NFL predictions

Eagles-Bills NFL Week 8 predictions 2019

Eagles-Bills NFL Week 8 predictions 2019

The Eagles (3-4) travel to Buffalo to take on the Bills (5-1) on Sunday at New Era Stadium. 

To the predictions: 

Reuben Frank (3-4) 
I'm not picking the Eagles to lose because of anything Orlando Scandrick said. I'm not picking them to lose because the anonymous ESPN source. I'm not picking them to lose because I think there's any sort of fracture in the locker room. I'm picking them to lose because I just do not like the matchup between an Eagles offense that's managed just five touchdowns on 35 drives in its last three games against a Bills defense that's allowed just 10 offensive TDs all year. Honestly, the Eagles' offense hasn't looked quite right all year, and I don't like the odds of them turning that around against Sean McDermott's Buffalo defense, which is No. 2 in the NFL in points allowed, No. 2 in yards allowed, No. 3 against the pass, No. 5 against the run and fourth in takeaways. Maybe they'll surprise me. But … 

Bills 23, Eagles 16

Dave Zangaro (2-5) 
The Eagles have lost their last two games by a combined 45 points and now head to Buffalo to face a 5-1 team that’s their third road game in three weeks. When you put it like that, I’d be crazy to pick the Eagles. I guess I’m crazy. 

While I certainly don’t trust the Eagles at this point, I know their season is pretty much cooked if they can’t get this win. It wouldn’t be impossible to make the playoffs at 3-5, but it would be really darn hard. I expected the Eagles to respond last week in Dallas and they did the opposite, so I feel silly expecting them to do it this week … but here we are. As you’ve already probably noticed, the Bills haven’t beaten very good teams to get to 5-1. And even though the Eagles don’t qualify as a “good team” right now, they’re better than the Jets, Bengals, Giants, Titans and Dolphins. I think they do just enough to pull their record to .500 and give the city some much-needed hope. 

Eagles 23, Bills 20

Derrick Gunn (2-5) 
Coming out of that Minnesota debacle the Eagles said all the right things. They were embarrassed, they knew what corrections needed to be made, they took ownership. Then they went down to Dallas and played worse than they did against the Vikings! So when Doug Pederson said a few days ago, “This team is mad. They’re upset and they’re disappointed in how we’ve lost these last two games. They’re embarrassed from the other day, which is good,” it fell on deaf ears as far as I’m concerned. Talk is cheap. The Birds’ defense is leaking badly. A once proud run defense has given up 122 and 189 yards rushing the last two outings. And don’t even get me started on their pass defense. 

As for the offense, where is the imagination? Plays of misdirection, plays of deception. The run game lacks consistency. Receivers can’t get much separation. Carson Wentz is holding the ball too long and taking way too many hits. Now, the Birds’ offense is about to face a Buffalo defense that’s better than both Minnesota and Dallas. 

The Bills’ D is ranked third overall. They’re fourth against the pass (201.3 yards per game), and third in points allowed (15.2). They have one of the best young cornerbacks in the game in Tre’Davious White and arguably the best safety tandem in the league in Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer, who was an Eagles’ seventh-round draft pick in 2013 but was released by the Birds in October of that year. Buffalo’s offense relies on its run game (135.8 yards per game). QB Josh Allen is still a work in progress (7 TDs, 7 INTs) and will give the Eagles’ defense an opportunity to pick off a few passes. The Birds’ pass rush had better get to Allen before he can get the ball to speedster John Brown (eight catches of 20 or more yards) or the crafty Cole Beasley. This Bills’ offense is not explosive and the Birds have a chance to win, but I don’t trust them yet. 

Bills 21, Eagles 17 

Ray Didinger (3-4) 
I expected the Eagles to bounce back last Sunday in Dallas — coming off a bad loss in Minnesota, playing the hated Cowboys, prime time stage, etc. — and, in the words of Carson Wentz, they didn't show up. I don't know what to think now. I just know I don't trust them. How could you based on what we've seen the past two weeks?

You can argue the season is not lost. If the Eagles win Sunday — and Buffalo isn't a juggernaut despite the 5-1 record — they will be back to .500 with the sputtering Bears coming to the Linc next week and a bye coming up the week after that with a chance to rest and regroup. Sure, it sounds good but I just don't like what I see with this team. The Eagles looked old and slow as well as uninspired in Dallas.

The Bills are not an explosive team so they won't blow out the Eagles the way the Vikings and Cowboys did. It figures to be a close, low-scoring game, but for me it comes down to this: I know for a fact the Bills will come out and play hard on Sunday. I can't say the same for the Eagles.

Bills 20, Eagles 17 

Andrew Kulp (4-3) 
It's just going to be one of those years where nothing ever comes easy. As I'm sure several people already pointed out, the Bills haven't beaten anybody yet — but do the Eagles really qualify as "anybody" at this point? It's pretty much impossible to give this team the benefit of the doubt at this point. So once again I'm torn.

The one thing I think they have going for them is the Bills are a bit of a one-dimensional offense, and the Eagles are usually pretty good at stopping that dimension (though they certainly weren't last week). It's probably going to be sloppy and low-scoring, which is usually a Buffalo style of game ... but it may actually be to the Eagles' advantage at this point since they usually can't stop their opponent or score enough to keep up.

So yeah, I'm going Eagles again. Sue me.

Eagles 22, Bills 20

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Eagles-Vikings NFL Week 6 predictions 2019

Eagles-Vikings NFL Week 6 predictions 2019

The Eagles (3-2) travel to Minnesota to face the Vikings (3-2) on Sunday afternoon at U.S. Bank Stadium. 

Let’s get to this week’s predictions: 

Reuben Frank (2-3) 
I don’t like the matchups. The Eagles have been terrific against the run, but they haven’t faced anyone like Dalvin Cook. They'll get some cornerback help soon, but I’m not sure they have the people right now to slow down Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs, not to mention Cook out of the backfield. The Eagles have been efficient offensively — No. 7 in the NFL in yards per drive — but that Vikings defense is allowing just 14.6 points per game and a bit less at home. I just don’t know where the firepower to attack a top-10 defense — No. 4 in yards allowed, No. 5 in points allowed, No. 6 against the pass, No. 9 against the run, No. 9 on third down — is going to come from with DeSean Jackson on the shelf. I still think they’ll come out of this three-game road trip 2-1, which would get them to 5-3 at the midpoint of the season. But I have the Vikings winning this one.

Vikings 24, Eagles 21 

Dave Zangaro (2-3)
Sure, Dalvin Cook is the NFL’s second-leading rusher for a reason. He’s an explosive player and the Vikings’ offensive scheme has been pretty good this season. But they want to run the ball and the Eagles stuff the run better than any team in the NFL. I think this really plays into what the Eagles want. 

On offense, the Birds need to figure out how to generate points against a good defense. But I have confidence in the Eagles’ ability to score touchdowns in the red zone, which is huge in what should end up being a pretty close game. It won’t rain confetti this time, but I think the Eagles still walk out of U.S. Bank Stadium with a win. 

Eagles 27, Vikings 21 

Derrick Gunn (2-3) 
Now that the Eagles have put their practice game against the Jets behind them, it’s on to a much more formidable opponent in the Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings present all kinds of problems on both sides of the ball. On offense, they have electric RB Dalvin Cook, who is second in the league in rushing and two WRs who can stretch the field. Adam Thielen averages 15.4 yards per catch, while Stefon Diggs is at 15.8. Between them, they have 11 receptions for 20 or more yards. Minnesota’s defense is fourth overall, and fifth in points allowed at 14.6 per game. 

The Jets’ defense held the Eagles’ offense to two touchdowns and under 100 yards rushing. The Birds’ passing game was less than stellar and young receivers JJ Arcega-Whiteside and Mack Hollins had zero catches between them. DeSean Jackson’s absence is severely handcuffing the Eagles’ ability to stretch the field. The Eagles have to find a way to get a run game going to help set up the play action. The Birds’ defensive front will be thoroughly tested, and if they don’t get pressure on Kirk Cousins it could be a long afternoon. Doug Pederson’s crew knows what’s at stake and he will have them ready. This is going to be physical football at its finest. I think the Eagles will have just a little bit more muscle to strong-arm a win. 

Eagles 24, Vikings 21 

Ray Didinger (3-2) 
The Eagles’ run defense has been excellent through five games, allowing an average of just 63 yards on the ground, best in the NFL, but this will be their toughest test. The Vikings' offense is built around the run (166 yards per game) and they run it very well with Dalvin Cook and rookie Alexander Mattison both averaging well over five yards per carry.

This isn't very complicated. If the Eagles' run defense shuts down Cook and Mattison and forces Kirk Cousins into a lot of second-and-long and third-and-long situations, the Eagles will win the game. If Cook and Mattison are moving the sticks and Cousins can pick his spots with the play-action pass, it will be a long day for Jim Schwartz and company. I like the Eagles in a close one.

Eagles 23, Vikings 21

Andrew Kulp (4-1) 
Tough one to call. Like the Falcons in Week 2, the Vikings really aren't that that great, but road games are tough. And where this differentiates from Atlanta is Minnesota's D is legit, holding opponents to 12, 21, 14, 16 and 10 points this season, home or away.

The Vikings’ offense, on the other hand, has largely been reliant on Dalvin Cook, and that plays into the Eagles' hands. As usual, this is one of the best run defenses in the NFL — tops in terms of yards per game (63.0), second in yards per attempt (3.2) — which means it could fall on to Kirk Cousins to keep the chains moving.

That sounds favorable for the Eagles, as long as the pass rush shows up for a second week in a row. I like Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham to work over the interior of the Vikings O-line and rattle Cousins, perhaps even cause a couple turnovers. That should be enough as long as Carson Wentz and company play mistake-free football on the other side.

Eagles 24, Vikings 20

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Eagles-Jets NFL Week 5 predictions 2019

Eagles-Jets NFL Week 5 predictions 2019

The Eagles (2-2) host the Jets (0-3) on Sunday afternoon at the Linc. 

The toughest stretch of the season looms after.

Let’s get to this week’s predictions: 

Reuben Frank (1-3)

The Eagles need themselves a nice blowout. One of those games where they jump on top early, play mistake-free football, build a big halftime lead and then just finish a team off and give me the entire fourth quarter to write 10 Instant Observations, instead of making me write it in 30 seconds. It's time for the Eagles to play 60 minutes against a team that's last in the NFL both running and throwing the football, not to mention fifth from the bottom in pass defense. Against this winless Jets team — which has scored one offensive touchdown all year and been outscored by an average of 23-11 — anything less than a blowout would be a disappointment. If the Eagles don't take care of business Sunday at the Linc, the win over the Packers becomes meaningless. The Eagles need to build a 28-point lead in the middle of the third quarter, rest some guys who need some rest and get themselves right for the three-game road trip that starts next weekend. 

Eagles 33, Jets 6

Dave Zangaro (1-3) 

The Eagles had a few extra days to prepare for what is a really bad Jets team. They were going to be bad even before injuries struck and now they still don’t have their starting quarterback. While the Patriots have a good defense, the Jets’ offense looked completely inept against them two weeks ago. Sure, their defense isn’t bad, but the Eagles should still be able to score enough on them to easily take care of business. The Eagles can’t play around in this one. They have to beat the Jets soundly and move on to their three-game road trip. 

Eagles 27, Jets 13

Derrick Gunn (1-3)

We always hear football players say never take any opponent lightly. I understand that, but this Jets team in a hot M-E-S-S! Their franchise QB Sam Darnold practiced this week but won’t play. As for the Jets’ offense as a whole its ranked last or close to last in just about every category possible. If that’s not bad enough, the Jets’ offense has scored on just two drives all season and mustered 11 points. On the other side of the ball, the defense has scored 22 points on three touchdowns and a safety. The Eagles will attempt to establish a run game similar to what they did in Green Bay, but it won’t come easy against this defensive front. The Jets’ D likes to present multiple fronts, and has allowed only 88.7 yards a game on the ground. The Eagles’ pass rush should be able to equal or better its current three sack total in this game with young Luke Falk under center. The Birds’ secondary added Orlando Scandrick this week, but it’s still far from healthy. This one could be over by halftime. 

Eagles 30, Jets 10

Ray Didinger (2-2) 

There aren't many media members still around who actually covered the first Eagles-Jets game. Merrill Reese and I might be the only ones left who were there on Dec. 9, 1973. Roman Gabriel threw touchdown passes to Don Zimmerman and Harold Carmichael and Johnny Outlaw scored on an interception return as the Eagles defeated the Jets, 24-23.

Ah, Vet Stadium, astroturf, white helmets. Memories, memories.

A lot has changed since then but one thing that hasn't changed is the record. The Eagles have never lost to the Jets in the regular season. The streak now stands at 10-0 and that history isn't likely to change this week. The Jets have one offensive touchdown in three games and the O-line is so bad it almost doesn't matter who is playing quarterback. The Eagles have their issues in the secondary but the Jets don't have the talent to capitalize.

Eagles 34, Jets 13

Andrew Kulp (3-1) 

Seeing as I'm the leader of the pack here, no need to get cute this week. Without Sam Darnold, the Jets are completely overmatched. With Darnold, well, he's still a second-year signal caller who hasn't played or practiced much in a new system since opening day — and it's not an overly talented group around him, either.

I can see the Eagles offense struggling early, because that's what they do, and the one thing the Jets do well is stop the run. But even if they don't manage to cover the spread, this one won't exactly come down to the wire.

Eagles 30, Jets 16

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