Tuesday, October 4, 2011

JZN NFL Predictions vs. Spread: Philadelphia Eagles at Buffalo Bills (Week 5, 2011-12)

The Philadelphia Eagles and Buffalo Bills are coming off frustrating losses to what many consider as inferior opponents. Are the Bills for real or was their 3-0 start a bit lucky? Can the Eagles recover and avoid 1-4?

The early spread on this game is Eagles (-3). Here are some of the key aspects of the game and what to watch out for when betting. All lines from Cooper's Pick and Injury Reports from CBS Sports as of October 4, 2011. Always keep yourself updated with injury lines because they’ll unexpectedly change throughout the week.

Current Personal Picks Record (Straights Only)
Buffalo Bills 2-2
Philadelphia Eagles 1-3

Key Injuries
DL Trent Cole (out), DL Juqua Parker, DL Darryl Tapp, OT Winston Justice, OT Jason Peters, DT Antonio Dixon (IR), CB Terrence McGee (Out), CB Aaron Williams (Out), OL Kraig Urbik (Out), LB Chris White

Keys to the Game
  • Can the Bills pressure Michael Vick?
  • Can the Eagles' defense contain a balanced offensive attack featuring Ryan Fitzpatrick and Fred Jackson?
  • The Bills make 20-point comebacks. The Eagles blow 20-point leads
  • Can the Bills force Vick into some careless turnovers?
  • Can the Bills contain DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin?
  • Will the Eagles play with desperation? Will they press too much?
  • Eagles’ front four vs. Bills’ offensive line

This game features two of the NFL’s worst defenses. The Bills needed over 30 points for two of their victories. The Eagles have surrendered at least 24 points in their past three games. The Eagles can’t stop anybody’s ground game. They’re currently 30th in run defense as they’re allowing 140 yards per game. The Bills are averaging 137 yards per game on the ground.

Here’s why I feel like the Eagles match up poorly for the Bills: the Bills have only forced four sacks through four games. They’ve faced three of the NFL’s weakest starting quarterbacks in Jason Campbell, Matt Cassel and Andrew Dalton. The key to beating Vick is pressure. They’re dead-last in sacks. That’s no bueno. They must get to Vick.

Injuries could play a factor. The Eagles could be without two of their main offensive tackles and three of their best pass rushers. The Bills could also be without DBs Terrence McGee and Aaron Williams. That’s going to make it even harder for them to stop Jeremy Maclin and DeSean Jackson. Wes Welker exploited the Bills’ secondary with 16 receptions for 217 yards in Week 3. A.J. Green also had four receptions for 118 yards in Week 4.

Albeit an out-of-conference game, the Eagles must win this game. Another loss would be close to a death sentence. I just don’t see the Eagles dying this soon. This won’t be a repeat of the 2010 Dallas Cowboys. The Bills must learn how to pressure the passer or this will be a long day.

Here’s a match-up to watch closely: The Eagles are tied for the NFL lead with 15 sacks after four games. The Bills’ offensive line has only allowed three sacks.  

Final Predictions:
Against the Spread: Philadelphia Eagles (-3)
Straight:  Philadelphia Eagles 38, Buffalo Bills 31

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