Eagles-Jaguars predictions, key matchups

The Eagles visit Jacksonville today at 4:05 in Michael Vick's first start at quarterback since he was named the starter over Kevin Kolb. The Eagles are a 3-point favorite.

Here are the Daily News' staff predictions:

Les Bowen

The Eagles have never beaten the Jaguars (0-3), but they haven't played since 2006, so that isn't likely to make much difference. Andy Reid is 2-8 against the AFC South, though, which is a more interesting stat.

The Birds are 25th in total defense, but Jacksonville is 29th, and the Eagles are getting Stewart Bradley back. Jacksonville benched quarterback David Garrard last week, but will trot him out again this week because replacement Luke McCown suffered a season-ending knee injury.

I think with Bradley back, playing a run-oriented team, the defense should be less of a disaster. And Michael Vick ought to be able to handle this defense, if Vick's o-line doesn't get him killed.

I'm not sure Vick is capable of playing better than he played last week, though, and I wonder what the effect of the unforeseen quarterback switch will be on the rest of the offense. For Andy Reid's sake, Vick had better look dazzling.

Eagles 27, Jaguars 23.

Paul Domowitch

This is what I think. I think the Eagles' defense isn't nearly as bad as the league-high 59 points it has given up the first 2 weeks. With Stewart Bradley back in the middle Sunday, I think the Eagles will do a pretty good job on Maurice Jones-Drew and I think they will be able to keep tight end Mercedes Lewis in check and I think they have a chance to hold an opponent under 20 points for just the third time in 13 games.

I also think Mike Vick is going to have a little reality check on Sunday. While he clearly has improved his quarterbacking skills under Andy Reid, I don't see a third straight 100-plus passer rating in his future. I see him throwing a couple of interceptions, maybe even fumbling once or twice. But he will make enough plays with his arm and his feet to allow the Eagles to improve to 2-1.

Eagles 30, Jaguars 20

Ed Barkowitz: Eagles, 31-13

Bill Conlin: Eagles, 27-17

Marcus Hayes: Eagles, 27-20

John Smallwood: Eagles, 27-17

Vegas Vic: Eagles, 24-23


1. Eagles LT Jason Peters vs. Jaguars RDE Aaron Kampman: Kampman is coming off ACL surgery. Peters left the game twice last week after getting his leg rolled up on. Advantage: Jaguars

2. Eagles MLB Stewart Bradley and WLB Ernie Sims vs. Jaguars TE Mercedes Lewis: Bradley's return should help the Eagles' ability to defend the Jags' big, fast tight end. Advantage: Even

3. Eagles WR DeSean Jackson vs. Jaguars CB Rashean Mathis: Mathis is the Jags' best cover corner, but with Mike Vick extending plays with his feet, he'll have a tough time holding coverage on Jackson. Advantage: Eagles


For the full scouting report, click here.