The Philadelphia Eagles are spiraling into the ground. They’ll have trouble beating the NFL odds this Sunday against Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals.
Cincinnati Bengals vs. Philadelphia Eagles
Sunday, September 27, 2020 – 01:00 PM EDT at Lincoln Financial Field
At least we recommended a small bet. The Philadelphia Eagles did us dirty last week, dropping a 37-19 decision to the Los Angeles Rams as 2-point home faves on the NFL odds board. That was after a big pile of late money moved the line from Philly +1, so again, at least we got some value. But man, the Eagles were brutal.
Maybe we should applaud the Rams instead – they look like the real deal again. However, the Eagles also lost to the Washington Football Club in Week 1, and the Football Club got smoked 30-15 by the Arizona Cardinals (–7.5 at home) in Week 2. I wonder if the projections will show any betting value for the Cincinnati Bengals this Sunday at The Linc. Big bucks no whammies, big bucks no whammies...
There Will Be Math
Maybe? The Bengals are +5.5 at Heritage, which is exactly where FiveThirtyEight have this bad boy, and about one point short of Jeff Sagarin’s projection of Cincinnati +6.57. But that’s using Sagarin’s Rating numbers; his Week 3 eigenvector analysis has the Bengals almost even with Philly at +0.33. I’m guessing that recent results weigh more heavily using the latter method. I don’t know – I mean, we all know that eigenvectors aren’t rotated within multidimensional vector spaces, but stats are not my bag, baby.
Speaking of recent results, only one of these teams is supposed to be rebuilding. This is the first year of the Zac Taylor-Joe Burrow Era in Cincinnati; they’re still winless after two weeks, but the Bengals have broken even at 1-1 ATS, and they’ve outperformed Philadelphia (0-2 SU and ATS) both on paper and at the bank. Football Outsiders have the Eagles last in the league in efficiency heading into Week 3, five spots behind Cincinnati.
Whatever hopes the Eagles had for 2020, they’re being forced to rebuild on the fly. The injury list is long, especially on the offensive line, and it got even longer yesterday when LG Isaac Seumalo (knee) was put on injured reserve. Philadelphia scored just three second-half points against the Rams after Seumalo left the game. Yeesh. Oh, and WR Jalen Reagor (thumb), Philly’s first-round pick at No. 21 overall, just landed on IR as I was writing this. Double yeesh.
Naturally, there’s more media focus on QB Carson Wentz than the holes on the offensive line. It’s not entirely fair to Wentz, but he is dead-last among the 34 qualifying quarterbacks on the passing DVOA charts at Football Outsiders. Burrow ranks No. 29; while the Heisman winner has plenty of room to grow, at least he’s getting league-average pass protection from his teammates.
Unfortunately for the Bengals, Burrow won’t have tight end C.J. Uzomah to throw at on Sunday. Quietly one of Cincy’s better players last year, Uzomah tore his Achilles during last week’s 35-30 loss to the Cleveland Browns (–6 at home). That doesn’t help our NFL picks much if we’re going to put our faith in the Bengals. But let’s dial it up for a small sum, and may the prolate spheroid be with you.
My Pick: Bengals +5.5 (–105) at Heritage (visit our Heritage Review)