With their playoff hopes waning, the Eagles (5-6) travel to Cincinnati for a matchup against the struggling Bengals (3-7-1).
The Birds have lost six of their last 8, including two straight. Cincinnati hasn't fared much better, going winless in its last four.
It's time for our (cough) expert predictions for the Week 13 matchup.
Reuben Frank (5-5)
Now that the Eagles' playoff hopes have dwindled down to about a 1-in-12 shot, we'll find out if Doug Pederson can keep this team motivated and sharp for the remaining third of the season. That's a lot of football left to go, and for a team that's lost six of its last eight and five straight on the road, it's not going to be easy. But I do believe the Eagles won't stop playing hard. The effort has been there all along. The Green Bay game got away from them at the end, but for the most part, the losses have been competitive, and the team hasn't shown any signs of quitting.
Now when you look at the schedule, it's filled with winning teams, division leaders, Hall of Fame quarterbacks and teams coming off byes. Of their last nine opponents, only the Packers currently have a losing record at 5-6. But they have Aaron Rodgers. Which brings us to the Bengals. They're 3-7-1, they're missing their Pro Bowl wide receiver and their starting running back and they've won just two of their last 10 games -- one of them against the Browns.
Final conclusion: This is a team the Eagles can beat. I see a big game for Wendell Smallwood against the NFL's fifth-worst rush defense and also a big performance from Kenjon Barner with his one weekly carry. The Eagles are 0-3-1 all-time in Cincinnati. But Bobby Hoying beat the Bengals in 1997, and if Bobby Hoying can beat 'em Carson Wentz can. I'm going Eagles 17, Bengals 16 and back to .500 with four games to go.
Eagles 17, Bengals 16
Dave Zangaro (3-8)
The Eagles managed to put up just 13 points against the Packers' swiss cheese defense, so it's hard to imagine they'll suddenly catch fire against a better defense on the road.
The best chance the Eagles have on offense, is to run the ball early and often, but they're without their top running back Ryan Mathews. That means rookie Wendell Smallwood will become the lead back.
Oh yeah, did we mention that the Eagles' best receiver, Jordan Matthews, is dealing with an ankle injury that kept him out of practice most of the week? Even if Matthews plays, he might be severely hampered by the ankle.
No, the Bengals don't pack the same punch as the Packers, but they'll be at home and Andy Dalton is at least a decent quarterback, Jeremy Hill runs hard and Tyler Eifert is a very good tight end.
The Eagles catch a break with A.J. Green and Giovani Bernard out, but I don't think that's going to be enough.
Bengals 17, Eagles 15
Derrick Gunn (4-7)
After their latest two game losing streak where do the Eagles go from here? In their last two outings the Birds have given up 26.5 point per game while scoring just 14 points per game. The offense has lacked big play capability, and the defense hasn't stopped opponents from making key plays (Green Bay was 10 of 14 on 3rd down). Now they take to the road to face a Cincinnati team that is worse off than they are. The Bengals were projected to be serious playoff contenders but have been pretenders with a 3-7-1 record.
To add insult to injury, the Bengals are playing without 40 percent of their offensive production. Their top wideout, A.J. Green, is out with a hamstring injury and RB Giovani Bernard, who's lost for the year with an ACL tear. The Bengals can't score but their defense has been improving over the last three games giving up an average of 18.6 points.
Jordan Matthews' ankle injury could handcuff the Birds' passing attack. Hopefully the defense can get to Dalton who's been sacked 32 times. I can't believe I'm saying this but just call it a hunch: I don't like the Birds in this situation.
Bengals 16, Eagles 13
Ray Didinger (5-6)
The Cincinnati Bengals have won one game since Sept. 29 and it was against the Cleveland Browns which almost doesn't count. They are currently on an 0-3-1 slide and will miss the playoffs for the first time in six years. Their best receiver, A.J. Green, is hurt and running back Giovani Bernard is lost for the season. Quarterback Andy Dalton fumbled four times in last week's loss to Baltimore. In short, these are not fun times in Cincinnati.
That would seem to bode well for the Eagles but there is that pesky matter of playing on the road (where they have lost five in a row) and the fact they are coming off their worst performance of the season, Monday's home loss to the Packers. The Eagles have scored just 28 points in their last two games while the Bengals have scored 26 so don't look for a lot of offense on Sunday. This could come down to the kickers and if so Caleb Sturgis is a lot better than Mike Nugent who has missed four of his last eight extra-point attempts.
Eagles 19, Bengals 13
Andrew Kulp (6-5)
Records aside, these are similar teams right now. The offenses lack weapons, the defenses are OK but flawed and the only way either team can win is ugly.
And ugly this game will likely be. The game comes down to kicks, a battle Caleb Sturgis can win against a struggling Mike Nugent. Bonus prediction: Eagles fans get plenty of chores and projects done around the house during this snoozer.
Eagles 13, Bengals 9
Corey Seidman (5-6)
The over/under is just 42 and I'm not expecting a whole lot of points.
The Eagles are reeling, the Bengals are reeling, but when it comes down to it the Eagles enter this game healthier and should be able to keep Cincy's offense in check.
Eifert is the Bengals' most dangerous weapon at the moment and the Eagles have been pretty good defending the seam with Jordan Hicks, Nigel Bradham and the safeties.
Eagles 20, Bengals 16
Andy Schwartz (5-6)
Just when I thought I had this team figured out, just when I’d evened my record at .500, the Eagles laid an egg.
They did so against a Packers team that had lost four straight. I should have seen it coming. Aaron Rodgers wasn’t going to let the Packers lose five in a row. The Eagles’ defense, despite having played well at home, was at his mercy.
Now the Birds face another reeling team. Cincy hasn’t won in more than a month. The Bengals have lost three straight after tying the Redskins.
But the Bengals don’t have Aaron Rodgers. They don’t have A.J. Green or Giovani Bernard either. And they’re not the Packers. They’re the Bengals.
After last week, it’s easy to pick the Eagles to lose. After last week, you wonder if the Eagles will win again this season.
But the Eagles haven’t lost three straight all year. The pass rush wakes up, the special teams makes a big play, and that helps the offense score three touchdowns.
Eagles 24, Bengals 18