The 4-1 Baltimore Ravens head to Philadelphia Sunday to take on the 1-3-1 Eagles. This will be the first game Philadelphia is playing in front of its fans, with maximum capacity set at 7,500.
The Ravens are eight-point favorites and are coming off a 28-3 thrashing of the Cincinnati Bengals last weekend. Philadelphia fell to the Steelers 38-29 in Week 5.
Eagles Building a Bit of Momentum
Yes, the Eagles just lost their third game of the year to Pittsburgh, but there were encouraging signs as the offense finally came alive with four touchdowns.
Quarterback Carson Wentz may have found himself a receiver in Travis Fulgham, who’s coming off a remarkable 10-catch, 152-yard, one-touchdown game. No quarterback has had a larger cast of characters come through at receiver than Wentz the last few years, so the trust he showed in Fulgham is something to build on.
Wentz, who has thrown a league-leading nine interceptions this year, seems to be righting the ship as his offensive line starts to settle in. He’s making smarter decisions with the ball and using his legs to pick up first downs.
This Week 6 game against a smothering Ravens defense will be a good test in what has been a rocky start to the year.
Baltimore Defense Shutting Teams Down
Save for their 34-20 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, the Ravens defense has been extraordinary this year, holding teams to a league-low 15.2 points per game.
Led by 2019 All-Pro corners Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters, along with rookie linebacker Patrick Queen, the Ravens are fielding a strong unit that should have a strong chance to keep the inconsistent Eagles offense in check.
Peters has five interceptions for the Ravens since the start of last year, and his ball-hawking ways should come into play if Wentz continues turning the ball over as frequently as he has.
When Baltimore Has the Ball
Baltimore is led by 2019 NFL MVP Lamar Jackson, the elusive and strong-armed quarterback. Jackson hasn’t put up the same numbers this year through five weeks, which is more a testament to how historical of a year he had.
Jackson’s numbers are still respectable, with nearly 1,000 yards passing and nine touchdowns to go along with 238 rushing yards and another score.
His main targets are tight end Mark Andrews (five touchdowns) and receiver Marquise Brown (319 yards). Without question, my favorite prop bet of the weekend is Andrews to score a touchdown, currently listed at +125. The Eagles have struggled mightily all year to cover the middle of the field and tight ends.
Steelers rookie receiver Chase Claypool worked the middle of the field last week to the tune of three receiving touchdowns, while other opposing tight ends have also had their way this season.
This is a matchup the Ravens should exploit, as Andrews is Jackson’s most trusted weapon.
One matchup benefitting the Eagles defense here is the Ravens’ offensive line, particularly on the right side. Jackson has been sacked 12 times so far this year, and this Eagles defensive line (18 sacks) is the strength of the roster.
Led by defensive ends Brandon Graham (three sacks), Josh Sweat (three) and Derek Barnett (2.5), along with a trio of strong defensive tackles, the Eagles’ best chance of winning this game will come from disruption up front.
The Ravens are the superior team, but I like the Eagles’ chances to cover the eight points here. The energy that the Philadelphia fans will bring in their first game in the stadium, coupled with some positive momentum from the offense, has me thinking a close one. I’ll say Ravens 27, Eagles 24.
The pick: Eagles +8, Over 47½