Who’s Picking the Eagles?

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Here’s a roundup of national media predictions for Sunday’s Eagles-Jaguars game.

NFL.com’s Elliot Harrison takes the Eagles in a 13-point win:

Eagles 34, Jaguars 21

Fully expecting this one to be close through three quarters, with Philly pulling away in the fourth. LeSean McCoy, who will consistently test the Jaguars‘ run defense, should put up 125 rushing yards for the host Eagles

What we need to see is what Jacksonville coach Gus Bradley‘s pass rush can provide. That has been a major weakness for some time now, but if you were paying attention to Jags football outside of Blake Bortles and Toby Gerhart in the preseason (or at all, for that matter), you might’ve noticed the pass rush showed some life. By the way, it’s imperative for Nick Foles to get off to a fast start, so the whole city of Philadelphia doesn’t full-on soil their Ricky Jordan underoos. #JAXvsPHI

ESPN.com has 12 of 14 analysts picking the Eagles with only Mike Ditka and Mark Schlereth going against the grain.

SB Nation has all seven writers going with the Eagles:

If you ask the SB Nation panel of experts, they’ll tell you Jacksonville has no chance Sunday, considering the Eagles are a unanimous choice to beat the lowly Jaguars.

As far as Week 1 picks go, this one might be the easiest. Philadelphia and its high-powered offense — led by quarterback Nick Foles and running back LeSean McCoy — are looking to overpower the Jaguars, who are starting Chad Henne over rookie Blake Bortles.

CBSSports.com’s Pete Prisco believes Jacksonville’s defense will be improved, but he still goes with the Eagles:

Eagles 27, Jaguars 13
The Eagles can score, but the Jaguars will be better on defense. They’ve had a lot of time to get ready for Chip Kelly’s offense. But Jacksonville’s offense has issues and won’t be able to keep up.
Don Banks of Sports Illustrated takes the Eagles as well:
Eagles 27, Jaguars 17
I was reminded this week that the Jaguars’ Gus Bradley was interviewing with the Eagles for their vacant head coaching job in January 2013 when Chip Kelly doubled back and accepted the gig in Philly. Bradley quickly landed in Jacksonville and as it panned out, both clubs got the right guy for the necessary turnaround task at hand. The Eagles obviously are further along than the Jaguars, but I’ve got both of these clubs playing into January this season, so the arrow is pointing up no matter what transpires on Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field. Philly’s offensive firepower will be too much for the improved Jacksonville defense, but this won’t be the rout some are anticipating.

Pro Football Talk is forecasting a much tighter game than most with both experts predicting an Eagles win by one possession:

MDS’s take: The Jaguars have taken a bigger step forward this offseason than most people realize, and they won’t be pushovers anymore. But Philadelphia will be a tough place to play this year, and the Eagles will take this one.

MDS’s pick: Eagles 28, Jaguars 23.

Florio’s take:  The Eagles ended the 2013 season with a disappointing loss at home.  They’ll start 2014 with one of their easier home dates, especially since the Jaguars have the wrong guy at quarterback.

Florio’s pick:  Eagles 27, Jaguars 20.

Evan Silva of Rotoworld likes the Eagles, 24-17:

Jags-Eagles has Week 1’s second-highest over-under at 52.5 points. The Jaguars are 10-point dogs, meaning the Eagles are projected to score just over 31. I think Jacksonville’s defense will be surprisingly stout over the course of the year, but it’s in a tough Opening Day spot.

Dave Tuley of ESPN Insider has the Jaguars covering the 10.5-point spread:

My knee-jerk reaction to this line is to also take the double-digit dog sight unseen, but I like the Jaguars for a couple of other reasons, too. Sure, they lost Maurice Jones-Drew, but Toby Gerhart steps in from Minnesota. If you ever saw him fill in for Adrian Peterson, you know he has been quite productive. Plus, he can catch the ball out of the backfield and will help take the pressure off quarterback Chad Henne. The defense also should be improved as coach Gus Bradley has brought in players he used to have when he was the coordinator building Seattle’s championship defense. The Jags might not have a winning record this season, but I’m betting they’ll have a winning ATS record, starting with the opener.

Peter Schrager of FoxSports.com has the Eagles, 30-23:

They say the NFL is a fraternity, but in one case this weekend, it actually is. It features two former fraternity brothers squaring off in Philadelphia. Jaguars offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch was a graduate assistant at Florida under Steve Spurrier in the late 90’s. His roommate in the Tau Epsilon Phi house down in Gainesville? Philadelphia Eagles general manager Howie Roseman. This one’s for all the TEP brothers out there. I’m taking Chip Kelly with an entire summer to prepare a game plan over just about anyone in this league. Brother Roseman will get the best of Brother Fisch.

Will Leitch of Sports On Earth goes with the Eagles, 45-24:

The projections, along with many humans, think the Eagles offense is coming back to earth this season. I think it’s just getting warmed up.

Ben Volin of the Boston Globe is predicting a rematch of Super Bowl XXXIX with a similar outcome:

Matt Cassidy is a journalism student at Temple and an intern at Birds 24/7.