Ray Didinger

Eagles-Rams predictions

Eagles-Rams predictions

The Eagles haven't dropped consecutive games all season.

They'll try to avoid that in what should be a fun Week 14 matchup.

The 2016 No. 2 overall pick (Carson Wentz) squares off with No. 1 (Jared Goff), as the Eagles (10-2) visit the Los Angeles Rams (9-3) Sunday afternoon (4:25 p.m./FOX).

Can the Eagles separate themselves from the Rams in the NFC?

Our experts provide their predictions:

Reuben Frank (11-1)
A fascinating matchup. I'm really curious to see how the Eagles respond to their first loss in 2½ months. I'm confident they'll respond well, and I'm confident they'll win the game. 

A lot of things had to go wrong for the Eagles to lose last weekend. A deafening crowd, a Hall of Fame quarterback having one of the best games of his career, an incredibly ill-timed turnover at about the one-foot line. This weekend, the crowd will be to a great extent on the Eagles' side. The opposing quarterback is very good but also very inexperienced, and Wentz most likely isn't going to fumble a foot shy of the goal line again. 

Goff has played extremely well but I love the matchup between Jim Schwartz and any young quarterback. Dak Prescott is the only QB under 28 to beat the Eagles since Schwartz took over the defense last year, and he's done it only once so far. 

The Eagles have responded to every challenge they've faced since Doug Pederson became the head coach (see story), and that's not going to change now. With LeGarrette Blount enjoying a big game, the Eagles get back on the winning ledger with a win over the Rams.

Eagles 27, Rams 23

Dave Zangaro (9-3)
I've been on the fence about this one all week. In the end, I'm leaning Eagles. 

Truth be told, when I left on this trip before the Seattle game, I thought the Seahawks game was going to be a win and the Rams game was going to be a loss. That obviously won't be the case. 

I just have a hard time envisioning the Eagles losing both games out here. Really, I wanted to see how the team reacted to the week in California, if it really took them out of their element. While I'm still not sure this was the best decision, players seemed like they were able to lock in enough to regain their focus. 

It probably won't be easy, but the Eagles are still the better team between the two. This might be a close one, but I think the Eagles got the wake-up call they needed last week. 

Eagles 34, Rams 31

Derrick Gunn (10-2)
What a matchup this should be. The top two players selected in the 2016 NFL draft showcasing their skills on the same field (see story). Wentz is further along in his development than Goff, but Goff has made significant strides.

Both teams have scored 361 points this season. That's tops in the league, and both offenses lead the league in scoring, averaging 30.1 points.

Can the Rams' offensive line hold off the Eagles' defensive pressure up front? Can the Birds' O-line control Rams DT Aaron Donald, who has 71 QB pressures? The Rams' defense is third in the league with 37 sacks, and the Eagles' D is tied for seventh with 33.

Will the Birds' deep and versatile RB stable be able to do damage? Will the league's No. 2 rusher Todd Gurley (939 yards, 4.2 yards per carry, eight TDs) find room to roam?

Zach Ertz (concussion protocol) could be a big loss to the Birds' passing game. The Rams' top pass catcher and deep threat Robert Woods (shoulder injury) is listed as questionable.

Wade Phillips and Schwartz are two of the best defensive coordinators in the game. Rams head coach Sean McVay is the same one who used to give Eagles' defenses fits when he was the Washington Redskins' offensive coordinator from 2014-16 (see story). Yes, I know the Eagles' defensive personnel is much better than in the past, but I don't like this matchup for the Birds on the left coast.

Playoff seeding is at stake. I've gone back and forth many times on which way to go. My hunch tells me to go with the Rams.

Rams 27, Eagles 24

Ray Didinger (10-2)
The joyride ended in Seattle. After a month of breezy blowout wins, the Eagles found themselves in a brass-knuckles brawl with the Seahawks that ended in a 24-10 loss. Afterwards, Pederson and several players admitted the team could have done a better job of preparing during the week. In other words, some guys were reveling in their success a little too much.

