The Eagles (3-6) are on the road this week to take on the Broncos (5-4) at Empower Field at Mile High.
To the predictions:
Reuben Frank (8-1)
The Eagles’ season has been pretty predictable so far. They’ve lost to all the above-average quarterbacks they’ve faced — Tom Brady, Pat Mahomes, Dak Prescott, Derek Carr, Justin Herbert — and they’ve beaten three of the four average to below-average quarterbacks they’ve faced — Matt Ryan, Sam Darnold and Jared Goff. Which brings us to Teddy Bridgewater. He’s not elite, but he is better than average. Through nine games, he’s completing 70.2 percent of his passes — second-highest in the league behind Kyler Murray — with 14 TDs, 5 INTs, 7.6 yards per completion and a 101.2 passer rating. He’s top-10 in everything. The Eagles haven't stopped an above-average QB yet so I can’t sit here and pick them to stop Bridgewater and the Broncos. The one Achilles heel is that he’s been sacked 26 times, 4th-most in the league, so maybe the Eagles’ under-achieving defensive line can show up. Maybe. The Broncos also have a top-10 defense, but the Eagles should be able to run on them and stay in the game. I see a good day for the offense but a bad day for the defense. Sound familiar?
Broncos 30, Eagles 27
Dave Zangaro (8-1)
On paper, this seems like it should be an easy win for the Broncos. They clearly have the better record, their coming off an impressive win over the Cowboys and they’re at home to enjoy one of the true home field advantages in sports.
But I’m picking the Eagles. Even though they didn’t win last week, I was impressed by what I saw from Nick Sirianni’s offense and I think they’ll be able to strike a nice balance in this game. And on defense, the Eagles have lost to great quarterbacks. Teddy Bridgewer, while efficient, is not a great quarterback. And I expect the Eagles’ underperforming defensive line to get home against the Broncos because their line is suspect and because Bridgewater holds the ball.
Eagles 27, Broncos 23
Ray Didinger (7-2)
The Denver Broncos are going for a clean sweep of the NFC East. They already have wins over the Giants (27-13) and Washington (17-10) and last week they stunned the Cowboys (30-16) in Dallas. Can they make it four-for-four with a win over the Eagles on Sunday?
The Eagles have not fared well in Denver. The last three times they played in the Mile High City, they were blown out — 52-20 in 2013, 49-21 in 2005 and 41-16 in 1998. It is no coincidence. The thin air and crowd noise make it very tough on the visiting team. Just ask Chip Kelly, Andy Reid and Ray Rhodes. Now it is your turn, Nick Sirianni.
With the Broncos coming off a monster game in Dallas and now playing at home, this would appear to be a bad spot for the Eagles, but I liked the way they played on offense against the Chargers and I expect them to tighten up defensively. The Broncos just added cornerback Patrick Surtain to a very long injured list. Can the Eagles win another on the road? I'll say yes.
Eagles 28, Broncos 24
Barrett Brooks (5-4)
When the schedule was released, I penciled this game as a win for the Eagles. The progression of this season has me wanting to change my mind. This is a very winnable game for the Eagles. Even though this Broncos team totally destroyed Dallas last week, I don't think Denver can play at that level two weeks in a row. They were firing on all cylinders. Everything went right for them in that game. They had a punt blocked by Dallas, but recovered it to keep the drive going. Can they play at that level again? I doubt it.
The Eagles have finally gained an identity on offense as a physical ground-and-pound attack. Running the ball is what the Birds can hang their hat on. Now, I need to see if Nick Sirianni can evolve and use play action from the various personnel packages like 12 and 13 personnel. Two and three TE offenses can move the chains through the air. Dallas Goedert and Tyree Jackson should be used to stretch the middle of the field. Denver's defense will put an extra defender in the box to stop the run, which will open things up for the outside WRs. The Birds will need to outscore the Broncos, because I have no faith in the play calling on defense. I have faith in the players, but I need more aggressive play calling to match the players’ capabilities.
Eagles 28, Broncos 20
Mike Mulhern (6-3)
The Broncos put together one of the most impressive wins of the entire NFL season a week ago in Dallas. Dak Prescott and company were held scoreless for the first 55 minutes of that game before a pair of late touchdowns made the score seem respectable. The Broncos backfield duo of Javonte Williams and Melvin Gordon combined for 190 yards on the ground. But this is a week-to-week league. What happened in Big D doesn’t necessarily carry over to Denver.
I simply like the matchups for the Eagles. Denver doesn’t take deep shots, so there’s less of a need to play your safeties 20 yards off the ball. They can press up on the Broncos receivers (pretty please?!?!) and dare Teddy Bridgewater to beat them. This is a game the Eagles front can dominate. Bridgewater has been sacked the 4th most times in the league, and his offensive line is likely to be missing three starters.
On the other side, Vic Fangio’s defense has been stingy overall (allowing just 17 points per game, 2nd best in the NFL), and a lot of their success was built on beating up on the dregs of the NFL. They’ve held the Giants, Jaguars, Jets and Washington to a combined 36 points. It’ll be tough to score, but I believe Jalen Hurts will be able to make enough plays to steal a win on the road.
Eagles 20, Broncos 17
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