The Eagles (3-8-1) are hosting the Saints (10-2) at Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday afternoon.
To the predictions:
Reuben Frank (6-6)
The Eagles could play really well Sunday and still lose. The Saints are that good. Jalen Hurts will make his first NFL start against a defense that’s No. 4 in points allowed at 20 per game, No. 1 in yards allowed, No. 4 in pass defense and No. 2 in rush defense. And they’re fifth at 29 points scored per game, and even without Drew Brees they’re loaded with firepower on offense. The Eagles just don’t have the guns on either side of the ball to compete against this 10-2 Saints team. It’s hard to imagine a five-game losing streak. That would be the Eagles’ second-longest in the last 20 years. But what’s the Eagles’ path to win Sunday? I don’t think they can outscore the Saints and I don’t think they can shut them down. So I see another loss. This is getting old.
Saints 31, Eagles 20
Dave Zangaro (5-7)
The Eagles finally made the decision to bench Carson Wentz this week and I completely understand it. It was the right decision for the team and for Wentz. But that doesn’t mean it makes this weekend any easier. These Saints are good on both sides of the football, even without Drew Brees at quarterback. Maybe the Eagles really get a boost from starting Hurts — I guess it’s possible — but even if they get that boost, it’s hard to imagine it powering this Eagles team to a victory over a team that is solidly better.
Saints 28, Eagles 16
Ray Didinger (6-6)
When Fox scheduled this game for the late afternoon TV window it was expecting a marquee matchup -- Drew Brees vs. Carson Wentz, Saints vs. Eagles, two NFC contenders steaming toward the playoffs. It hasn't quite worked out that way.
What the Fox audience will get is Brees' backup Taysom Hill against rookie Jaylen Hurts. There will be the curiosity factor of seeing Hurts make his first NFL start but he is going against the league's No. 1 defense so this could get ugly. Good day to trim the Christmas tree.
Saints 24, Eagles 14
Barrett Brooks (5-7)
This has been a hard season to deal with. I would have never thought that there would be a scenario in which Carson Wentz would ever be benched! But lo and behold, Wentz is benched and rookie Jalen Hurts is the starting QB vs. one of the best defenses in the NFL. I realize why Doug Pederson pulled the trigger on the change. Carson has been playing bad, due in part to his own performance on the field, but a major reason is the personnel he is asked to play with on the field. There are issues on the O-Line, young WRs, drops, fumbles and lack of consistent play calling during games.
Now, Hurts is the man. To be very honest, this is not the right move to start Hurts against the best defense in the league. This is not fair to Hurts or Carson. I realize Hurts gave the team a spark at the end of the game against the Packers, but it was mop up duty. Hurts will get the Saints’ finest going into this game. The Saints will have had a week to game plan for Hurts, unlike what the Packers displayed with a 20-point lead late in that game.
The Eagles are in a bad situation entering this game. I hope Hurts gives the team the spark they need to be competitive. But the reality of the situation is Hurts is marching out with the same O-Line, young WRs, and lack of a running game Wentz was benched with! How do we expect different results from the same personnel that allowed Carson to be hit 116 times and sacked 50 times? It is insane to think that things will change just by changing the QB. O-Line play and play calling will be the same. (By the way, a pissed off and disrespected Malcolm Jenkins in a Saints uniform too!)
Saints 28, Eagles 14
Mike Mulhern (7-5)
There’s palpable buzz around the first career start for Jalen Hurts, but expecting immediate results seems like a stretch. He certainly provided a spark against the Packers but anything would’ve been an improvement over how poorly Carson Wentz was playing.
Not only is the Saints defense shutting down every offense in sight, Hurts is used to having elite playmakers all around him. You could argue this will be the worst collection of talent at the skill positions he’s played with since high school. Last year at Oklahoma he had CeeDee Lamb. In his Alabama days Hurts had Josh Jacobs and Damien Harris running. Calvin Ridley, Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs, and Cam Sims playing receiver. He had OJ Howard and Irv Smith as his tight ends. That’s a borderline fantasy football team!
Hurts’ escapability will give him a fighting chance, but the issues on this offense run far deeper than the quarterback. That will become even more evident on Sunday.
Saints 27, Eagles 13