Ray Didinger

Eagles-Seahawks 2019 NFC wild-card predictions

Eagles-Seahawks 2019 NFC wild-card predictions

The fourth-seeded Eagles (9-7) are hosting the fifth-seeded Seahawks (11-5) in a Wild Card Round game on Sunday at the Linc. 

To the predictions: 

Reuben Frank (8-8)

A month ago, the Seahawks were 10-2 and had won five straight games and the Eagles were 5-7 and had lost five of their last seven. They were clearly two teams headed in opposite directions. Since then, the Seahawks have lost three of four, the Eagles have won four straight. These are both different teams than they were a month ago, and in the postseason I’m always going to go with the hot team. The Eagles have made their living the last few years playing their best football from December through February, and I don’t see that changing. Carson Wentz has another big game, a bunch of practice squad guys make big plays against a Seahawks defense that’s allowed at least 24 points in five straight games for the first time since 2006, and the Eagles’ defense — best in the league at home — bottles up Russell Wilson enough that the Eagles roll onto the conference semifinal round for a third straight year. 

Eagles 27, Seahawks 23

Dave Zangaro (9-7) 

I know the Eagles haven’t exactly beaten great teams in the last month but they seem to have their swagger back at just the right time. Meanwhile, the Seahawks just lost a heartbreaker and were that close to getting a first-round bye. Now, they have to fly across the country and play one of the hottest teams entering the postseason. Doug Pederson always has his team ready to play late in the season and I’m very excited to see what Carson Wentz will do in his first playoff game. If he plays the way he has the last five weeks, the Eagles should be able to take care of business at home as long as the defense doesn’t get roasted. 

Eagles 24, Seahawks 20 

Derrick Gunn (8-8) 

After Week 13, Seattle was 10-2 and the Eagles 5-7. But so much has changed since these two last saw each other. The similarity has been both squads have been crippled by injuries. The big difference: the Seahawks limped to the finish line, losing 3 of their last 4, while the Eagles closed out on a four-game winning streak. Carson Wentz put an offense filled with rookies, practice squad players and backups on his shoulders and willed them to the playoffs. The defense buckled down and made the necessary plays. Wentz has been much more effective moving outside of the pocket. Young backs Miles Sanders and Boston Scott have given the run game a much needed jolt.

Seattle comes to town down its top three running backs and is hoping Marshawn Lynch can dust off the cobwebs and run like the Marshawn of old. Russell Wilson is still as dangerous as ever and until about a month ago was considered the odds on favorite to win the MVP award. The longer Wilson is upright and bouncing around it will give his favorite targets Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf more opportunities to shake free. Seattle has 55 pass plays of 20 or more yards. Lockett has 15 of them, Metcalf 13. Giving up big pass plays has been the Eagles pass defenses’ Achilles heel.

Brandon Brooks is gone for the season. Question marks remain about the availability of Lane Johnson, Zach Ertz, and Sanders. Seattle’s defense can be run on and passed against. I feel the Seahawks are the perfect test for playoff untested Wentz and his cast of young pass catchers. Eagles got to Wilson six times in Week 12 and getting pressure on the playoff savvy signal caller is going to be huge in terms of getting Seattle’s offense off the field. The Linc will be rocking and the Eagles will roll to a nail biting win.  

Eagles 27, Seahawks 24

Ray Didinger (7-9) 

The Seahawks are 11-5 but they have outscored their opponents by just seven points (405 to 398). They are a winning team, but by the slimmest of margins. They won two games in overtime and two others by one point. On the flip side, they lost three times by double digits including a 27-13 loss to Arizona just two weeks ago.

The Seahawks beat the Eagles at the Linc in November but it was another tight one (17-9) on a day when the Eagles offense — and Carson Wentz in particular — played very poorly. The Eagles turned the ball over five times but they still stayed in the game until Rashaad Penny broke a 58-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.

The Seahawks came into that game hot (they were on a 6-1 roll) and the Eagles were in a funk. Now the Seahawks are sliding (1-3 in their last four games) and the Eagles have won four in a row. Momentum is huge going into the post-season and the Eagles have it.

Eagles 20, Seahawks 17

Andrew Kulp (10-6) 

Momentum is so important in the NFL, and the Eagles have all of it right now. Only three teams enter the postseason with a longer winning streak (Ravens, Packers, Chiefs), while the Seahawks are losers in three of four. Carson Wentz is suddenly playing like an All-Pro again, while Russell Wilson hasn't looked like an MVP-caliber quarterback for the last two months. Both teams are banged up, only the Eagles appear to be getting used to the hand they were dealt and the Seahawks are still scrambling to fill holes or rush guys back.

Like the Cowboys game two weeks ago, if it were merely a matter of talent, I'd probably lean Seattle here. Yet everything I've seen tells me the Eagles are the better *team* at this precise moment in time. Add in homefield advantage and their knack for embracing the underdog role, and it's about time the Eagles snap that five-game losing streak to the Seahawks. Every wild card round, there's one game all the experts get way wrong, and this is going to be it — then it's off to San Francisco.

