The Eagles (3-5) are home this week to host the Chargers (4-3) at Lincoln Financial Field.
To the predictions:
Reuben Frank (7-1)
A two-game winning streak? Beating a team with a winning record? A win over a legit quarterback? I’m just not ready to go there. Not yet. I do think if Nick Sirianni and Jonathan Gannon build on the adjustments and flexibility they showed in Detroit last weekend there’s a good chance the Eagles beat the Chargers Sunday and earn their first home win of the year. But I need to see it to believe it. The Chargers have some big-time weapons. Justin Herbert hasn’t been as sharp the last two weeks, but he puts a lot of pressure on defenses with his big arm. Austin Ekeler is an under-rated two-way back. Mike Williams and Keenan Allen are both on pace for over 1,200 receiving yards. Jared Cook is a Pro Bowl tight end. And the Eagles are allowing quarterbacks to complete 74.3 percent of their passes, highest in NFL history. Now, the Chargers’ defense isn’t anything special, and I figure the Eagles will score 24 to 27 points. But I just don’t think that will be enough.
Chargers 31, Eagles 24
Dave Zangaro (7-1)
I really like what the Eagles did last week in Detroit. Heck, it was hard not to like it. They ran the ball and they challenged on defense. While I don’t think that is going to be the formula every week — at least not to that extreme — there are lessons in there for this coaching staff. The Eagles are due for a win at home, but this looks like a tough matchup to me.
Sure, the Chargers have slipped after their 4-1 start and Justin Herbert hasn’t looked nearly as good. But they come into this game after losses to a very good Ravens team and a Patriots team led by Bill Belichick, who often feasts on young quarterbacks. They’re trying to avoid three straight losses and that could be a dangerous spot.
The Eagles will have a chance in this game but I don’t see them winning it.
Chargers 26, Eagles 21
Ray Didinger (7-1)
The Chargers won four of their first five games but they have cooled off, losing to Baltimore (34-6) and New England (27-24). If they lose to the Eagles their whole season, which started with great expectations, could begin to unravel.
Justin Herbert is a blue chip talent (31 touchdown passes as a rookie) but his supporting cast let him down the last two weeks. He was sacked three times and pressured 17 other times in losing to the Patriots. He never looked comfortable but Bill Belichick does that to a lot of young quarterbacks.
The Eagles had great success running the ball (46 rushes, 236 yards) against the Lions and the Chargers run defense is the worst in the league. Nick Sirianni should come out running the ball again Sunday. I'm guessing the home crowd will remind him.
Eagles 28, Chargers 21
Barrett Brooks (5-3)
Why is it so hard to have nice things in Philadelphia sports? This Eagles team is much better than the record shows and not as good as the record at 3-5. I say this because I believe in Jalen Hurts’ ability to be an NFL starting QB. But I also see his shortcomings at reading pre-snaps and simple execution after the first read during the play. Then you have to look at his ability to evade pass rushers and improvise when a play is all but doomed from the start. Hurts will be the reason the Birds will beat the Chargers. Yes, we all know the Chargers are last against defensive run yardage, but I can't trust the Birds will run the ball. I'm going to trust Hurts can run the offense and keep the offense on the field. Time of possession, keeping QB Justin Herbert off the field gets the W.
Eagles 28, Chargers 25
Mike Mulhern (6-2)
This is a matchup of the league’s two most viral coaches. Brandon Staley has generated clicks and praise for his poignant answers on everything from the run game to Jon Gruden’s resignation. Meanwhile ,Sirianni‘s quirky responses on botany and “Rock, Paper, Scissors” have drawn plenty of views and even more criticism. Yet the Chargers have just one more win than the Birds. Go figure.
Staley and his team were the early season darlings of the NFL, going 4-1 out of the gate behind MVP candidate Justin Herbert. But they’ve lost two in a row and are showing warts. Herbert just played his two worst games of the season. The right side of their offensive line features a pair of backups that haven’t held up. It’s the kind of matchup the Eagles defensive front has to feast on. Otherwise their weapons will make you pay.
On the other side of the ball the Chargers boast the worst run defense in the league, almost by design. Staley, much like good friend Jonathan Gannon, prefers to force teams to put together long drives and concedes yards on the ground in the process. And they often get away with it thanks to the star power of Derwin James and Joey Bosa. After rushing for a season-high 236 yards against the Lions, the formula seems simple enough. But will the Eagles actually take advantage? I say yes.
The Birds haven’t won a home game in front of a full stadium since beating the Cowboys in week 16 of the 2019 season. That changes Sunday. Perhaps we’ll even get another viral press conference clip in the process.
Eagles 27, Chargers 23
Subscribe to the Eagle Eye podcast: