Ray Didinger

Eagles-Seahawks NFL Week 12 predictions 2019

Eagles-Seahawks NFL Week 12 predictions 2019

The Eagles (5-5) host the Seahawks (8-2) on Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field.

To the predictions:

Reuben Frank (4-6)

There was a 38-0 loss at the Vet in 1998, the fifth-worst opening-day loss in NFL history. There was a 42-0 loss at the Linc in 2005 on the night the Eagles retired Reggie White’s number. Those happen to be the Eagles’ two worst home losses in the last 44 years. Here come the Seahawks to Philly again, and while this one won’t be a blowout ultimately the result will be the same as the last four Eagles-Seahawks meetings. A loss. The Eagles haven’t beaten the Seahawks since 2008 (Donovan McNabb over Seneca Wallace), and they haven’t beaten them here since 1989 (Randall Cunningham over Dave Krieg). I like the way the Eagles’ defense is playing, but Russell Wilson is having an MVP-caliber season, and the combination of too much Wilson and a lackluster offense against a mediocre Seahawks defense makes this a tough one.

Seahawks 23, Eagles 16

Dave Zangaro (5-5)

Coming into this two-game stretch, I thought the Eagles had a better shot at beating the Patriots than they did against the Seahawks. Even after the loss to New England, I still feel that way. So that doesn’t bode well for the Eagles. They have never beaten Russell Wilson and now he’s playing the best football in his life. Sure, this Seahawks’ defense isn’t nearly as good as New England’s but I just don’t have confidence in the Eagles’ offense right now. I think it’ll be closer than some other recent games against Seattle, but I don’t think the Eagles will win against a Seahawks team that has been very good in close games this year.

Seahawks 27, Eagles 24

Derrick Gunn (4-6)

Hopefully, the Eagles learned from their mistakes against New England. When you get a good team down, find a way to keep them down. Injuries are hurting the Birds on offense. Lane Johnson could be out because of a concussion. Jordan Howard, Alshon Jeffery, and even Nelson Agholor are nicked up. Hopefully, the addition of Jay Ajayi will give their run game a jolt. The Birds’ defense has played much better since the return of Jalen Mills, Ronald Darby, and Avonte Maddox. Now Nigel Bradham is back after missing the last four games.

All the Eagles’ defense has to do is find a way to corral Russell Wilson which is easier said than done. All Wilson is doing is having an MVP campaign. He is Houdini in cleats, and the longer he’s scrambling around the more likely he is to find one of his targets. His favorite target Tyler Lockett, who suffered a shin bruise Week 10 against the 49ers, is expected to play. Then there’s DK Metcalf, Josh Gordon, and Jaron Brown to chase around. Chris Carson leads a very effective Seahawks ground attack. The Birds can run on this Hawks defense but they have to stay committed to it. Carson Wentz will be under the microscope once again in a big-time game. It’s not like Seattle has been dominating opponents. Seven of their eight wins have been by a combined 24 points. The Eagles have never beaten Wilson. Maybe one day they will, but not this time.

Seahawks 27, Eagles 20

Ray Didinger (4-6)

Does anyone else find it odd that the Eagles are favored in this game? Why would that be? The Seahawks are 8-2, coming off a huge win over the 49ers and a bye week. They are unbeaten on the road (5-0) and their only two losses are to Baltimore and New Orleans who might just be the best two teams in the league.

So why are the 5-5 Eagles favored to beat them? Yes, the game is at the Linc but this isn't 2017 when the Eagles were bulletproof at home. This season they have already lost home games to a mediocre Lions team and the Patriots on a day when Tom Brady didn't throw a touchdown pass. I thought the Eagles could pull off the upset last week and they had their chances but couldn't get it done.

I can only assume there are people who see this as a "desperate team playing at home" scenario so they are betting it that way. I just think the Eagles are due to play a good game and the Seahawks who have won a lot of close ones including two in a row in overtime are due to lose one.

Eagles 23, Seahawks 20

Andrew Kulp (6-4)

The Eagles have never been particularly close to beating Russell Wilson in three tries, and at age 30, he's having without a doubt his best season to date (take note, Wentz bashers -- quarterbacks improve with experience!)

Yet, oddly enough, the banged up 5-5 Eagles are favored ever so slightly against an 8-2 opponent with a legitimate MVP under center. I have two thoughts on this. First, home field advantage is huge here, as west coast teams with 1 p.m. east coast kickoffs are at a huge disadvantage, losing something like two-thirds of said match-ups. And second, quite simply, the Seahawks defense is subpar.

It crossed my mind I might be the only person picking the Eagles here, so I'm risking my lead in the standings here. But the defense has been improved of late and could give the Seahawks offense fits, especially early when they're still on west coast time, while for all the grief Wentz is getting for last week, he should be able to guide the offense down the field a few times against this crew.

