Two of the final 4 teams from a year ago face off in London Sunday morning in the 3rd and final London game of the year. The Jaguars lead the all time series 3-2, but the Eagles have won the last 2 matchups dating back to 2010.
The Eagles are coming off a disheartening 21-17 loss to the Carolina Panthers. In week 5, the Eagles lost 26-23 to the Titans, and lost 23-21 to the Vikings in week 6.
The Jaguars lost their 3rd straight to the Texans 20-7. In week 5, the Jags were blown out 30-14 by the Chiefs, and blown out 40-7 by the Cowboys in week 6.
Bovada has the Eagles as 3.5 point favourites in London, while the O/U is set at 41.5.
The Eagles started hot against Carolina, but faltered in the 4th quarter. Carson Wentz continues his hot play, throwing for 310 yards and 2 TDs on 30/37 passing. The biggest play of the game came at Wentz’s fault however, as he was strip sacked on the Eagles final drive to effectively end the game. Wentz also fumbled on another sack during the game, as he was under a fair amount of pressure.
Zach Ertz (9/138/0) and Alshon Jeffery (7/88/1) were the main benefactors of Wentz’s play, while Nelson Agholor also caught 6 balls for just 20 yards (35 yards after catch). The run game was sorely lacking in the Eagles first game without Jay Ajayi, as Josh Adams, Corey Clement and Wendell Smallwood combined for 21 carries and 55 yards on the ground.
The Eagles front continues to terrorize opposing quarterbacks, with Fletcher Cox leading the way (9 total pressures). Brandon Graham and Michael Bennett each had 5 pressures and a sack as well. The secondary was burnt a few times late, but all around played a better game than the last few weeks. Ronald Darby was torched on a double move for a TD. Avonte Maddox and Jalen Mills each missed a couple tackles late that helped the Panthers move the ball.
Injuries and Inactive Watch
DT Haloti Ngata (calf) – questionable, RB Darren Sproles (hamstring) – questionable, CB Sidney Jones (hamstring) – questionable
Jacksonville’s offense has been atrocious the last few weeks, and Blake Bortles is almost solely to blame. Bortles has had rough stretches before, and is reputable for his peak/valley type of play. He was benched in their most recent game for Cody Kessler, but it has been announced Bortles will start this week. Before he was benched, Bortles was 6/12 for 61 yards and fumbled twice, losing both.
Kessler took over and went 21/30 for 156 yards, a TD, and an INT. Kessler also fumbled once, but did not lose it. Donte Moncrief was the Jags top target, catched 7 balls for 76 yards. T.J. Yeldon also had a nice day, catching 5 balls for 40 yards and a TD. Yeldon also rushed 12 times for 28 yards, as he was stuffed in the backfield most of the day. The offensive tackle situation continues to be an issue, as Josh Walker and Jermey Parnell combined to allow 10 pressures, and Walker allowed 2 sacks.
The defense is still a top unit in the NFL, but is not as dominant as it was last season. A lot of this is due to the reduction in pressures by the front 4. Against possibly the worst line in the NFL, the Jags produced just one sack and 4 QB hits on 29 dropbacks. A.J. Bouye and Jalen Ramsey both had a rough time between Will Fuller and DeAndre Hopkins, combining to allow 118 yards, which is most this season by a good 20 yards.
Injuries and Inactive Watch
CB D.J. Hayden (toe) – questionable, RB Leonard Fournette (hamstring) – out, EDGE Calais Campbell (shoulder) – questionable
Well London is a second home to the Jaguars, as they have played their every season since 2013, and have won 3 straight. Philadelphia has never played in London, and this has to factor in for both teams. The Eagles are solely reliant on their passing game at this point, and Jacksonville represents a tough task on that end. Zach Ertz is the one to watch here, as the cornerbacks will not allow easy completions. Jacksonville has to get more pressure and try to force some turnovers and short fields for their offense.
In his last 3 London games, Bortles is 52/93 for 633 yards, 8 TDs, and 1 INT. If there is a game for the Bortles-coaster to get back on the rails, it’s this game. Jacksonville should find success with the quick game, using crossers and screens to mitigate the Eagles pass rush. The Eagles have struggled with missed tackles, and the Jags receivers are all capable of creating after the catch. Philly has also struggled to put away games the last few weeks, and I see a similar situation in unfamiliar territory here. We will take the Jags and the points in what will almost be a home game for them.
Final Pick: Jaguars (+3.5)