Who’s Picking the Eagles?
Here’s a roundup of national media predictions for Monday’s Eagles-Panthers game:
In this week’s edition of Who’s Picking the Eagles, there was an eye-catching trend between the national experts who try to predict each week’s NFL outcomes. Despite the quarterback change from Nick Foles to Mark Sanchez, the Eagles claimed clean sweeps of the analysts at NFL.com, ESPN.com, CBSSports, FoxSports, Pro Football Talk, Yahoo Sports, and USA Today. Those seven outlets yielded 43 experts picking the Eagles.
(Sanchez gave the reaction above after hearing of the news.)
The Birds collect a clean sweep of all five NFL.com analysts.
Elliot Harrison of NFL.com takes the Eagles at home on Monday night behind a more “mature” and seasoned Sanchez:
Eagles 30, Panthers 22
Philadelphia wins at home Monday night, partially on the shoulders of one Mark Sanchez. Not only did he average more than three points per drive last week (on the season, Nick Foles averaged 1.7), but he also completed 80 percent of his passes with a 112.5 passer rating in the preseason. The Panthers’ defensive backs — particularly Antoine Cason and Melvin White — have been getting toasted. Carolina’s defense on the whole has struggled; consider that, after giving up 21 touchdowns all last year, the Panthers have allowed 28 already in 2014.
Back to Sanchez for a moment: Why is he playing better? Could it be maturity? He’ll turn 28 next week. How many of you were less obnoxious at 28 than 22? Who didn’t wear smediums and headbands right out of school before going full corporate in their late 20s?
Kevin Patra of NFL.com puts together his Week 10 viewer’s guide:
Cam Newton hasn’t played well the past several outings. He of the 32nd-ranked 57.4 completion percentage faces an Eagles secondary that has allowed 256.2 yards passing per game and has gotten burned at times this season. The question is, does Cam have the weapons around him to take advantage? When Kelvin Benjamin plays like a rookie (dropping passes) the Panthers’ offense goes from creaky to stalled out. Ron Rivera would like to utilize the running attack to keep Chip Kelly’s high-flying offense on the sidelines. However, the Panthers are averaging just 94.7 rushing yards per game, 26th in the NFL — and that includes Newton’s scampers. Carolina needs Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams to be more than occasional sidepieces Sunday.
We’ve finally made it. Mark Sanchez will begin his road toward redemption. The quarterback couldn’t have asked for a cushier situation to be thrown into. He’s on a division-leading team in an offense that shelters the quarterback as if he were a boy in a bubble. Moreover, he faces a Panthers defensive secondary that struggles covering in space. It will be intriguing to see how Chip Kelly deploys Sanchez, including whether Kelly utilizes Sanchez’s mobility more than he did with Foles. It’s just comforting to know that, for better or worse, whether in an extended or abbreviated time period, Sanchise is back in our lives.
Don Banks of SI.com is picking the Birds behind Sanchez:
Eagles 33, Panthers 23
Had the Eagles lost the 2013 version of Nick Foles to injury, with only last year’s inconsistent backup, Michael Vick, to pick up the pieces, that would be cause for real concern in Philadelphia. But losing this season’s Foles (13 touchdowns to 10 interceptions, with three fumbles lost) and having him replaced in the starting lineup by Mark Sanchez is not going to change anything in regards to where the Eagles are headed in 2014. In Kelly’s quarterback-friendly offense, Sanchez is going to resurrect his career and quite possibly work his way into Philly’s long-term plans. It’ll be another dagger in the hearts of Jets fans, because while Michael Vick does little to alter the death spiral that is New York’s season, Sanchez will be front and center on a winning, playoff-bound team while wearing a different shade of green.
Over at ESPN.com, all 13 NFL experts predict an Eagles’ victory.
CBSSports.com has all eight analysts taking the Birds at home on Monday Night Football.