Eagles 26, Seahawks 23

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Eagles-Patriots NFL Week 11 predictions 2019

Eagles-Patriots NFL Week 11 predictions 2019

The Eagles (5-4) host the Patriots (8-1) on Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field. 

To the predictions: 

Reuben Frank (4-5) 
There are two things the Eagles have to do if they're going to have any chance of beating the Patriots Sunday. They have to be able to run the ball effectively throughout — let's say 40 times for 160 yards will do it — and they're going to have to pressure Tom Brady consistently. Even if Jordan Howard can't play, I think the Eagles can run the ball effectively. The Patriots are allowing an NFL-worst 5.6 yards per carry over the last six weeks, and teams have been running at will against them.

The only run defense the Patriots really have is building a big early lead, and I don't think that'll happen Sunday because the Eagles have been better early in games recently and the Eagles are generally much better defensively at home. The Eagles have the second-most sacks in the NFL over the last five games, and they're ninth in rushing over the same span. Harrass Brady and pound the rock. That's the magic formula. 

Eagles 23, Patriots 20

Dave Zangaro (4-5) 
I initially wanted to pick the Eagles in this game because I do think it’s winnable. I really do think the Patriots’ 8-1 record is inflated by the competition they’ve faced. And if the Eagles were healthier, I would have picked them. I still think the Eagles’ defense will be able to hold the Patriots in check, but I have no confidence that the Birds will be able to score. Alshon Jeffery is out, which means the Patriots can focus all their energy on taking Zach Ertz out of the game. And initially I thought this was going to be a Howard game and now his status is in question. It wouldn’t shock me if the Eagles pull off the upset, but there’s too much evidence that tells me they won’t. 

Patriots 17, Eagles 13

Derrick Gunn (3-6)
Both teams are coming off byes and are well-rested. The Eagles are riding a two-game high. The Patriots are still seething from being embarrassed by the Ravens in Baltimore. A ticked-off New England squad, plus Bill Belichick having extra time to fix the problems on his team and preparing for what’s to come is not good for the opposition.

Unfortunately for the Eagles, they enter this showdown shorthanded. Darren Sproles is done for the year with a torn hip flexor muscle. Jeffery has an ankle injury and isn’t expected to play in this game. Plus, Howard has a shoulder issue and is questionable. The big question for the Birds is can they establish their run game against the Patriots similar to what they did previously against two good run defenses Buffalo and Chicago? 

The Eagles cannot turn the ball over. The Patriots are No. 1 in the league in takeaways with 27. Two of their 19 INTs have been returned for touchdowns and so has one fumble recovery. Can the Eagles’ defense, still without Nigel Bradham, contain Brady? The Patriots don’t get much production from their tight end position. The Pats’ four tight ends combined have just 18 catches for 242 yards and one touchdown. And their running game has been lethargic. Doug Pederson is 1-0 vs. Brady/Belichick, but this time it doesn’t look good.

Patriots 27, Eagles 23

Ray Didinger (4-5) 
I know what the numbers say and they say never pick against the Patriots, especially when they are coming off a loss (they are 44-8 in that role since 2002) and when Belichick has two weeks to prepare. He is 14-5 off the bye as the Patriots coach. Plus they are the Patriots and they just know how to win.

So why do I think the Eagles can pull this off? Am I having flashbacks to Super Bowl LII or something? Maybe a little. But I do think the Pats' 8-1 record is a bit inflated by playing a lot of lousy teams and when they faced Baltimore they got rolled. The Ravens exposed some cracks in the Patriots' No. 1-ranked defense and while Carson Wentz isn't Lamar Jackson he is mobile enough to give New England problems.

I don't see the Patriots running the ball against the Eagles — Sony Michel is averaging just 3.3 yards per carry — so Brady will be in shotgun all day. If the Eagles' pass rush, which has reappeared lately, can get some pressure on the Patriots' quarterback and throw off the timing of their passing game, I look for the home team to hang in this one and steal it late.

Call me crazy but ...

Eagles 27, Patriots 24

Andrew Kulp (6-3) 
The Patriots are 8-1, boast the top scoring defense in the NFL — allowing 10.9 points per game — the No. 2 scoring offense, and the best turnover differential by eight! Practically sounds like one of the best squads ever assembled.

Except their eight wins have come against opponents with a combined 24-51 record (only the Bills are above .500, and even the Eagles beat them), including five teams with two wins or less. And the Pats have beaten those five teams by a combined score of 174-35 with a plus-10 turnover differential, which really has those rankings in the previous paragraph out of whack.

