The Eagles (3-0) are hosting Doug Pederson’s Jaguars (2-1) at Lincoln Financial Field at 1 p.m. on Sunday.
To the predictions:
Reuben Frank (2-1)
This is what Doug Pederson does best. He takes on chaos and provides order. He inherits a lost cause and gives them hope. When he arrived in Philly, he took over a team that had fallen to pieces in Chip Kelly’s third season, and within two years there was a parade up Broad Street. This time he’s picking up the pieces of a different college coach, but so far the result is similar. Dramatic improvement. The Jaguars believe in Pederson, and they’ve responded to the culture he’s building. Jacksonville is 2-1 for the first time since 2018, Trevor Lawrence has made a quantum leap in Year 2, and the Jags’ defense has allowed only five touchdowns in three games. All of a sudden, the Jags aren’t a pushover. That said, the Eagles aren’t losing to this team. They’ll need to play closer to 60 minutes than 30 minutes, but the Eagles are rolling right now on both sides of the ball, and they’re not going to let up against their former coach. Tough game. Fascinating matchup.
Eagles 24, Jaguars 20
Dave Zangaro (3-0)
These aren’t the laughingstock Jaguars anymore. They’re a legitimately good team. Doug Pederson has completely flipped the culture and has their young quarterback Trevor Lawrence playing at a really high level. They don’t have incredible weapons but they’re good enough and we’re seeing the staples of Pederson’s offense get the most out of them. On defense, Mike Caldwell’s defense is aggressive and has plenty of talent, especially up front. Newcomer Devin Lloyd is off to a fantastic start. It’s worth mentioning that Caldwell comes from Tampa Bay, where he coached under Todd Bowles. That Bowles defense did a number on Jalen Hurts and the Eagles last season. The playoff game will likely be their blueprint in this one. This is a tough test for the Eagles but overall I still think they’re the more talented team, they’re at home and the Jaguars are coming off a west coast trip to Los Angeles. I think the Eagles will do enough to win a close game. I’m thinking we might see a game-winning drive from Hurts.
Eagles 27, Jaguars 23
Barrett Brooks (3-0)
Doug Pederson's Jaguars will be ready to battle the undefeated Eagles. The Eagles faithful will also give Doug a huge round of applause when he enters Lincoln Financial Field. Now I'm done with the Dougy P Love!
When I break down this young Jaguars team, there is a lot of talent. There are top 10 draft picks everywhere on their roster at key positions. Trevor Lawrence has the ability to be one of the top QBs in the NFL. Pederson is the perfect coach to reignite all the talent that made Lawrence the top pick in the draft. This will be a great test for the secondary, especially after the news that Avonte Maddox is out. One of the safeties, either K'Von Wallace or Reed Blankenship will step in to play. I think C.J. Gardner-Johnson will move seamlessly to nickel CB. Christian Kirk should be shadowed by Darius Slay for a good portion of the game. I have complete faith that James Bradberry and Gardner-Johnson can cover both Marvin and Zay Jones throughout the day. I don't see this as a game where Jonathan Gannon blitzes the young QB. I believe that Gannon will have total faith in the DL getting adequate pressure rushing four.
On offense, the Eagles should rely heavily on the run game against Jacksonville's defense because of the weather forecast. Jacksonville’s defense is explosive and aggressive. The Jags use multiple fronts, using two really good pass rushers in Travon Walker and Josh Allen. The Jags like to use stunts and movements to generate confusion for the Birds’ OL. OC Shane Steichen should run plays that take advantage of the aggressive nature of the DL by running screens, draws, and trap plays that encourage the DL to get up the field. The Birds’ passing game should also be productive, because the Jags’ secondary is the weakness of this team. If the OL can block the games of the defensive front consistently, Jalen Hurts will have opportunities for big plays all day. The Eagles are the better team and experience wins the game.
Eagles 28, Jaguars 21
Mike Mulhern (3-0)
While many are drawing comparisons between this year’s Eagles team and the 2017 squad, the Jaguars bear a fare more striking resemblance to the Super Bowl LII champs. The obvious tie is Doug Pederson as the head coach. They’ve also got a 6-5 top draft pick quarterback with a laser arm. And they spent in the offseason to surround him with receivers, as Christian Kirk and Zay Jones play the parts of Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith. Couple that with a few former first rounders playing at a high level on defense, and you can see why saying “Jaguars” and “Super Bowl” in the same sentence isn’t a crazy stretch.
Sunday will be a tough test for the Birds. Pederson surely wants this one badly after he “didn’t deserve” to be fired but was asked to clear out his Häagen-Dazs from the freezer anyway. His team just throttled the Chargers and they’re riding high, but Justin Herbert was banged up and at one point Los Angeles was missing nearly half of their starters due to injury. The Chargers are a top-heavy team without much depth and the Jaguars took full advantage of that. The Eagles on the other hand are extremely healthy and deep. Therein lies the difference this week.
The Eagles will take care of business and we’ll quickly turn our attention to Arizona. And I don’t mean their week 5 matchup with the Cardinals.
Eagles 27, Jaguars 20
Adam Hermann (3-0)
Plenty of football evaluators and analysts could've seen the Eagles at 3-0 with a robust hype train heading into this matchup. Far fewer would've expected a winning Jaguars team with intrigue and upside. But that's where things stand: Jacksonville isn't the pushover Birds fans might've expected when the schedule was unveiled, and Sunday's game might be a close one.
The Jags have the No. 7 offense and No. 3 defense in the league in terms of EPA (expected points added) per play, and the No. 1 net rating. Trevor Lawrence is completing 70% of his passes and looking sharp and decisive thanks in large part to Doug Pederson's stewardship, and Jacksonville's defense has tons of talent up front in players like Travon Walker and Josh Allen. The Jags have seven sacks and eight forced turnovers in three games.
Again: Sunday's game might be a close one.
Still, I think the Eagles come away victorious. They have more talent up and down the roster, they have a more dynamic and dangerous quarterback, and they have homefield advantage. The city of Philadelphia is absolutely psyched about this team, and once the cheers for Pederson's return die down I have confidence in a revitalized Jonathan Gannon dialing up the right amount of pressure on Lawrence to make him uncomfortable against a strong defense in a hostile road environment.
Give me another Darius Slay interception at crucial juncture in the second half and a relatively comfortable fourth quarter punctuated by a garbage time Lawrence touchdown pass - too little, too late as the Eagles move to 4-0.
Eagles 27, Jaguars 21
Subscribe to the Eagle Eye podcast