John Breech of CBSSports.com believes LeSean McCoy will run all over a Panthers’ defense that is ranked 26th in the league:
Eagles 24, Panthers 17
At first glance, it seems like the obvious pick here is the Eagles, but then that means picking Mark Sanchez to win. The last time Sanchez started a game was in December 2012 — and he lost. The last time he started a game before that loss, he also lost. Sanchez is 3-6 in his past nine starts. However, the former Jets quarterback has actually looked competent running Chip Kelly’s offense, which is good news for Eagles fans. Even better news for Eagles fans is that all Sanchez should have to do on Monday is give the ball to LeSean McCoy and let him run wild on a Panther run defense that’s ranked 26th in the NFL. Plus, if I’ve learned one thing in life, it’s never pick against a guy who’s clearly seen so many Star Wars movies, he knows how to use the Force.
Pete Prisco of CBSSports.com takes the Eagles by a field goal:
Eagles 24, Panthers 21
The Eagles will be without Nick Foles, who is out with a broken clavicle. That means Mark Sanchez is in as the starter. I think he will be fine in this system. The Panthers are 25th in total defense, so he will get his shots. Cam Newton will do some good things to keep up, but will come up short.
FoxSports.com gives the Eagles yet another sweep with all six analysts going green this Monday.
Pete Schrager of FoxSports.com talks about Chip Kelly‘s system and believes the Birds will get a win against the Panthers:
Is it the system or the player? It’s been a long-looming question in NFL circles around Chip Kelly’s offense. When DeSean Jackson was let go, there were eyebrows raised. The offense didn’t miss a beat. When the offensive line was all banged up, the replacements held their own. Now, Nick Foles goes down. Can Mark Sanchez just keep the offense rolling? This isn’t quite “Moneyball”, but if the Eagles’ offense can put up similar production with backups as it does with the starters, it’s a testament to Kelly’s system.
Jimmy Maina of FoxSports.com predicts an Eagles victory:
This is going to sound crazy, but I don’t think the Eagles lose anything going from Nick Foles to Mark Sanchez at quarterback. Remember this about Sanchez: He had success early in his career when the Jets had some talent around him. He has plenty of talent around him in Philadelphia and will play well in Chip Kelly’s system. Meanwhile, Carolina comes in to Philly having lost five of its past seven games. The Panthers’ weak offense just won’t be able to keep up with Eagles in this game.
All seven writers at USA Today are picking the Birds.
SB Nation has six of seven experts choosing the Eagles on MNF.
Both writers at Pro Football Talk believe the Birds will win by at least touchdown:
MDS’s take: It’s tough to say what kind of team the Eagles will be with Mark Sanchez running the show, but considering that they started the season 6-2 despite Nick Foles not playing very well, I expect Philadelphia to do just fine.
MDS’s pick: Eagles 27, Panthers 20.
Florio’s take: Mark Sanchez returns to prime time, nearly two years after the Thanksgiving night butt fumble. His team is better than the Jets, his opponent is worse than the Patriots, and Sanchez will commence the process of resurrecting his career against a former No. 1 pick whose career could be inching toward a crossroads.
Florio’s pick: Eagles 26, Panthers 17.
Vinnie Iyer of the Sporting News picks the Eagles in a blowout:
Eagles 34, Panthers 17
The Panthers’ run defense continues to get gashed, and the Eagles keep getting back the pieces to make their rushing offense resemble last season’s dominant version. Nothing has to give there. Cam Newton will try to shake off an awful game with a long week to think about it, but he’ll be stuck trying to play catch-up with limited weapons. Mark Sanchez isn’t great, but he’s good enough to keep Philly rolling.
David Steele of the Sporting News also believes Philadelphia wins by 17 points:
Mark Sanchez steps front and center as the starter for the foreseeable future in Philadelphia. He’s at home against a Panthers team that is playing just like a team stripped of talent should be. That’s a good break for Sanchez . Eagles 24, Panthers 7.
At Pro Football Focus, the Birds are favored by seven of eight analysts.
Both Frank Schwab and Eric Adelson of Yahoo Sports are picking the Eagles.
Matt Cassidy is a journalism student at Temple and an intern at Birds 24/7.