Eagles 24, Seahawks 21

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Eagles-Cowboys NFL Week 16 predictions 2019

Eagles-Cowboys NFL Week 16 predictions 2019

The Eagles (7-7) host the Cowboys (7-7) in a game that will likely decide the NFC East at Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday afternoon. 

To the predictions: 

Reuben Frank (7-7)

The Eagles are a modestly talented team that always plays hard. The Cowboys are a talented team that sometimes feels like showing up and sometimes doesn’t. Makes it a tricky matchup to predict because you never know which Cowboys team you’ll get. If the Cowboys feel like playing Sunday it’s going to be tough for the Eagles to win. But as impressive as the Cowboys looked against the Rams last weekend, this is a Dallas team that’s won 4 of its last 11 games and has lost to four teams the Eagles beat (Packers, Jets, Bills, Bears). If you jump on them, they’ll stop fighting. If you give them a reason to keep playing, they’ll take it. The way I look at it, this is the Cowboys’ game to lose. The Eagles usually play well at home and will win if they can slow down the Cowboys’ ferocious running attack, make a few big plays on defense and start strong. But the Eagles just rarely do all those things on the same day. This Eagles team will show me a lot if they win. But I’m going … 

Cowboys 30, Eagles 27

Dave Zangaro (8-6) 

I love the way the Eagles fight. I love the way that they never gave up this season and always seemed to give it everything they had for Doug Pederson. But as I watched them scratch and claw to win their last two games against the Giants and Redskins, it’s just clear that they’re not that talented. For as bad as the Cowboys have been this year, they have talent and that talent showed up in their blowout win against the Rams last week. 

I don’t expect the Eagles to get blown out, but I have no reason to pick them in this game. Could they win? Sure. Maybe Dallas implodes, maybe the Eagles finally put together a complete game. It really could happen. I just don’t think it will. 

Cowboys 27, Eagles 20 

Derrick Gunn (7-7)

It has been a long, frustrating, injury-plagued season for the Eagles. Thanks to the Cowboys’ bumbling and stumbling along the way, it has allowed the Eagles to still be relevant heading in this huge Week 16 showdown. Carson Wentz has had to get comfortable in a hurry with Greg Ward Jr., Josh Perkins, and Robert Davis. Miles Sanders has been more than adequate out of the backfield and Boston Scott has been a nice complement. As for the Eagles’ defensive performance, it has tailed off considerably in recent weeks, getting little pressure on QBs and pass coverage has been frightening. The Dolphins, Giants, and Redskins each had a receiver catch at least 130 yards worth of passes.

The Cowboys finally woke up this past Sunday and demolished the Rams. Dak Prescott is dealing with a shoulder injury but says he will be good to go against the Eagles. The Birds must find a way to contain Ezekiel Elliott, which is easier said than done. In five career games against Philadelphia, Zeke has averaged just under 30 touches, 163 yards from scrimmage, and he’s yet to lose to the Birds. If Elliott gets going on the ground, it opens up the play-action for Prescott to look for Amari Cooper (1,073 yds, 15.1 ypc), Michael Gallup (911 yds, 16.3 ypc) and Randall Cobb (647 yds, 15.0 ypc). Jason Witten, who’s almost old enough to collect social security, still finds a way to get open and young TE Blake Jarwin has become another viable offensive option. The Boys have 61 pass plays of 20-plus yards. Also, let us not forget about RB Tony Pollard, who is a nice change of pace from Elliott. He is averaging 5.6 yards per carry.

The Eagles abundance of injuries may be just too much to overcome this time. They will fight to the end, but Dallas will slip out of town with a win and put an end to the Eagles’ playoff hopes.

Cowboys 30, Eagles 10 

Ray Didinger (6-8) 

I'd like to tell you I know what's going to happen Sunday but that would be a lie. I have no idea what to expect from the Eagles and I have no idea what to expect from the Cowboys. They have been that unpredictable all season. The Eagles won back to back games in dramatic fashion but they beat two lousy teams, the Giants and Redskins. Does this mean they have momentum? Twice this season the Eagles had back-to-back wins and each time they lost the next week. So much for momentum.

The Cowboys opened the season with three straight wins and looked very impressive then they lost three in a row and looked awful in the process. Then they pummeled the Eagles and Giants and people got back on the bandwagon. Oops, they lost four of the next five and the axe was poised over coach Jason Garrett's red head. Then last Sunday they crush the Rams, 44-21, in their best performance of the year. So what are we to think?

Here's what we know. The Linc will be full and very noisy on Sunday. We also know the Cowboys have won six of their last seven games at the Linc. We also know Zeke Elliott is 5-0 in games against the Eagles and the Eagles allowed opponents 4.6 yards per rush in the last eight games. Dak Prescott has a sore shoulder but he can still hand off.

Cowboys 24, Eagles 21

Andrew Kulp (8-6) 

There isn't a question, given all the injuries the Eagles sustained this season, the Cowboys are the more talented team right now. I would no doubt pick Dallas to win if it weren't for one thing:

Dak Prescott's injury.

