When it comes to explosive offense, most people who are interested in wagering on the NFL this weekend will be turning their attention to the Mile High City, where the Denver Broncos, who have made it look easy thus far in winning their first three games, play host to the Philadelphia Eagles, who will be trying to exercise their frenetic pace to keep the home team off balance.
The Eagles have shown some of the inconsistency that kept them out of the playoffs last season as they have come out of the box with a 1-2 record. But they sure are interesting to look at.
Denver Broncos -10.5
Philadelphia Eagles +10.5
Here is the NFL total posted on this game, and it certainly is high:
Over 57.5 Points -110
Under 57.5 Points -110
We’ve seen no over / under yet on whether there will be a huddle in this game, but don’t bet on one.
The Eagles failed to make a home stand against their former coach, as Andy Reid brought the Kansas City Chiefs into Lincoln Financial Field and steered clear of turnovers, while forcing some miscues on the part of the Eagles. That is something the killed Philadelphia last season, ironically UNDER Reid, as they tied the Chiefs for the most turnovers in the league in 2012.
If this comes down to a shootout between Peyton Manning and Michael Vick, the Eagles’ QB is going to wind up outgunned. Manning has blown the competition away so far; he is 73% accurate, with 12 touchdown passes, which is a record for the first three games of the season, and no interceptions. His quarterback rating of 134.7 leads the NFL by a wide margin; the next man down the list is the surprising Philip Rivers, at 116.2. Manning was brilliant again last Monday night, with 32 completions in 37 attempts for 374 yards and three scores. He is the principal reason the Broncos are the +325 favorite to win the Super Bowl come early February, according to the NFL futures at Bookmaker.eu.
Vick was able to get through the first two games without an interception, but then there was an implosion of sorts against the Chiefs, where he threw two picks and lost a fumble. In that 26-16 Philly defeat, Vick was sacked five times and completed just 13 of 30 passes. At the same time, they also had 264 yards rushing, and this is certainly what they are going to have to do successfully against Denver in order to move the ball up and down the field.
The Eagles (priced at +373 in the money line at Bookmaker.eu) have the guy to do it, if it’s possible. LeSean McCoy is the NFL’s leading rusher, with a jump of almost a hundred yards over the rest of the pack. This team does a good job of spreading the opposing defense out, and that has resulted in big holes for McCoy, who is averaging 6.4 yards a carry, and Vick himself, who has logged 10.4 yards a pop. Remember that Denver has done a very good job against the rushing attacks it has faced, giving up just 2.3 yards a carry. And they made Darren McFadden a non-factor, at least on runs from scrimmage, as they held him to just twelve yards on nine carries.
Obviously when you throw as much as the Broncos do (and who wouldn’t?) you are going to search for some balance in the offense. They are hoping to find a little of it with Knowshon Moreno, who had 93 yards against the Giants two weeks ago but wasn’t a very big factor last week against the Oakland Raiders. That didn’t matter, however, as Denver got 127 combined yards out of Ronnie Hillman and Montee Ball. If they want to achieve some balance, it’s likely they will be able to do it with Manning’s play-calling.
Denver (which comes in as a -474 favorite to win this game straight-up at Bookmaker.eu) has been able to cruise home in all three games, by an average margin of almost 19 points a game. But they let the other team be competitive early in the first two games, outscoring the Ravens and Giants by a combined 66-24 in the second half. Against the Raiders, they got off to a quick start and led 27-7 at the half, laughing the rest of the way.
To have a chance to overcome the pro football odds on this game, the Eagles will have to find a way to hurry Manning. All indications are that Chris Clark is doing an adequate job on the left side as he is filling in for Ryan Clady, and Peyton has been sacked just four times, compared to 122 attempts. And Philadelphia may find its defense getting tired in the high altitude, as it has been on the field for over 79 of the 120 minutes played in the last two games.
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