Saturday, December 3, 2016

The Dreaded Saturday Eagles Pick

This is what rebuilding looks like - at least for the Eagles.

This one could set the NFL back a ways.

Two struggling teams will meet in Cincinnati when the Eagles arrive to tangle with the Bengals.

If you can remember the optimism that surrounded the Eagles, along with Doug Pederson and Carson Wentz as the Birds sprinted out to that 3-0 start, you're a good fan.

Pederson is a first-year coach; Wentz is a rookie quarterback. Both are beginning to look like it.

The truth is this is probably more representative of the Eagles than that mirage early in the season, including that impressive win vs. the Steelers.

Pederson in particular seems to have lost the imagination and touch he demonstrated - and his team is paying for it.

He's fallen into the Andy Reid playbook, abandoning a running game that would immensely help his young QB while controlling the game and keeping some potent offenses off the field.

Instead Pederson for some reason insists on throwing the ball, including an ugly effort vs. the Packers when the key to the game should have been to limit the time Aaron Rodgers had to dissect your defense.

The Bengals aren't nearly as good. They look like they will miss the playoffs again. They won't need to be all that good today. The Eagles arrive likely without their top two weapons, which I guess is a bit of a stretch. Wide receiver Jordan Matthews has a bum ankle; running back Ryan Mathews is out again with a knee injury. There's a stunner: Ryan Mathews is injured.

Pederson could load up with a huge diet of Wendell Smallwood, the running back who has given every appearance of being a solid lead back. Instead the guess here is that Pederson instead will try to have Wentz win the game again. Expect lots of 6-yard passes to Zach Ertz on third and eight.

On defense, the Birds can't possibly be as bad as they looked against the Packers.

Just about anything would be an improvement. They'll be better, just not good enough.

The Pick: Make it Bengals 17, Eagles 13. Offense could be strictly a rumor in this one. The Eagles are lousy on the road, the Bengals should kick enough field goals to get the win.

Last Week: I don't know what everyone else was thinking. I looked on one side and saw Aaron Rodgers, who is having a very good season even as the Packers have struggled. They are lining up a spot in Canton for Rodgers. How many Eagles can you say that about? The win pushed me over the .500 mark on the season at 6-5, while the Birds slumped to 5-6 mark, as they head back out on the road - where they have not fared well this season, against the Bengals.

Game by Game: Packers 27, Eagles 13 (My Pick: Packers 27, Eagles 23)

Seahawks 26, Eagles 15 (My Pick: Seahawks 24, Eagles 13)

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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