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October 25, 2019

Week 8 NFL picks: Rounding up the experts' predictions for Eagles vs. Bills

The Eagles will visit the Bills on Sunday for a tough road test, their third in a row. With a win, the Birds can move to 4-4 with one game remaining before the bye week. A loss, and Philly guarantees itself that it will head into the bye week with a sub-.500 record, something almost no one say coming before the season started. 

We've already broken down all those injuries, given you some matchups to watch and offered our own predictions for Eagles vs. Bills. Now, as we do every week, it's time to take a look around the nation to see how various experts, both local and national, see Sunday's game playing out...

PhillyVoice staff: Our writers came away with a similar 4-2 splits as last week, with the majority taking the underdog Eagles. Here's a look at what Eagles beat writer Jimmy Kempski had to say after predicting a 25-22 win for the Birds:

The Bills are 5-1, which is great, buuuuut the five teams they have beaten have a combined point differential of -359. I watched a couple of their games, and came away far less impressed than I was anticipating for a team with their record.

They have a below average quarterback playing behind a below average offensive line, throwing to a group of below average receivers, and handing the ball off to a 36-year-old running back. Their defense, meanwhile, had a very nice game against the Patri*ts, and they are good, but let's not get out of control there. Nice defense, nothing special.

The Bills have a 23-game playoff win drought, and I hope they win a playoff game this year for their fans, but I just don't see it. 

Of course, it's hard to pick the Eagles right now, given how terribly they have played the last two weeks, but if they can't get it together now — against this team, when their backs are against the wall — they should really just go ahead and mail in the rest of the season.

Maybe I'm just going down with the ship.

ESPN staff: Just four of their 10 experts are picking the Eagles to beat the Bills.

Tim McManus, Eagles 23, Bills 17

• Marcel Louis-Jacques, Bills 20, Eagles 14

Gregg Rosenthal, Eagles 20, Bills 19

The Eagles' three-game road swing is shaping up as a season-crushing disaster if they can't win in Buffalo. If they can't stop the run and play mediocre up front on offense, what is their identity? Philadelphia keeps cutting players a day after starting them (Zach Brown, Orlando Scandrick) and benching once-promising options like Sidney Jones. These are signs of a team in tumult. Facing Josh Allen should help the Eagles' sagging secondary, although the Bills have done a credible job staying aggressive with the pass despite Allen's uneven play. Allen's running ability also helps the Bills stay second in red-zone touchdown percentage. This is a coin-flip game, but I'm taking Philly because a team that trails in the fourth quarter at home to both the Bengals and Dolphins is overdue to get picked off. staff: Six of their eight experts are picking the Bills over the Birds, including Pete Prisco, who sees a 21-17 win for Buffalo:

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MORE: Eagles vs. Bills: Predictions, odds and more for Week 8

OddsShark: For the second week in a row, they're picking the Eagles to lose by at least two touchdowns. Will they be right again?

Mike Florio, ProFootballTalk: Eagles 24, Bills 20

The Bills have won a lot of close games. It’s time for them to lose a close game against a desperate team.

Michael David Smith, ProFootballTalk: Eagles 21, Bills 20

Logically, the 5-1 Bills should be the obvious choice at home against the 3-4 Eagles. And yet I just think the Eagles are better than their record suggests, and the Bills are worse.

Bleacher Report, NFL staff: Eagles 23, Bills 20

The banged-up Eagles haven't been right this year, but this is a well-coached team that hasn't lost three consecutive games since Doug Pederson was a rookie head coach in 2016. They'll look to avoid that fate Sunday on the road against the Buffalo Bills, who none of our analysts are buying as a small home favorite. ...

You might not want to spend all of that money you have stashed away for a Halloween rager on this game. Philadelphia is still plagued by injuries, while the Bills' only loss this year came against the 7-0 Patriots. But that was still a home loss, and Buffalo hasn't played another half-decent team this season. Coming out of their Week 6 bye, the Bills trailed the tanking Miami Dolphins in the fourth quarter at home. 