That can happen but it shouldn't happen two weeks in a row. I expect the Eagles to rebound this week. If they don't, they could slip even further back in the NFC playoff race. They already trail Minnesota and could fall behind the Rams with a loss Sunday. There is no doubt the Eagles will win the division but they don't want to be playing the first week of the playoffs. Securing a bye is crucial, which means they must win here.

The Eagles should be able to get their ground game going again — L.A.'s run defense ranks 27th in the league — and that will allow Wentz to hit some big play-action passes. The large number of Philly fans making the trip to L.A. will make this sound like an Eagles home game.

Eagles 27, Rams 24

Andrew Kulp (10-2)
I really don't have a feel for this game. The teams look pretty even, though the Rams have some key injuries that might swing the matchup in the Eagles' favor. The question is how do they respond to an ugly loss? Because they looked like the better team going into Seattle, too.

I can see it going either way. I believe the Eagles are legitimately one of the best teams in the NFL, but I also remain unconvinced they're out of the woods as far as this miniature offensive slump is concerned. Fortunately for the Eagles' sake, the one thing I am confident in is their defense's ability to limit the Rams' scoring.

Eagles 21, Rams 19

Corey Seidman (8-3)
I don't feel great about this game. Gurley is the best running back the Eagles have faced, so their ordinarily stingy run defense could take a hit. Gurley has also been dynamite catching passes this year so for me, he's a likely bet to crack 100 scrimmage yards and find the end zone.

With Woods possibly out (and apologies to Cooper Kupp), the Rams' only two explosive players are Gurley and Sammy Watkins, who makes a minimal impact nearly every week until he catches his one deep ball and/or draws a big pass interference penalty.

And yet the reason my gut says Rams by three this Sunday is that I expect that defensive line featuring Donald and Robert Quinn to get steady pressure on Wentz, affecting the Eagles' offensive rhythm and forcing an additional couple three-and-outs.

Rams 27, Eagles 24

Eagles-Seahawks predictions

Eagles-Seahawks predictions

A win in Week 13 would be pretty special for the Eagles.

It would mark their 10th straight while clinching the NFC East.

But standing in the way are the Seahawks (7-4) and CenturyLink Field, a combination the NFL-best Eagles (10-1) will try to tackle on Sunday Night Football (8:30 p.m./NBC).

Can Carson Wentz and company punch their playoff ticket in Seattle?

Our experts provide their predictions:

Reuben Frank (11-0)
The Eagles have been blowing out teams so routinely lately it’s hard to remember what a close game feels like. It’s been a while. Sunday night, they face a team that certainly isn’t going to get blown out. The Seahawks have never lost a game by more than a touchdown under Russell Wilson, so most likely we will see an intense, taut game decided in the final few minutes of the fourth quarter.

But let’s be honest. The Seahawks are not who they used to be. With their injuries and changes, some of the intimidation factor is gone. No Marshawn Lynch. No Richard Sherman. No Kam Chancellor. Different team. And at home, where they were essentially unbeatable from 2012 through last year, they just lost to the Falcons and the Redskins.

So good game. Close game. Competitive game. But I see one team moving up into the NFC elite and one team that’s maybe moving out. Birds keep on rolling. Bring on the Rams! 

Eagles 27, Seahawks 26

Dave Zangaro (9-2)
I know Seattle is supposed to be a scary place to play and I know the Seahawks are supposed to be unbeatable there. But they're not. There's a reason Seattle has lost its last two home games: it's not that team anymore. 

Sure, it still has Wilson, who is really special. And it has Earl Thomas and Bobby Wagner on defense, who are both fantastic. But this isn't the same team that won the Super Bowl. This isn't even the same team the Eagles faced last year in Seattle. 

