I don’t feel the same way.
In fact, I have a good feeling about today.
You can take that for what it’s worth, which isn’t very much. But I also had this similar good feeling in Week 1 — before the Eagles beat Washington — if that means anything to you.
Now, I get why people are concerned. Fletcher Cox is out. That’s a big loss. There’s the whole cross-country travel factor. I don’t disagree that that’s something worth considering. There’s the Chargers’ pass rush. Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram are two really, really good edge defenders. There’s the fact that the Chargers have lost some close games this season and aren’t totally hopeless.
But it’s also true the Chargers just aren’t good. Again, they’ve lost eight games in a row dating back to last season. They’re 10-29 in their last 39 games. They haven’t been good for quite some time now. Even Chargers fans are very honest about how the team sucks.
It’s usually fair to not feel great about the Eagles when they’re playing on the road. Philly is 2-8 in away games during the Doug Pederson era. But will this game even truly be a road atmosphere? StubHub Center is so small! It only fits 27,000 people. Eagles fans are likely to make up a good portion of the fans in attendance. The Chargers were never a true L.A. team and the lack of support they’ve received really confirms that notion.
The feeling here is that the Eagles should be able to go into Carson, California and take care of business.
The Eagles ran the ball well last week against a bad New York Giants run defense. Los Angeles has allowed the second most rushing yards per game this season, so this could be another game where Pederson looks to rely on the run.
When it comes to the Eagles’ passing attack, the opportunities will be there. The Chargers’ linebackers and safeties just aren’t very good. Zach Ertz will have room to operate in the middle of the field. Nelson Agholor might even get involved today. Here’s hoping Carson Wentz shows some improved accuracy in this game after egregiously overthrowing Alshon Jeffery last Sunday.
On defense, the Eagles’ line will need to step up with Cox out. The good news is that Tim Jernigan is playing really good football. Beau Allen isn’t known for being a great pass rusher, but he should be able to help slow Melvin Gordon down.
Special teams won’t be an insignificant factor in this game. Chargers rookie kicker Younghoe Koo is 2/5 on the season. He’s missed potential game-tying and game-winning kicks. The Eagles, meanwhile, employ the best kicker in NFL history in Jake Elliott. I’m also interested to see how the return game looks with Kenjon Barner back. He showed some good returning ability in the past.
This is a game the Eagles should win. Quite simply, they’re a better team on paper and they’ve played better than the Chargers have so far this season. But none of that counts for anything if the Eagles don’t show it on the field. It’s up to the Birds to take care of business today in hopes of advancing to 3-1.
Score prediction: Eagles win, 24-17.
Bold prediction: Derek Barnett notches his first sack and also scores a defensive touchdown.
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