Friday, July 3, 2015

Eagles-Bills predictions and key matchups

Here are our weekly predictions for the Eagles game. The Eagles travel to Western New York to face the Buffalo Bills at 1 p.m.

Eagles-Bills predictions and key matchups

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How will Jamar Chaney, top, stop Fred Jackson? (Ron Cortes/Staff Photographer)
How will Jamar Chaney, top, stop Fred Jackson? (Ron Cortes/Staff Photographer)

Here are our weekly predictions for the Eagles game. The Eagles travel to Western New York to face the Buffalo Bills at 1 p.m.

LES BOWEN

First off, after the last 2 weeks, I'm not picking the Eagles to cover as favorites against anybody.

Last week was a must-win, which makes this week a must-must win. You read here a week ago how no team that made the playoffs last season started out 1-3, and no Andy Reid Eagles playoff team ever started out 1-3. But some odd things are happening and will happen in this year of the lockout. The season isn't over. Yet.

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The Bills are 3-1 despite allowing more first downs and yards than they've achieved and converting a lower percentage of third downs than their opponents. How are they winning? A plus-seven turnover differential and an 83-44 second-half scoring edge, both of which the Eagles would love to have.

I don't think the Bills are a 4-1 team and I don't think the Eagles are a 1-4 team. That's about the extent of my logic. I'm not ready for the official declaration of a disaster area. I don't even want to have to look up the last time somebody went 1-4 and made the playoffs. I just want something new to write, other than fourth-quarter collapse and impending doom.

Prediction: Eagles 30, Bills 28

VEGAS VIC

So, you're a little confused. The Birds (1-3) head north to Buffalo (3-1), and the road team with a three-game losing streak is the favorite. What? Apparently, the oddsmakers still believe in the Eagles and Mike Vick, while they have reservations about the young Buffalo team. The betting public loves to play the Birds, and coming in on an 0-3 run, in an early almost must-win situation, they'll get a giant bundle of action. And when folks start to do their research, they'll find these powerful numbers. The Eagles know how to do it, the winning thing on the road, grabbing nine W's in the last 13 games away from home. Speaking of the road, the Birds have gone over in seven of their last eight. If Alex Henery makes a few FGs, it should be a very happy ride back home.

Predictions: Eagles, 28-24

OTHER PREDICTIONS

Paul Domowitch: Bills, 37-32

Ed Barkowitz: Bills, 31-30

Bill Conlin: Bills, 24-17

Marcus Hayes: Bills, 24-20

John Smallwood: Eagles, 24-20

DOMO'S KEY MATCHUPS

1. Eagles MLB Jamar Chaney vs. Bills RB Fred Jackson: Chaney is coming off a poor performance vs. 49ers. Jackson is averaging 5.8 yards per carry. Advantage: Bills

2. Eagles WRs DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin vs. Bills CBs Drayton Florence and Leodis McKelvin: Florence is subbing for injured Terrence McGee. Jackson and Maclin combined for 13 catches for 245 yards last week vs. SF. Advantage: Eagles

3. Eagles C Jason Kelce vs. Bills NT Kyle Williams: Kelce is a rookie. Williams is one of the league's best interior d-linemen. Advantage: Bills

**

So, who's more angry. The Eagles have been shut out in the fourth quarter the last three weeks. the surprising Bills lost for the first time last week, falling to the Bengals, in a game they should they should have won.

"We're both angry and that's going to make for a great game," Buffalo wide receiver Stevie Johnson told reporters. "We feel like we should've won (last week in Cincinnati). They're supposedly the dream team and feel like they should be undefeated right now, so they're ticked off and we're ticked off. It's going to be great for the fans and it's going to be great for the NFL."

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