Sunday, November 26th at 4:25 p.m. EDT.
Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, PA.
Weather: Rain showers around, low 50s.
Latest line: Bills +3, over/under 48.5.
I am still smiling from Khalil Shakir’s 81 yard catch and run last week. It was a cool drink of water after six weeks in the offensive desert, but the challenge ahead of the Bills remains formidable. Four of the top five teams in the NFL stand between Buffalo and a playoff berth. Maybe the top of the list is up first in the Eagles. The Bills are an unimpressive 4-7 vs the spread as favorites this year; being underdogs for the first time might be a charm.
Let’s look at the matchup:
Jalen Hurts went 53rd in the 2020 Draft? It was probably the best QB draft in recent memory with Burrow, Tua, and Herbert; but still, another shining example of incompetence by the GMs of perennial losers. He almost won last year’s Super Bowl, so he is certified championship caliber. Properly managed, Josh Allen is the better QB. Advantage Bills.
Running game weapons:
Well this is fun. Allen and Hurts are relatively close in the stat tables, and D’Andre Swift and James Cook are even closer. Allen and Hurts cancel each other out, as do the backups. Even.
Passing game weapons:
It would be a wider margin if Dallas Goedert were healthy, but just imagine swapping WRs and having AJ Brown and Devonta Smith in Orchard Park? The fates of the Eagles and the Titans since the Brown trade say it all. Advantage Eagles.
I am pleased with the improvement this season in Buffalo, but the Eagles OL joins their WR tandem as best in the NFL. Travis Kelce may be having a better year socially, but Jason is having the better year on the football field. Advantage Eagles.
Kudos to Brandon Beane; Linval Joseph is a viable replacement for DaQuan Jones. Tyrel Dodson is and always has been a very good run defender. But the Eagles are the best run defense in the NFL, bar none. Fletcher Cox and Jordan Davis on the same team isn’t fair. To whatever extent the Bills game plan seeks to run the ball, staying away from the middle is strongly suggested. Advantage Eagles.
Here’s some symmetry…Buffalo ranks 10th in yards allowed per game, while Philly is 10 from the bottom. Rasul Douglas winning the player of the week this soon was incredible. Advantage Bills.
Like many areas of the football team, talent isn’t the problem for the Bills. Execution and consistency are. The Eagles are solid…call it even.
Hopefully the McDermott stock hit rock bottom after the loss to the Broncos. The sentiment is by no means universal, but I believe that he is the right coach for this team IF he can find the right person to trust with the offense. It could be Joe Brady, or maybe Frank Reich, but neither Daboll nor Dorsey was the right person at the right time. Nick Sirianni is one of the better young coaches in the NFL, but having the talent the Eagles possess makes me want to see more before calling him one of the best coaches period. Even.
The Eagles enjoy one of the best home field advantages in football, and the Bills are currently 1-4 on the road (counting London’s “home” game). The Eagles are cruising comfortably, the Bills are fighting for for their season. I’m not sure that will matter, but it seems to be factored into a 3 point spread with a 9-1 vs a 6-5. I will neither dismiss nor accept that notion…it’s possible.
The Forecast: If the Bills can win the turnover battle, they can win the game. Tyler Bass needs to be at his best as well. It may end up being a shootout, but a close game in the 20s is more likely. Last team with the ball kicks a winning FG. Bass-o-matic.
Bills 27 Eagles 24.
The Pregame Plan:
I am going to see the early showing of Napoleon with my son in lieu of watching bad football; then we will pick up a Philly Cheesesteak Pizza on the way home.
Sierra Nevada’s “Hazy Little Thing” paired well with Thanksgiving dinner, and those leftovers are just as appealing as the casseroles and pumpkin pie.
Spotlight on George Thorogood and the Delaware Destroyers from nearby Wilmington:
- Move It On Over….one of the best Hank Williams covers ever.
- Bad To The Bone….good name for an award, which Reggie Gilliam earned against the Jets.
- I Drink Alone….or did, during the post game shows during the slump.
- Who Do You Love…best version of the Bo Diddley original.
All we can do is cheer. Go Bills!
Editor’s babble: I’m only beginning to emerge from the tryptophan coma. It’s the best, as far as coma’s go. Many thanks for Joe Reagan’s contributions to our blog. You can also find Joe on Twitter @joer869.