After falling to Andy Reid and the Chiefs in a Thursday night showdown (see last week's predictions), the Eagles now travel to Denver to square off with Peyton Manning and the Broncos' high-scoring attack.
Here are our predictions:
When an an Eagles' offensive player told me Denver's defense is more like Kansas City's than San Diego's, that sold me on the Eagles having a snowball's chance in you-know-where of pulling off a Mile High Miracle.
The Eagles had some major protection issues against Kansas City, which turned their prolific offense into something that resembled last year's sloppy, turnover-plagued team. Even if they make some corrections up front and tighten up their third-down defense, I have a hard time seeing them keeping Denver under 35 points and matching the Broncos point for point.
It's very possible that the Eagles play much better than they have in the past two games but suffer the same result.
Broncos 37, Eagles 24
You just hope it doesn’t get ugly. And with this Broncos team, it can get ugly.
They’ve played 19 games with Peyton Manning at quarterback and won 12 of them by 10 or more points. Eight of them by 17 or more points. By far the most lopsided wins in the NFL over the last two years.
The only way the Eagles can win is to force a few turnovers, because you’re not going to just stop this offense. Not with this defense. And although the Eagles appear a little better at forcing turnovers than last year, three takeaways is too much to ask against this offense, this quarterback, this team, in this stadium.
But here’s some good news: Once the Eagles get through Sunday, things get a lot easier. Their next eight opponents are currently a combined 5-19. Better days ahead.
Broncos 44, Eagles 33
The last two times the Eagles played in Denver, the Broncos scored 49 and 41 points and that was before they acquired Peyton Manning. With Manning, the Broncos now have the most prolific offense in football and the Eagles' defense is ill equipped to deal with it.
Manning doesn't miss open receivers and he will have his pick on Sunday.
The Eagles should be able to move the ball against the Denver defense which is still without its best pass rusher, Von Miller. This will be an entertaining game with lots of big plays on both sides, but the Broncos have too many weapons for the Eagles.
Broncos 35, Eagles 28
Peyton Manning and the Broncos' offense have been lights out through three games. The Eagles' defense has been on the field for 227 plays this season -- that’s the second most in the NFL. Michael Vick, LeSean McCoy, DeSean Jackson and company will have to be near flawless. The Birds will rack up offensive yards and score points because Denver’s defense is average, especially defending the pass. This should be an offensive explosion for both teams, and when the Madden NFL game is over, the Broncos will prevail.
Broncos 42, Eagles 31
The Broncos have a killer quarterback who makes defensive coordinators want to find another line of work (see story). Denver also has four pass catchers who are on pace to record 1,000 yards or more (see story).
It's not surprising, then, that Denver leads the league in total offense and points per game. The Broncos average 42.3 ppg, which is over 10 ppg more than Green Bay, the second-highest scoring team in the league. While the Eagles are second in total offense, they're averaging 26.3 points. There's a big gap between the Birds and the Broncos on that front. Plenty of points in Denver on Sunday -- just not enough on the Eagles' side of the ledger.
Broncos 35, Eagles 21
Can the Eagles pull off an upset?
As Andrew Kulp detailed on The 700 Level, the Eagles are rested, their offense is arguably as potent as the Broncos', and the Broncos' D is banged-up and vulnerable.
Will it happen?
The Eagles' offense will have to be flawless -- which it has yet to do this season (see scouting report) -- and the defense will have to force mistakes.
I won't believe it until I see it. The Eagles hang within striking distance until a late field goal seals it for the Broncos.
Broncos 37, Eagles 27