Philadelphia Eagles (5-8) vs. Baltimore Ravens (7-6)
Sunday, 1:00 pm ET at M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore
Spread: Baltimore -5.5
Last week against Washington, the Philadelphia Eagles showed some fight, but still lost to a team that was better than theirs. While it may be frustrating for fans to watch their team lose, losing the way the Eagles did against Washington is far preferable to losing the way they did against Cincinnati. The Eagles lost their longsnapper and their backup longsnapper, they were paper-thin at offensive line, and their only dynamic offensive player – Darren Sproles – was damn-near decapitated on a brutal cheap shot as he attempted to field a punt. Despite all of that (and rookies QB and coach, bad WRs, etc.), the Birds didn’t give up and played hard until the final fumble. That’s really all you can ask of a team constituted as the Eagles currently are.
As the Eagles face a tough Baltimore defense and an
elite Super-Bowl-winning quarterback in Joe Flacco, the odds are once again stacked against them. This doesn’t mean there’s no reason to watch, however. The “moral victory” is a defense mechanism for players and fans of bad teams and, sadly, that include the Eagles this year. Let’s see how Carson Wentz handles pressure on the road. Let’s watch for Dorial Green-Beckham or Bryce Treggs or future-Hall-of-Famer Paul Turner to show any reason why they should be on this team next season. Let’s see if Jim Schwartz‘s defense can put together a gameplan that puts those highly-paid defensive linemen in position to disrupt the quarterback. All of these can help us look toward the future and determine how close the Eagles may be to contending, and who should be left off the current team in that pursuit.
As we await kickoff, here are the predictions from the football minds here at Pattison Avenue and what we’ll be watching throughout the game – please follow and harangue them on twitter dot com:
I’m looking for the little wins, today: Zach Ertz fighting for yardage after contact, Wentz going through his progressions, Nelson Agholor not dropping the football, etc. The Ravens are hardly an offensive juggernaut, averaging just 21.5 points-per-game. They lost the Jets, for crying out loud, anything is possible! If the Birds defense holds up, the Eagles have a shot, but I expect the Ravens to win, though not cover the spread. Ravens 24-20
Let me just put this out there: the Eagles are going to get rolled today. I don’t want it to happen. You don’t want it to happen. They don’t want it to happen. But, it’s going to happen. Nothing in this game today will be favoring the Eagles. The Eagles are on the road. Bad. They are playing the Ravens, who boast one of the top defenses in the NFL. Bad. The Ravens got boatraced by the Patriots last week, so they are going to play angry. Bad. The Ravens need to win to keep their playoff hopes alive. Bad. And I haven’t even gotten into the Eagles injuries. Sorry kids, but I’ll take Baltimore and the give the points. Ravens, 31-10
How do I not love the 2017 Philadelphia Eagles?
Let me count the ways:
Rookie Head Coach and QB; Patchwork Offensive line; 2nd, 3rd string and practice squad Running Backs; Wide Receivers who either can’t get open or catch the ball; Tight Ends who can’t fight for the extra yard; Defense playing well below the expectations of their multiple Pro Bowl caliber players- I am quickly running out of fingers.
About the only thing I do like about these birds are the Special Teams – even with a new long snapper in the well traveled Rick Lovato Jr. – who seem the be the only squad that does not have visions of golf games dancing in their heads. That will help, but is not enough to win games in the NFL.
None of the above bodes well against the Baltimore Ravens whose Defense is ranked 4th in the NFL, 1st against the run. This is not a good team to execute Doug Pederson‘s stated goal to take some pressure off Carson Wentz by running the ball more. The inconsistent and lately sack deficient defense will also be tested by a Joe Flacco led team that likes to throw the ball early and often. The Ravens are 28th in the NFL rushing and have only 301 attempts, 4th lowest in the league. Baltimore at 7-6 and one game out of 1st in the AFC North still have something to play for. Ravens 21-13.
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