One or both of these things are true.
The Philadelphia Eagles are a legitimate Super Bowl threat and/or the Jacksonville Jaguars are the breakthrough team of 2022.
We have evidence to support both claims, and this week one of those is going to be elevated when the Eagles host the Jaguars at Lincoln Financial Field.
Philadelphia is the loan undefeated team in the league following the Dolphins absorbing their first loss of the season on Thursday night in Cincinnati. The Jaguars knocked off one of the preseason favorites to win it all last week on their opponent’s home field. Trevor Lawrence seems to have made that common transition for future stars from their first season to their succeeding campaigns.
“The game slows down,” Steve Young once told me while attempting to explain how much better one gets with practice and experience. Lawrence seems to have gotten all the work in to allow his extraordinary skills to shine bright. Over the past two weeks, the Jaguars have shutout the Indianapolis Colts, 24-0, and clobbered the Chargers by four touchdowns, 38-10.
Now they head to the City of Brotherly Love and we are going to find out whether Jacksonville is going to continue this solid run, or revert to what happened to them in their opener at Washington when they got beat, 28-22.
What we have here is a situation where we need to decide whether the Eagles chances of going to four wins without a loss is a better possibility than the Jaguars picking up a third win and second straight on the road? Whichever team wins this game will answer that question, and I think I know the answer before the game is played on Sunday.
Either team would have to be special to win here, but the Eagles have a lot better chance of winning this game based on talent, location and flow. The Jaguars are not going to come off a win in Los Angeles, which was motivationally handed to them by the Chargers, and win in Philadelphia.
How was it motivationally handed to the Jaguars last week in Los Angeles? Here’s how; Los Angeles Quarterback Justin Herbert was definitely not going to play as of Friday’s practice. And on Saturday, the Chargers third-year signal caller pleaded his case with his coaches that he was ready to go, despite suffering a significant rib injury in their prior game.
In a move I could have told Chargers Head Coach Brandon Staley was a real bad idea, they allowed Herbert to lobby himself into the start. The team had spent all week preparing to compensate for the loss of Herbert and the insertion of Chase Daniels, but then on Sunday, Herbert started for the Chargers. The point spread on the game went from the Chargers favored by 3 points to 6½ points when it was learned Herbert was going to start the afternoon contest.
Preparing to compensate for the loss of, and then not having that loss, creates a motivational chasm on a par with the gap I viewed at the Grand Canyon last June. The team is suddenly put in a motivational stupor the moment they are relieved they don’t have to play to a level to compensate for the loss of their starting quarterback.
Couldn’t be worse motivation.
And the Chargers both retarded Herbert’s recovery from a serious injury, and got shellacked in front of their home fans by 28 points.
Do you think the Jaguars know that their one-sided triumph over the Chargers was destined by their opponent being motivationally DOA?
No, the Jaguars think they are good enough to win.
Best news, so do the Eagles.
If the Eagles came into this game thinking 4-0 was for sure against a suspect Jacksonville team, the point spread would be a major obstacle for a Philadelphia cover. But, they are preparing for a Jaguars team that has won two in a row and blew out the Chargers last week. Which means this, the Eagles are the better team, at home, with solid preparation advantages. For all that, we have to pay the price of nearly a touchdown on the point spread.
It’s a small price to pay for the winner. In fact, no price at all.
Qoxhi Picks: Philadelphia Eagles (-6½) over Jacksonville Jaguars