And the Eagles aren't the same team from last year either. The Birds are the best team in football and they now have a chance to clinch the division on Sunday Night Football. They're going to do it. 

You have probably heard a lot about the Eagles' easy schedule this season, but they're a reason it looks so easy. They've beaten teams so bad that those teams have trouble recovering. And now those wins in L.A. and Carolina look much better. Add another quality victory to the list this weekend. The Eagles are going to prove their dominance. 

Eagles 31, Seahawks 21

Derrick Gunn (10-1)
Now we get to a game that means something. After four weeks of watching the Birds blow out lesser competition, they step up in a challenge against a foe that knows how to prepare for big encounters. The Seahawks have been to the playoffs five years in a row, including two Super Bowl appearances. The 'Hawks are hurting on defense — Sherman is out for the year, Chancellor has a neck injury and Cliff Avril is out, as well. But Seattle still has that guy Wilson, who has thrown for 23 touchdown passes this year — 15 of them have come in the last six games. Wilson is the master of the scramble drill and he has a versatile group of talented receivers. It will be interesting to see how the Eagles' secondary matches up with their personnel. 

Carson Wentz and his offense will be thoroughly tested by the Seahawks' defensive scheme. If the Birds can get their run game going, it will take a lot of pressure off Wentz in the passing game. A win for the Eagles in the loudest stadium in the NFL will go a long way in terms of preparing them for what's to come in the postseason. So many different ways this one could go, but I'm going with a hunch that Wentz learned some valuable lessons about how to play in that environment last year, and because this team is on a roll right now, I'll say Eagles.

Eagles 23, Seahawks 20

Ray Didinger (10-1)
There was a time when the Seahawks were unbeatable at CenturyLink Field. Remember the 12th Man Mystique? The crowd noise that made it almost impossible for a visiting team to run a play?

Well, CenturyLink is still loud but it is no longer an intimidating place. Why? Simple. The team isn't as good. Injuries have crippled the defense and with Lynch gone, it can't run the football. Wilson leads the team in rushing by almost 200 yards. He is the reason the Seahawks (7-4) are still alive in the playoff race.

The Seahawks have lost their last two home games and they haven't lost three in a row at CenturyLink since 2008. I'm sure the Seahawks will be ready to play on Sunday and the 12th Man will be at full roar, but right now the Eagles are the better team.

Eagles 28, Seahawks 21

Andrew Kulp (10-1)
Two weeks ago, the Falcons went into Seattle and tied a season high with 34 points against the once-vaunted Seahawks defense. It simply isn't the same unit without Sherman and Chancellor in the secondary, and I would expect Wentz to expose this weakness.

Wilson may be able keep the Seahawks afloat for awhile, but if the Eagles can score their weekly 30, they should be safe.

Eagles 34, Seahawks 21

Eagles-Bears predictions

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USA Today Images

Eagles-Bears predictions

Last Sunday night proved easier than expected.

Fresh off a 37-9 whooping of the Cowboys in Dallas, the Eagles return home to kick off against the Chicago Bears at Lincoln Financial Field (1 p.m./FOX).

Here are our expert predictions for the Week 12 matchup:

Reuben Frank (10-0)
This one could get ugly fast. Heck, lately, they’ve all been ugly. The Eagles have won three straight games by 23 or more points, and I fully expect that streak to increase to four Sunday. There have been only 12 instances in NFL history where a team has won four straight games by 23 or more points, most recently the 2004 Colts. Before that the 1961 Packers did it and so did the 1993 49ers. So if the Eagles do indeed blow out the Bears, they’ll be only the fourth team in the last 64 years to win four straight games by 23 or more points. The Eagles are just demolishing people right now, winning these last three by a combined 79 points. The Bears, meanwhile, come into Philly having lost three straight games and averaging just 15.3 points on offense this year, just 13.3 on the road. They’ve scored just six offensive touchdowns on the road all year. The Eagles have scored 21 offensive TDs at home. Blowout City.

