Colts traveling to Philadelphia to face the Eagles.
It took a while in the opening game of the season, but the
Eagles were winners both straight up and against the spread in
Week 1, defeating the Jacksonville Jaguars 34-17 after spotting
the Jags a 17-0 lead.
The Colts, on the other hand, were 31-24 losers at the Denver
Broncos, but covered the spread as 8-point underdogs.
In order to get a grasp on this primetime matchup, we’ve
enlisted the help of those who know these teams the best.
Expert NFL bloggers Brandon Gotwon from Philadelphia blog
Nation” and Kyle Rodriguez of Indianapolis blog “The Colts
Authority”strap on the pads and debate which team will not
only win, but cover the spread Monday night.
WHY PHILADELPHIA WILL COVER
Nick Foles bounces back
Eagles starting quarterback Nick Foles had a rough outing
against the Jaguars. He often held onto the ball too long which
resulted in him being sacked five times and fumbling twice. He
also threw one costly interception in the end-zone. He often
missed open wide receivers running through Jacksonville’s
secondary. The last time Foles had a game this bad was when he
played the Dallas Cowboys in October 2013. Foles ended up
leaving that game with a concussion. Two weeks later, he
returned against the Oakland Raiders and threw seven
touchdowns. Foles has a penchant for bouncing back.
Ertz so good
Many had Eagles second-year tight end Zach Ertz pegged as a
player to break out in 2014. So far, so good. Ertz hauled in
three receptions for 77 yards against the Jaguars. There’s
reason to think Ertz will continue his success against the
Colts’ defense. Indianapolis allowed Broncos tight end Julius
Thomas to record seven catches for 104 yards and 3 TD in Week
D & ST improved
The Eagles offense was easily the biggest strength of the team
in 2013. That’s still probably the case, but Philadelphia’s
defense and special teams units may have closed the gap. The
only two touchdowns that the Jaguars scored came where Foles
turned the ball over. Mistakes from the Eagles offense gave the
Jaguars a short field to work with. The Eagles shut out
Jacksonville in the second half.
Special teams looked improved with rookie kicker Cody Parkey,
who kicked five touchbacks on seven kickoffs and also nailed a
51-yard field goal to tie the game at one point. Darren Sproles
looked spry as a punt returner. The longest kickoff return
against Philadelphia’s coverage was only 18 yards.
WHY INDIANAPOLIS WILL COVER
The Indianapolis Colts will defeat the visiting Philadelphia
Eagles on Monday night for several reasons, including the fact
that the Eagles are dealing with a few severe injuries on the
offensive line. Due to injuries and a suspension to Lane
Johnson, the Eagles are down to their third right tackle, and
All-Pro guard Evan Mathis is on injured reserve. Now, the
Eagles are probably the most well-equipped team in the league
to deal with such injuries, but it’s still a big blow for a
team that relies so heavily on it’s run game.
Exposing Philly’s secondary
The Colts also have a huge advantage on offense: The
Philadelphia secondary is a mess. This is the secondary that
got torched by undrafted free agent Allen Hurns last week for
two scores and 110 yards. Andrew Luck throwing to T.Y. Hilton,
Reggie Wayne and Hakeem Nicks is a step up from Chad Henne and
a few rookies. Hamilton has shown over the last few games of
2013 and the opening of 2014 that he’s willing to open it up
and Let Luck sling the ball all over the field. Against the
Eagles, watch for them to take advantage of an undisciplined
Back-to-back losses? Nope.
Finally, this Colts team simply does not lose two games in a
row. I don’t know what it is about them, but the team has
refused to do it. And that includes winning some big games that
they were not supposed to win, like last year’s wins over San
Francisco and Denver, or the win over Green Bay in 2012. I’m a
big believer in stats, X’s and O’s and tangible factors, but
there’s no denying the mental fortitude that this team is
equipped with. Sometimes, they just refuse to lose.
Join the debate. Who covers the spread Monday
night: Eagles or Colts?