Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and a Baker Mayfield who has been good enough to get the job done so far, I don't particularly feel great about how the Eagles' secondary might hold up, but I do feel good about the Eagles' pass rush and the offense's ability to run the football when all else fails. 
Those will be what get the Eagles by and to 3-0, but not without needing to hold your breath for a bit. 

(Cut me some slack. A whole season and change, I never used my pick once for these lead-ins.)

Anyway, here's a roundup of Week 3 predictions throughout the national media to see how everyone else is feeling:  

• The Athletic: Last week, the Bears pressured Baker Mayfield a lot, and he escaped a lot. Vic Tafur doesn't think he'll be as lucky this time against the Eagles:

Apparently, Baker Mayfield is good now. While under pressure last week, Mayfield completed 14 of 17 passes for 223 yards and a TD — tied for the most passing yards under pressure in a game over the last four seasons. The Bears pressured Mayfield 17 times without recording a sack. Now, going back to my animal analogies, if a blind squirrel finds a nut each of his first two trips looking for one, he is starving that third time. Sorry, big-time regression game for Mayfield against a 2-0 Eagles team that hasn’t played all that well yet.

The pick: Eagles. [The Athletic/$]

Pro Football Talk (NBC): Short and sweet from Mike Florio and Chris Simms. The Eagles have been winning ugly, but it's still winning.

The Eagles are winning a little bit ugly. Another ugly win could be on deck.

Florio: Eagles, 24-21.

Simms: Eagles, 21-17. [PFT]

MORE: Eagles-Bucs predictions, betting odds, and more

• Pete Prisco, CBS Sports: A close one?:

This is a game featuring two 2-0 teams, the Bucs being the surprise of the two. Tampa Bay has played well so far and Baker Mayfield has done some good things. The Eagles haven't looked right yet on ether side of the ball. Is this the game Jalen Hurts gets it going? I think the Bucs will hang around, but the Eagles will win it late. 
Pick: Eagles 25, Bucs 23. [CBS Sports]

MORE: All of Jimmy Kempski's Week 3 NFL picks

• Sheil Kapadia, The Ringer: Hurts and the Eagles have been shaky to start, even though they've found ways to win both times so far, while the Bucs have been a surprise. The Eagles have a major trump card though: Their D-line. Wrote Kapadia, who is going Birds:

As for the 2-0 Bucs, they have to be considered one of the NFL’s biggest surprises. Baker Mayfield is completing 69.1 percent of his passes and has been sacked only once. Mike Evans looks great, and Tampa Bay still has a lot of talent on defense.

Having said that, the Eagles should have an advantage with their defensive line against Tampa Bay’s offensive line in this one. And Hurts has shown in the past that he can problem-solve. I think he will get back on track, and the Eagles will take care of business here.

The pick: Eagles (-4.5) [Ringer] The site's panel of five editors are all taking the Eagles to move to 3-0, with Tom Blair writing:

Incredibly, Baker Mayfield could get closer than Bill Belichick and Justin Jefferson did to actually knocking off the reigning NFC champs. The QB is rolling with the best set of pass catchers he's ever had, and if Tampa's ninth-ranked D coaxes Philly's occasionally wobbly offense into one of those extended slow-downs it's been prone to this season, the Bucs could take advantage. That said, I can't really talk myself into trusting Baker over Jalen Hurts, not against the toughest defense Mayfield's seen this year. []

Bleacher Report: Out of a panel of seven, six went Eagles, with Maurice Moton writing:

"Right now, Mayfield looks sort of like 2022 Comeback Player of the Year Geno Smith, who had a similar start to the previous season. He's been efficient and added some volume to his passing numbers (26-of-34 for 317 yards and a touchdown) in a 27-17 win over the Chicago Bears last week.

"Because of his disappointing past, Mayfield, who went No. 1 overall in the 2018 draft, has to do a lot more to prove that he's capable of leading a competitive offense in a close game with a Super Bowl contender.

"With that being said, the Eagles defense has allowed seven total passing touchdowns to Mac Jones and Kirk Cousins. Philadelphia can still get after the quarterback (four sacks), but its defense has given up a lot of big plays under new defensive coordinator Sean Desai.

"As the better team, Philadelphia should win this game, but Mayfield will open more eyes while on the Monday Night Football stage with a productive performance that takes this game down to the final minutes." [B/R]

• Bill Bender, The Sporting News: Eagles win.

The Buccaneers are off to a surprising 2-0 start with Baker Mayfield, who has a 69.1% completion percentage and has not thrown an interception. The Eagles, however, had extra rest coming off a Thursday Night Football victory. Philadelphia has just four sacks through two weeks. Still, Jalen Hurts should be even better with the emergence of D'Andre Swift in the backfield. Philadelphia keeps it rolling on the Monday Night Football spotlight. 

Pick: Eagles 27, Buccaneers 17 . [The Sporting News]

Vinnie Iyer, The Sporting News: They do not cover the spread. 

The Eagles are sorting out some issues with lesser consistency in the passing game and more holes in the pass defense, despite a sturdy pass rush. The Bucs are hard team on which to run and their back seven has been active behind some pressure. Jalen Hurts will tough it out to make enough plays, but at home in prime time, Baker Mayfield will be more comfortable than you think with his outside and inside weapons.

Pick: Eagles win 24-20 but fail to cover the spread. [The Sporting News]

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