GAME PREDICTIONS

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Game predictions | Bills vs. Eagles in Week 8

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The Eagles' three-game road swing is shaping up as a season-crushing disaster if they can't win in Buffalo. If they can't stop the run and play mediocre up front on offense, what is their identity? Philadelphia keeps cutting players a day after starting them (Zach Brown, Orlando Scandrick) and benching once-promising options like Sidney Jones. These are signs of a team in tumult. Facing Josh Allen should help the Eagles' sagging secondary, although the Bills have done a credible job staying aggressive with the pass despite Allen's uneven play. Allen's running ability also helps the Bills stay second in red-zone touchdown percentage. This is a coin-flip game ...

Philadelphia Eagles 20, Buffalo Bills 19

Charles: Bills

I'd rather bet on the team that didn't just give up 37-plus points in their past two contests, even though I'm now backing the team that kept it a little too close against the Dolphins.

Steven: Bills

Buffalo has one of the best-coached defenses in the NFL, and I don't know if we can say the same about the Eagles right now. The Bills win a close one thanks to two Josh Allen rushing touchdowns.

What to watch for: Philadelphia allows the sixth-most passing yards per game in the NFL, but Buffalo's passing game ranks 21st. It's yet to be seen which team is more capable of exploiting the other's weakness, but the Eagles can't afford to get into a multiple-score deficit against an elite Bills defense. -- Marcel Louis-Jacques

Bold prediction: Carson Wentz will throw three touchdown passes against that tough Buffalo defense, and Eagles cornerback Jalen Mills, in his second game back from a foot injury, will create a turnover. -- Tim McManus

McManus' pick: Eagles 23, Bills 17

Louis-Jacques' pick: Bills 20, Eagles 14

The Bills are riding high at 5-1, while the Eagles have lost two straight and are playing a third consecutive road game. That's always tough to do. Philly isn't playing well on defense, while the Bills are good on that side. That matters. Bills take it. 

Pick: Bills 21, Eagles 17

The Eagles are desperate to save their season, and the Bills just got away with sloppy play against the Dolphins, especially defensively. Carson Wentz will rebound with gritty passing and running. Josh Allen, who's often compared to the Eagles QB, doesn't have the weapons to consistently burn the Eagles' pass defense. Doug Pederson will outwit former Eagles defensive coordinator Sean McDermott in a field-goal game.

Pick: Eagles win 26-23.

As The Athletic's Matthew Fairburn pointed out recently, Josh Allen has really struggled with the deep ball. He is currently 0-for-10 on passes that have traveled 30 yards or more from the line of scrimmage. The good news for Allen is he's getting an Eagles defense that is susceptible to the deep pass (and the middle pass and the short pass and misdirection runs). I wrote in-depth about the Eagles earlier this week. As they showed a few weeks ago against the Packers, when they're on they can compete against pretty much anyone. The problem is it's impossible to figure out when that team is going to show up. They've gone 13-12 in 25 games since winning the Super Bowl.

The pick: Bills (-1.5)

Buffalo's defense is holding opponents to 1.1 points per drive this season, third behind the only two undefeated teams in the NFL, the Patriots and 49ers. The Bills force opponents to go three-and-out 40 percent of the time, again, behind only the 49ers and Patriots. And opposing quarterbacks only muster a 70.3 passer rating against Buffalo this season, third in the NFL behind, you guessed it, New England and San Francisco.

Philadelphia, meanwhile, has suffered two defeats in the last two weeks to the tune of a 75-30 point differential, and both of its past two opponents (the Packers and Cowboys) ranked in the top 10 in points allowed per drive.

Pick: Buffalo Bills -1½

The Eagles (3-4) have lost consecutive road games, managing just 10 points against Dallas and 20 against Minnesota, neither of which has a defense as sturdy as the Bills (5-1). Philadelphia has more offensive firepower than Buffalo does, but with game conditions in Orchard Park expected to be cool and rainy, the home team — which can run the ball effectively with its choice of Devin Singletary, Frank Gore or even the team's quarterback, Josh Allen — should be expected to grind things out. 

Pick: Bills -1.5

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