Sure, he'll probably play -- but how effectively? If he's been unable to throw all week, why would he miraculously be OK on Sunday? And there are some compelling reasons to believe the injury is even more prohibitive than reported.

The Eagles still need to stop Ezekiel Elliott, but the defense hasn't surrendered more than 17 points at home since September. Which means as long as Carson Wentz and his ragtag supporting cast continue scoring — though certainly not a given — a win is within reach.

Eagles 28, Cowboys 24

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Eagles-Giants NFL Week 14 predictions 2019

Eagles-Giants NFL Week 14 predictions 2019

The Eagles (5-7) host the Giants (2-10) at Lincoln Financial Field on Monday night. 

To the predictions: 

Reuben Frank (5-7) 
I’m really reluctant to pick the Eagles to beat anybody right now. I have no reason to have faith in this coach, these players, this staff. But then I look at the Giants and they’re way worse than the Dolphins. I don’t think it helps the Eagles that Eli Manning is back, even though he’s been brutal for years against the Eagles. But he's got a better chance to come into the Linc and win a game than a 22-year-old kid who has two career wins.

What Monday night will show all of us is whether the Eagles have mailed it in or if they still have a shred of fight in them. We know the Cowboys have mailed it in. Somebody has to win the NFC East, unless commisioner Roger Goodell just decides to vacate it and add another wild-card team. Probably won’t happen, although if I were the commish I would.

So against my better judgment I’ll pick the Eagles. But at this point, nothing would surprise me.

Eagles 27, Giants 26

Dave Zangaro (6-6) 
Let’s start by making this clear: The Eagles could lose any remaining game on their schedule. I just don’t think they’re gonna lose this one. The Giants are a mess and even with Manning, I’m not expecting that to change. And then there’s the fact that the Eagles have owned Manning and the Giants over the last few years. In fact, the Eagles are 9-1 against the Giants in the last five years. They’ve even won the last five games between the two teams. But four of those five wins have been close games, so I’m not about to predict a blowout. Still, I expect the Eagles to be tied with the Cowboys atop the NFC East on Tuesday morning. 

Eagles 24, Giants 20 

Derrick Gunn (5-7) 
Shocked is the best way to describe what happened to the Eagles down in Miami. The offense came to life, moved the ball effectively and put up 31 points. Then there’s the defense that we had applauded for holding four previous opponents to 17 points or fewer having a complete meltdown and giving up 37 points to one of the worst offenses in the league. If losing wasn’t bad enough, players and the head coach Doug Pederson said in unison “they wanted it more than we did.” So here they stand two games below sea level and fighting for their playoff lives.

The Giants are just as bad as the Dolphins on both sides of the ball. The Eagles’ defense was planning on getting an up-close-and-personal look at Daniel Jones, but he’s injured which means Manning has been dusted off and called into active duty. But wait there’s more: both TE Evan Engram and WR Golden Tate are expected to be healthy enough to return as well. If that happens, Tate, Engram, Sterling Shepard and Saquon Barkley would all be on the field together for the first time this season.

The Birds have owned Manning in recent years (Manning 1-9 in last 10 meetings with Eagles). This matchup makes me nervous. Manning could want to make a strong showing for a future employer. Will the Giants rally around their former leader? Which Eagles defense will show up? Despite the records, it’s a division battle, but at least the Birds have this one at home. 

Eagles 28, Giants 21

Ray Didinger (4-8) 
It was interesting that the point spread went up when it was announced that Manning would be starting for the Giants on Monday. Has it reached the point where bettors think a rookie, Jones, gives the Giants a better chance to win than a two-time Super Bowl MVP? Wow. 

Anyway, the Eagles were favored by eight but it went up to nine when the Giants announced Manning would start. I think the Giants saw Jones throw three picks Sunday against Green Bay (that's 21 turnovers for him this season) and decided the kid needed to sit for a week or so just to clear his head. Eight straight losses can wreck a young quarterback's confidence. They probably wanted to give Manning a chance at a curtain call anyway.

With Manning at quarterback, there will be a lot of dump offs to Barkley. He caught 91 of them last season when Manning was checking it down all the time. This year with Jones taking over Barkley has just 38 receptions. It is a dramatic difference. So Barkley will get a big work load, rushing and receiving, but it won't spell the difference. Big day for Carson Wentz against a woeful Giants defense.

Eagles 28, Giants 14

Andrew Kulp (6-6) 
I said it last week (while wrongly picking the Eagles), but it's not a given they will win this or any other game for the remainder of the season. That's just the reality of the situation.

That being said, while I might've been tempted to pick the Giants with Jones under center, picking the Giants led by Manning is a different story. Don't get me wrong, I can totally imagine a scenario in which Manning torches the dynamic duo of Jalen Mills and Ronald Darby — I just don't find it incredibly likely.

Manning stinks against the Eagles, stinks at Lincoln Financial Field, and really stinks against the Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field in primetime. I'll take my chances on the Birds here.

Eagles 34, Giants 15

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