Eagles 49, Bears 12

Dave Zangaro (8-2)
There's no such thing as a "trap game" for this Eagles team. 

So feel free to spend your day worrying about their focus against an inferior Bears team, but don't feel the need to. The Eagles aren't looking past the Bears, which means they're going to crush them. 

The Eagles had a bad half against the Cowboys and were still able to smoke them last week. If they come out just a little bit hotter Sunday afternoon, they'll put the Bears away early and keep the gas pedal to the floor. This Eagles team can taste blood in the water and there's a good chance they'll get the Bears bleeding early. 

Sure, Chicago's defense is OK and they can run the football. But the Eagles have scored 30-plus points in the last four games and the Bears haven't scored more than 27 all season. They're not going to be able to keep up. 

The Eagles win this one easy. 

Eagles 34, Bears 6

Derrick Gunn (9-1)
Their record says the Bears are a 3-7 team, but their play on the field shows they can be competitive. The Bears have lost their last three games by eight, seven and three points. Their three wins this season have been against Pittsburgh (in overtime), Baltimore and Carolina. They have an impressive run game that averages 131.8 yards, which is fifth-best in the league, featuring second-year back Jordan Howard, who is third in the league in rushing with 84.1 yards per game, and rookie Tarik Cohen. Both average over four yards per carry. Quarterback Mitchell Trubisky has shown promise, but he's still a rookie and prone to make mistakes. Chicago's offense averages just 17.4 points. Their defense is ranked 11th and can get after the quarterback with 29 sacks, tied for fourth-best in the league.

Unfortunately for the Bears, they are running into a red-hot Eagles squad that is firing on all cylinders on both sides of the ball. Carson Wentz and his crew are shredding defenses and the Birds’ defense is making Sundays miserable for opposing offenses. 

I look for this to be an entertaining game for maybe the first 30 minutes, then I expect the Birds to send the Bears into hibernation. 

Eagles 30, Bears 14 

Ray Didinger (9-1)
Last Sunday, the Eagles' offense went three-and-out on five straight possessions, looked totally out of sync for a half and they still beat the Dallas Cowboys by four touchdowns. That's pretty scary. They are averaging 32 points, most in the league, and they are allowing just 18.8 points a game. Crunch the numbers however you like, the bottom line is the same. The Eagles are the best team in football.

The Chicago Bears limp into town this week with a rookie quarterback (Mitchell Trubisky) and a 3-7 record. The Bears' coaches have done all they can to help Trubisky, calling lots of running plays with Jordan Howard (841 yards, third in the league) but no one has success running against the Eagles so this looks like a long day for the Bears. Their defense keeps them in most games, but they just don't have enough weapons on offense. It will be the same story this week. 

Eagles 28, Bears 12

Andrew Kulp (9-1)
In order to believe this might be a trap game, you would first have to believe one of two things. Either the Eagles are not as good as their record indicates, and a vastly inferior opponent such as the Bears can actually pose a threat. Or the Eagles, as a team, don't possess the correct mindset to focus on the task ahead and are susceptible to going on autopilot for a week.

I'm 100 percent confident the latter isn't true. The immense leadership in the locker room and overwhelming quantity of self-motivated players makes it hard to believe this team would take anybody lightly. That means an upset would require the Bears to have the talent to take advantage of some weakness on the Eagles. I have a hard time seeing that.

Yes, the Bears are better than their 3-7 record would suggest, but unless they can limit the Eagles' offense to fewer than 20 points, I don't see how they score enough points to win. And considering the Bears have only held two opponents under 20 all season, and the Eagles have yet to post fewer than 20, the prospect seems highly unlikely. Trap game, schmap game.

Eagles 30, Bears 10

Corey Seidman (7-3)
The Bears play sneaky good defense but have little else. They barely throw downfield and have zero weapons on the outside. 

This is probably the Eagles’ easiest game left. 

Eagles 35, Bears 6