It wouldn't make a lot of sense to take them in a borderline pick'em against a desperate, mentally tough team that many consider to be far superior. 

Sheil Kapadia, The Athletic: Former Eagles beat writer Sheil Kapadia is now making picks against the spread for every game over at The Athletic. This week, he's taking the Bills to cover that 1.5-point spread.

As The Athletic’s Matthew Fairburn pointed out recently, Josh Allen has really struggled with the deep ball. He is currently 0-for-10 on passes that have traveled 30 yards or more from the line of scrimmage. The good news for Allen is he’s getting an Eagles defense that is susceptible to the deep pass (and the middle pass and the short pass and misdirection runs). I wrote in-depth about the Eagles earlier this week. As they showed a few weeks ago against the Packers, when they’re on they can compete against pretty much anyone. The problem is it’s impossible to figure out when that team is going to show up. They’ve gone 13-12 in 25 games since winning the Super Bowl.

SBNation staff: Just three of their 10 writers are picking the Eagles in this one.

Bleeding Green Nation staff: Eight of their nine writers are picking the Eagles. Homers.

MORE: All of Jimmy Kempski's Week 8 NFL picks Three of their four writers are picking the Birds on Sunday, including Les Bowen. Here's what he had to say...

It’s going to take an effort along the lines of the Packers game, and even that won’t guarantee anything. This defense is awful right now. With Nigel Bradham injured and Zach Brown released, the linebacking crew makes it hard to maintain the defense’s one strength, stopping the run. And opposite Fletcher Cox, they apparently will be starting Anthony Rush, a rookie defensive tackle who hasn’t played in an NFL game. These are problems resolve and focus won’t solve.

I think it’s going to be up to the offense. I think the Eagles need to run the ball, and throw it to Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert. Keep their defense off the field. Avoid drive-killing penalties and, of course, turnovers. These are achievable goals, if they aren’t down 14-0 six minutes in, as they were last week.

So, flying on a Buffalo wing and a prayer . . staff: Three of their five writers are picking against the Eagles this week, but not Eagles beat writer Mike Kaye.

Buffalo is surging at 5-1, while Philadelphia is reeling after two straight blowout losses. Still, the Eagles have an opportunity to bounce back against a low-scoring offense. The Bills’ defense is terrific, but Josh Allen and his offensive unit have been inconsistent. If Carson Wentz can rally the troops on offense and the pass rush shows up, this could be a prime opportunity for the Eagles. Dallas Goedert and Zach Ertz will be the keys to this game on offense for the Eagles.

PICK: Eagles 17, Bills 16

Todd Haislop, Sporting News: Bills 21, Eagles 17

This is a winnable game for the struggling Eagles; the defense that has gone from disappointing to just plain bad this season won't be scared of the Bills' 22nd-ranked scoring offense. Philadelphia also should benefit from the return of some key players, giving Carson Wentz the help he lacked in the team's road losses over the last couple weeks. With that said, Buffalo's defense is in the conversation with those of San Francisco and New England when it comes to best in the league, making the home team more reliable. Regardless of how this game plays out, given the reputations of these fan bases, we're just hoping to avoid a drunk Bills Mafia member throwing an equally drunk and more frustrated Eagles fan through a flaming table.

Vinny Iyer, Sporting News: Eagles 26, Bills 23

The Eagles are desperate to save their season, and the Bills just got away with sloppy play against the Dolphins, especially defensively. Carson Wentz will rebound with gritty passing and running. Josh Allen, who's often compared to the Eagles QB, doesn't have the weapons to consistently burn the Eagles' pass defense. Doug Pederson will outwit former Eagles defensive coordinator Sean McDermott in a field-goal game.

RELATED: Philly Godfather: Underdog Eagles look like a good bet vs. Bills

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