Saturday, November 19, 2016

The Dreaded Saturday Eagles Pick

If last week was a statement game, this week could be the exclamation point.

Most of the pundits did not think the Eagles would handle the Falcons' high-flying offense.

They were wrong. The Birds stuffed the Falcons run game and then managed to keep Matt Ryan and Julio Jones in check. And yes, Jones helped considerably with a couple of most uncharacteristic drops.

Things get a lot tougher this week. The Birds have to fly across the country to face the Seahawks in what is likely the toughest, loudest venue in the NFL.

This could be a very long day for Carson Wentz and the Eagles' pedestrian receivers. If they have a prayer in this contest, it is to build a carbon copy of last week's effort. Run the football, bang away at the Seahawks with Ryan Mathews and Wendell Smallwood. Carson Wentz is not going to be beat this defense on his own.

On the other side of the ball, the Eagles defense needs to put pressure on Russell Wilson, and also be aware of his ability to move. They will need to be disciplined, stay in their lanes and contain him. The Eagles defensive line should be able to handle their foes on the other side of the ball.

And special teams is an area where the Eagles continue to have the edge over most opponents.

I don't think the Eagles are going to get blown out by Seattle. They will be in the game. I just don't know how this offense can produce enough points to get the win. Those worries are not helped by nagging injuries for Jordan Matthews and Zach Ertz, really the only two weapons Wentz has.

And one other thing: While the Eagles are starting to build a serious home-field advantage at the Linc, going 4-0 this season, they struggle on the road, with a 1-4 mark. And they also get off to very slow starts. That's not a good combination.

The Pick: Make it Seahawks 24, Eagles 13. Maybe the most difficult place to play in the NFL. That will make things very hard on Carson Wentz, let alone facing one of the top defenses in the league. If the Birds steal this one, it likely will be their defense and special teams doing the bulk of the work. I don't see Carson Wentz and these receivers doing much against this defense.

Last Week: One of my better picks of the year. As usual I was not completely sold on the Falcons, and the Eagles are starting to develop some serious karma at Lincoln Financial Field. A really good game for Doug Pederson, his decisions and play-calling. The Eagles' offense controlled the game and kept Matty Ice off the field for much of the afteroon. They need a repeat performance this week in Seattle. The win lifts me to 4-5 on the season, while the Birds sit at 5-4 and looking to continue what is a most unexpected playoff push.

Game by Game: Eagles 24, Falcons 15 (My Pick: Eagles 31, Falcons 29)

Giants 28, Eagles 23 (My Pick: Eagles 24, Giants 17)

Cowboys 29, Eagles 23 (My Pick: Cowboys 29, Eagles 24)

Eagles 21, Vikings 10 (My Pick: Vikings 26, Eagles 13)

Redskins 27, Eagles 20 (My Pick: Eagles 24, Redskins 23)

Lions 24, Eagles 23 (My Pick: Eagles 31, Lions 10)

Eagles 34, Steelers 3 (My Pick: Steelers, 26, Eagles 23)

Eagles 29, Bears 14 (My Pick: Eagles 24, Bears 16)

Eagles 29, Browns 10 (My Pick: Eagles 19, Browns 13)

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