Who’s Picking The Eagles: Week 11

Photo by Jeff Fusco

Photo by Jeff Fusco

The Eagles host the Buccaneers this Sunday, looking to get back to .500 on the season and improve their NFC East standing. Here’s how an assortment of media think the game will unfold.

Birds 24/7 Predictions

Tim thinks the Eagles win by a score with Mark Sanchez at the helm, 27-20.

I’m expecting the offense to get a little jolt with Sanchez at quarterback. He has familiarity with the system, a rapport with Jordan Matthews and [Zach] Ertz and runs the offense at a pace that could knock the Bucs off-balance. That’s not to say that he’s a better long-term option at quarterback, but Sanchez can be effective in bursts.

Josh believes in the Birds, by a slim field goal margin, 24-21.

As for the Eagles offense, I expect their passing attack to help open up the run game. Sanchez will be solid, and that will be enough for them to win the game.

National Writer Predictions

ESPN’s beat writers predict their respective team’s games. Both Eagles beat writer Phil Sheridan and Bucs beat writer Andrew Astleford believe in the Birds.

Andrew Astleford: The Bucs have doubled their win total from a year ago, but they still haven’t claimed consecutive victories under coach Lovie Smith. Tampa Bay has to see more from its offense to claim that elusive second consecutive win after totaling just one touchdown in each of the past two games. The Bucs’ defense should play well enough to keep Tampa Bay close throughout. But until the Bucs show the ability to string wins together, there’s reason to doubt them. Eagles 24, Bucs 20.

Phil Sheridan: Tampa Bay relies on its sixth-ranked running game to take pressure off rookie QB Jameis Winston. The Eagles’ defense is 19th in the NFL against the run, but that is skewed by the 338 rushing yards they allowed in two games without LB DeMeco Ryans. In this can’t-afford-to-lose game, Ryans and the Eagles’ defense will find a way to get it done. Eagles 23, Buccaneers 21.

Sports Illustrated’s Don Banks is confident Mark Sanchez will come out strong in his first start of the season, taking the Eagles over Tampa, 20-17.

The pattern has been that Mark Sanchez usually plays pretty well at first, before he eventually turns back into Mark Sanchez. So, in his first start since taking over for the injured Sam Bradford, I like the Eagles at home over a Bucs team that has admirably battled its way to the cusp of .500.

Over at CBS Sports, Pete Prisco thinks the Bucs are just an inferior team to the Eagles, even with Sanchez starting. He takes the Birds, 33-21.

The Eagles suffered a bad loss last week to the Dolphins and now must play without Sam Bradford. That means Mark Sanchez is in as the starter. The Bucs have improved on defense, and they are still alive. But it won’t matter here, even with Sanchez playing.

Peter Schrager of FOX Sports thinks Chip Kelly’s team pulls out a must-win at home against Tampa with a 27-23 victory.

Mark Sanchez, expected to start on Sunday, has thrown an interception in all but two games he’s started for the Eagles. Not a good statistic. But this is must-win for Chip Kelly’s Eagles and with a full week to prepare, I’ll give Philadelphia the edge at home. That’s with or without Jason Peters or Connor Barwin.

NFL.com’s Elliot Harrison foresees a big game from the unpredictable Sanchez and a 28-17 win for the Eagles at home.

The win one, lose one Bucs are on schedule to lose this weekend in Philadelphia. Given that the NFC East is destined to be muddied by an 8-8 division winner, then the Eagles should win, to keep the forgettable division on its own schedule. We probably will see Mark Sanchez on Sunday — so we can expect a 340-yard, three-score performance that will raise the water level of hope for Philly fans just high enough to drown them at 7-9. Tampa Bay must open bigger holes for Doug Martin, whose yards-per-carry marks over the last three games are 3.1, 2.8 and 3.5.

The guys at Pro Football Talk are split over the game, and Mike Florio breaks the unanimous trend from the rest of the national writers.

MDS’s take: The Bucs have an enormous opportunity to establish themselves as contenders for an NFC wild card spot down the stretch. But I’m just not convinced that Tampa Bay’s offense will be able to get many points on the board in Philly.

MDS’s pick: Eagles 17, Buccaneers 10.

Florio’s take: To Eagles fans who complained about Sam Bradford — after Sunday, maybe you won’t.

Florio’s pick: Buccaneers 24, Eagles 23.

Beat Writer Predictions

Zach Berman, Philadelphia Inquirer: Eagles 28, Bucs 27.

Jeff McLane, Philadelphia Inquirer: Eagles 31, Bucs 17.

Les Bowen, Daily News: Eagles 18, Bucs 16.

Martin Frank, The News Journal: Eagles 22, Bucs 17.

Ed Kracz, Calkins Media: Eagles 24, Bucs 17

Eliot Shorr-Parks, NJ.com: Eagles win.

Mark Eckel, NJ.com: Eagles win.