NFL prognosticators are very much like meteorologists – they can be wrong just as often as they are right.
Most pundits had looked at the Tampa game in week #2 and figured that a trip to Florida would be, no pun intended, a “day at the beach”.
Many figured that by the time the 4th quarter rolled around, the backups would be filling in to handle mop-up duties while the starters were drinking Mai-Tai’s on Clearwater Beach and searching for retirement homes for when their playing days are over.
Yours truly, who had spent the weekend in Sarasota celebrating the union of “S & S” into marital bliss, was also guilty of thinking the same. So when all of us headed into the security line at Tampa’s Raymond James Stadium and heard the sound of the cannons being fired from the pirate ship in the north end of the stadium, we assumed it must be due to the opening kickoff.
But no, before the sweat had even begun to drip off the brow on what was a very sweltering (and typical) September day, the Buccaneers had already scored, thanks to former Eagle DeSean Jackson, who was cut by ex-Eagles coach Chip Kelly four years ago.
The player whom the Eagles got absolutely NOTHING for in return torched his former team on the first play from scrimmage for a 75-yard touchdown catch, and ended the day with four receptions for 129 yards.
Meanwhile, the Eagles offense decided to shoot itself in the foot with bad plays and penalties, and what was a 7-0 deficit eventually turned into the Birds being behind 27-7 before finally waking up and coming back to make it a one-score game at 27-21.
But it was too little, too late, and the defending champions will come home with a record of 1-1 on this young season.
This loss is not the end of the world. This team was 1-1 last season after a road loss to the Kansas City Chiefs before rolling off nine straight wins and winning their division on the way to the Super Bowl. And there is no reason to think they cannot have another successful season.
The key for this week is that Carson Wentz will be back under center for the first time since December 10, 2017, when he was injured for the remainder of the season.
While Nick Foles played better than anyone could have imagined, the main difference between Wentz & Foles can be summed up by the following:
Carson Wentz makes the team around him better.
Nick Foles looks better because of the team around him.
Foles had a great supporting cast last year, which helped to propel the Eagles to their first Super Bowl victory. But Wentz will be the difference maker for this team.
When healthy, he has the ability to be a game changer, and should be the Eagles starting quarterback for at least the next ten years (keeping my fingers crossed when I say this).
The Eagles face the Indianapolis Colts at home this week, a team which has had its own share of health concerns concerning their quarterback.
The condition of Andrew Luck’s shoulder over the last two years has been a bigger mystery than what happened to Tony Soprano in that diner when the screen went blank with Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin” playing in the background.
But while we’ll probably never know what the producers of the Sopranos were thinking, we do know that Luck is finally back healthy for the Colts after a 19 month hiatus, which makes them a team to not be taken lightly.
The good news is that the Birds, and their fans, will be ready to hop on the newly refurbished “Wentz Wagon” as it exits the tunnel to a chorus of cheers, and should give this team a boost on the field, even though he will be somewhat rusty in my opinion.
So what about the score? Reader Arun H. had predicted a 20-13 Eagles win in the opener and was almost spot on (final score was 18-12 Eagles) so I’m piggybacking on his prediction for this week, which is an Eagles victory, 27-16.
If he’s right again, I know who I’ll be calling for my future Powerball lottery numbers.
Amit’s Marquee Matchups of the Week (all games on Sunday & in EST unless noted otherwise):
Saints at Falcons 1:00 PM FOX
Broncos at Ravens 1:00 PM CBS
Bengals at Panthers 1:00 PM CBS
Titans at Jaguars 1:00 PM CBS
Chargers at Rams 4:05 PM CBS
Steelers at Buccaneers 8:15 PM ESPN (Mon.)