The Bengals (+4.5) and Eagles (-4.5) are set to face off in a battle of the hapless tomorrow at Lincoln Financial Field. Cincinnati is coming off a tough loss to the Cleveland Browns, while the Eagles are still trying to rebound from embarrassing losses to the Football Team and LA Rams. The Eagles are in desperate need of a win. Should they lose Sunday they will fall to 0-3 with a stretch of the 49ers, Steelers, and Ravens looming on the horizon. They have not started 0-3 since 1999–the first year Andy Reid was head coach–and Doug Pederson was QB. I don’t want to think about the state of mind the fan base will be in if they lose. These are my things to watch for tomorrow:
1.) Can Carson Wentz Not Stink?- Carson Wentz has to be the guy tomorrow. If he plays a clean game I think the Birds can win going away. However, that is a big if at this point. I personally like Wentz to rebound tomorrow, but the pressure is mounting. He got publicly clowned by Colin Cowherd for not being a suitable face of a franchise, and the QB position in Philadelphia is certainly a primary topic of conversation in the national media—not to mention there will be plenty of fans calling for Jalen Hurts if Wentz plays poorly. This could be a crossroads game for the QB and team. Carson needs to get out of his head and play football the way he is capable of.
2.) Joe Burrow- The Bengals come to town with their young superstar in the making Joe Burrow, Mr.Cool himself. While Burrow is brimming with talent, he is still inexperienced. I am interested to see how he plays in a desperation game like this, hopefully, for the Eagles, it all doesn’t come together tomorrow for the former LSU standout. We don’t need Joe strutting around like the Fonz out there.
3.) The Defenses: The defenses of both teams were pretty awful last week. The Eagles got put in HELL by Sean McVay’s pre-snap motions. Jim Schwartz said he came up with a stinky gameplan, and Tyler Higbee sent Nate Gerry into the shadow realm. The Eagles need to clean up their communication in the secondary, as they just look flat-out lost at times. There still is a lot of talent in this unit, and I think they will have a breakout game of sorts against an inefficient offense. The Bengals meanwhile put up little resistance against Cleveland last week, and they will be without DT’s Geno Atkins and Mike Daniels tomorrow. This certainly will not help their maligned run defense, which is letting up the 5th most yards per rushing attempt this season. I foresee Miles Sanders having a huge day on the ground tomorrow.
The Philly sports cynic in me wants to pick against the Birds tomorrow, but the rational part of my brain says they win. I don’t like them to cover the spread, -4.5 is bonkers for a team struggling this bad. However, I could see them winning a close one.
Prediction: Eagles 27-24