Nick Foles will always be remembered and revered in Philly as the man who brought the city its first Super Bowl title. But the Philadelphia Eagles are Carson Wentz’s team, and now that the strong-armed quarterback has recovered from his shredded knee, he’s ready to assume the starting role. Wentz was having an MVP season in 2017 before sustaining a serious injury in a Week 14 win over Los Angeles. Foles saved the day and earned Super Bowl MVP, but he’s back to riding the bench against the Indianapolis Colts in Week 3.
This contest in Week 3 of the regular season will go down Sunday, September 23, 2018, at 1 p.m. ET at Lincoln Financial Field.
NFL Opening Odds at BookMaker.eu
Indianapolis Colts +6
Philadelphia Eagles -6
Not even the return of Wentz could sway the opening line for this game. The spread hit the board at Philadelphia -6.5 and was wagered down to -6. The Colts look like a different team with Andrew Luck back and an improved defense, which has impressed their backers. Still, I expect to see some movement in this line before kickoff. The total also took a small hit falling to 47.5 after opening at 48.
Mike Wallace – Now that Wentz is ready to return, he may not have anyone to throw the ball to. With Alshon Jeffery still on the mend from shoulder surgery, the Eagles lost Wallace to a fractured fibula in last week’s loss to Tampa Bay, further thinning the depth at the position. It’ll be up to Kamar Aiken, DeAndre Carter and Shelton Gibson to pick up the slack. Between them they have six catches this season.
Jay Ajayi – Another Eagles skill player got banged up when Ajayi left Sunday’s game briefly with a back injury. It was a good sign that he returned, but he was clearly not the explosive player we’ve seen. Ajayi carried the ball seven times for 23 yards with 20 of those yards coming on one play before getting hurt. With Ajayi sidelined during the second quarter, Corey Clement and Wendell Smallwood had an increased workload.
Player to Watch
All eyes will be on Wentz when he takes the field for the first time since last December. There has never been a controversy as to who is the starter, despite Foles taking the club to the Super Bowl last season and winning it. Foles was the game’s MVP and knew his role when he resigned with the club in the offseason.
Wentz put up MVP-type numbers last season, throwing for nearly 3,300 yards with a league-high 33 touchdown passes at the time of his injury. And the Eagles were the NFL’s highest scoring team at the time. It looked like any chance they had of advancing in the postseason was lost with Wentz, but that wasn’t the case. Now it’s up to Wentz to show that there are no lasting effects. It may take some time for Wentz to start feeling comfortable in the pocket and that gives the Colts a good chance to steal a victory.
After giving up a league-high 56 sacks last season and nearly losing their star quarterback for good due to the abuse he received while playing, there is a new attitude in Indianapolis. The change started when the Colts used their first-round draft pick to grab Quenton Nelson, arguably the top lineman in the draft. They also signed Matt Slauson as a free agent.
And Andrew Luck couldn’t be happier. After taking 156 sacks during his first five seasons, he’s been brought down only three times in two games. That averages out to 24 sacks over a full 16-game schedule, which would be the fewest in any season where he’s played more than 10 games.
Free ATS Pick
We figured the Colts would score points with Luck back behind center, but we didn’t account for improved defensive play. After finishing near the bottom in total defense last season, the Colts are a top-10 unit in the early going. It’s a small sample size, but it seems like the Colts have responded to Frank Reich’s coaching philosophy.
And the Eagles lost some of their luster after getting abused by the Bucs last week. But I expect Philly to bounce back with a solid defensive showing and the euphoria of getting Wentz back in the lineup will certainly help the offense. Take the Eagles to cover at home, but it’ll take Wentz a game or two to get his legs back, making the under a good bet.
NFL Betting Odds: Eagles 27, Colts 17
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