Nick Foles and the Eagles are underdogs at home because they’re facing Matt Ryan and a Falcons team that’s playing some of its best football.
And despite a three-touchdown road win back in Week 5, Vegas has little faith that Blake Bortles can replicate that success against Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers.
If you’re the Eagles and looking for a glimmer of hope, here ya go: In Foles’ first start for the injured Carson Wentz, in Week 15, he completed 24 of 38 passes for 237 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions in a 34-29 win over the Giants.
The Titans are 9-7-1 against the spread and 3-1 as the underdog, which includes their shocking come-from-behind win over the Chiefs, who were favored by 8.5 points.
But we also saw glimpses of how the Falcons might attack Philly; Ryan didn’t look downfield against the Rams but instead leaned on short throws — including screen passes — to complement a running game that occasionally featured misdirection plays designed to keep an aggressive defense off-balance.
This screen pass, for example, is basically an extension of the Falcons’ run game: For as dominant as the Jaguars’ defense has been this season, they’re not the ’85 Bears or the ’00 Ravens — or even the ’08 Steelers, who had the NFL’s best defense, the best run defense and the No.
Bell got the ball on just 15 occasions, even though the Steelers led 9-7 midway through the third quarter, and it was enough for the running back to question the game plan.
For as impressive as Jacksonville’s pass defense is, it’s just a replacement-level unit against running backs.