The Patriots are a good team with an opportunistic defense and a quarterback who knows how to get the ball in the hands of his playmakers. But they aren't some impenetrable force because they can knock off Washington or the Jets (even the Eagles did that, too.)

I could into greater detail busting New England down a peg, though the fact is the Patriots are the reigning Super Bowl champs, they'll be back in the playoffs this year and likely with a first-round bye. By no means do I believe the Eagles, who have their own problems, will whip this team. But they're home, unafraid of the Patriot mystique, and I've got a nice lead in these standings here, so what the heck, I'm taking the Birds.

Eagles 23, Patriots 21

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Eagles-Bears NFL Week 9 predictions 2019

Eagles-Bears NFL Week 9 predictions 2019

The Eagles (4-4) host the Bears (3-4) on Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field. 

To the predictions: 

Reuben Frank (3-5) 
Everything is in place for the Eagles to handle the Bears and get to 5-4 going into the bye. Which considering everything wouldn’t be the worst place in the world.

They’re finally back home. They’re facing a team that’s lost three straight games, a team that’s scored just 11 offensive touchdowns in seven games — three in three games against winning teams — and has some serious quarterback issues.

The Bears do have the No. 7 defense in the league, but they also have the No. 30 offense and it’s not going to take a ton of points to win this one. I feel like with the people the Eagles are getting back and being back at the Linc and building on Sunday in Buffalo, the Eagles take care of business Sunday and go into the bye with a win.

Eagles 23, Bears 13 

Dave Zangaro (3-5)
The Eagles showed me something last week, going on the road and taking down the Bills in less-than-ideal conditions. I still don’t really know how good they are, but I think they’re better than the team that will be visiting from Chicago.

For as much as we’ve talked about the kicker in Chicago after the Double-Doink, their real problem is at quarterback. The Bears could have had Patrick Mahomes or Deshaun Watson. Instead, they ended up with Mitchell Trubisky and in his third season, that seems like a mistake.

The Bears’ defense is still good, but the takeaways haven’t been there and I just can’t see Trubisky leading the Bears into the Linc and taking a win. 

Eagles 24, Bears 17

Derrick Gunn (2-6) 
As mediocre as the Eagles’ season has been, at least they’re not the Bears. Chicago, which lost only four regular-season games in 2018 and won the NFC North, has already lost that many in seven outings and is bringing up the rear in that division.

The Bears' defensive stats this season, for the most part, are very similar to the impressive numbers they put up a year ago. But the offense has been a major problem. 

It appears the fan base is growing frustrated with head coach Matt Nagy and Trubisky. Some in Chi-town are even starting to wonder out loud if Chase Daniel could give them a better chance of winning games. Their current three-game losing streak only adds to the frustration.

The Birds have limped through injuries, but help may be on the way. DeSean Jackson finally practiced this week (limited participation) and so did Tim Jernigan and Darren Sproles. Avonte Maddox was a full participant for the first time since injuring his neck and suffering a concussion in Green Bay.

The Birds were impressive running the ball against a good Buffalo defense and will try to impose their will again on a stout Bears defensive front.

The defense has to get pressure on whoever steps under center for Chicago. Keep your fingers crossed that some of the Birds' key walking wounded are in uniform on Sunday. The Eagles already have four conference losses and can't afford another right now, especially heading into their bye week.

The home team won’t need the help of a Double-Doink this time.  

Eagles 24, Bears 16 

Ray Didinger (3-5) 
The Bears remind me of the Bills: A team with a good defense and a young quarterback who is still trying to find his way. If anything, Trubisky looks more confused than Josh Allen. The fans in Chicago are calling for Daniel which should tell you all you need to know. Offensively, they rank with the Jets, the Dolphins, the Redskins, the worst of the worst.

Defensively, the Bears do a good job keeping their opponents out of the end zone and Khalil Mack is a pass rushing force that must be accounted for. Lane Johnson did a good job on him in the playoffs last season but I'm sure the Bears will flip Mack over to the other side to test rookie Andre Dillard, who played well in a starting role last week.

I'm sure Jordan Howard is motivated to have a big game against his former team. If I were Doug Pederson, I'd feed him the ball early and often this week.

Eagles 23, Bears 14

Andrew Kulp (5-3) 
I don't think we know what the Eagles are yet — they're getting healthy, and the schedule eases up significantly in a few weeks — but it seems pretty clear the Bears are a mess again. Trubisky has either not taken a step forward or regressed, Nagy's coaching decisions are only compounding the issues with the offense, and the defense is good but not save-the-season good this time.

Sure, it's a revenge game, so one would expect the Bears to at least play with some intensity. I'm not sure the confidence is there though, and even if the team shows up, it still needs to find a way to score 20 with Trubisky at the helm. I just don't see that happening at the Linc this week.

Eagles 27, Bears 17

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