PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Good news! The Eagles are in first place in the NFC East after four weeks. The bad news? They’re 1-2-1 and have looked mediocre at best this season. The Birds are in the midst of a brutal three-game stretch that saw them eke out a win over the 49ers last week. Now, they’ll face the 3-0 Pittsburgh Steelers, with fans in attendance for the first time this season, before returning home to face reigning MVP Lamar Jackson and the Ravens.
The CBS3 Digital Team breaks down this week’s game.
Matt Bowker: Are we sure the Steelers are good? They’re 3-0 but beat the Giants, Broncos and Texans, who are a combined 1-11 this season.
Regardless, are we sure the Eagles are any better than those teams? Coming off a gritty win over an equally banged-up 49ers team, I want to pick the Eagles in this game, but I just don’t see it.
The Steelers’ defense is second in the NFL in sacks with 15 — two behind the Eagles — and the Birds’ patchwork offensive line has allowed the third-most sacks in the league this year.
Furthermore, the Steelers have the league’s stingiest run defense, allowing just 2.7 yards per carry.
Add that all up and Carson Wentz, who leads the NFL with seven interceptions, will be forced to carry the Eagles to a win in this one. If he can scramble and make plays with his feet like he did vs. the Niners, the Birds may have a chance. But the weapons and firepower just aren’t there.
Prediction: Steelers 27, Eagles 13
Tom Dougherty: The Eagles stole a win last Sunday in San Francisco. Stealing another one this week will be much more difficult. Pittsburgh features one of the league’s staunchest defenses, allowing just 290 yards and 19.3 points per game. Sure, the quality of competition isn’t exactly elite, but neither are the Birds.
The Eagles struggle to score points — 26th in the NFL, averaging 21 points — and struggle to gain yards — 28th in the league with 319 per game. They still have a receiver and an offensive line problem.
Carson Wentz has had three abysmal games and one solid performance, last Sunday in San Francisco. Wentz wasn’t a problem in the 49ers game, and the Eagles need him to use that as a building block — not exactly something you want to say about a fifth-year quarterback with $107.9 million guaranteed.
Doug Pederson got Wentz out of the pocket against San Francisco, and Wentz looked comfortable doing so. The Birds will try that again on Sunday, but this Steelers defense is legit. It’ll be close, but Pittsburgh wins.
Prediction: Steelers 24, Eagles 21
Alyssa Adams: Maybe a primetime win is exactly what the Eagles needed in order to turn this season around.
Carson Wentz played the best 60 minutes of football we’ve seen from him so far this season in Sunday’s win over the 49ers. And in order to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers this week, Wentz is going to need to have another solid game and get the ball in the endzone.
It’s going to be up to Wentz and the team’s young receivers to step up and make plays this week as the Steelers have a strong run defense. They’ve allowed 162 rushing yards — average 2.7 yards per carry — and one rushing TD in the first three games of the season.
The Eagles defense will also have their hands full this weekend. Steelers running back James Conner has rushed for more than 100 yards in his last two games.
But as long as the Eagles can put points on the board, something they have struggled with, I think they can get the job done.
Prediction: Eagles 28, Steelers 24
Matt Higgins: Just when you were ready to give up all hope, the Eagles suck you right back in after beating the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday night for their first win of the season and claim the top spot — for now — in the NFC Least.
Now, the Birds face future Hall-of-Famer Ben Roethlisberger and the 3-0 Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field, where 5,500 fans will be allowed in the stadium on Sunday.
Carson Wentz and the Eagles offense are taking on a Steelers defense that has been giving up only 19 points-per-game so far. The Birds won’t have Alshon Jeffery and DeSean Jackson. Can Wentz rely on a wide receiving corps of Greg Ward, JJ Arcega-Whiteside, Travis Fulgham and John Hightower against a good Steelers D? Ehhhhhh. And the Steelers are only giving up 54 rushing yards per game, so Doug Pederson is going to have to come up with some creative schemes to get the ball in Miles Sanders’ hands.
The Birds stepped up defensively against the 49ers with three takeaways, but they are facing a much different beast in the Steelers. The Steelers running game, led by James Conner, has been racking up nearly 140 rushing yards per game. And Big Ben has connected for seven touchdown passes through three games with only one interception. Fletcher Cox, Brandon Graham and company need to rattle Ben in the pocket and make him uncomfortable all game to have a chance.
I’ve been wrong with my picks the past two weeks, so maybe I can pull a reverse jinx once again to help the Eagles win.
Prediction: Steelers 30, Eagles 20
Erik Chambliss: It’s Week 5 of the NFL season and we still do not know what kind of team the Philadelphia Eagles are. Sadly, that won’t change this week either, as the Birds are taking on their toughest opponent yet in the undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers.
As it’s been mentioned, the Steelers are coming off an extra week of rest which can only help a team that depends so much on the blitz.
According to Pro Football Focus, the Steelers, through three weeks, are tops in the league in both blitz and pressure percentage. That, coupled with going against a makeshift offensive line, means that Carson Wentz will be under consistent pressure and will be taking a ton of hits.
That has not meant success for Wentz, who has a passer rating below 30 when he is under pressure.
That would lead one to think that running the ball would be the solution, but not so fast. Pittsburgh ranks just ahead of the Eagles in tackles for loss on run plays.
There aren’t many weak points in this Pittsburgh defense. In my opinion, the only way the Birds pull this one out is by scoring multiple times on either defense or special teams. But one can only hope that happens.
Prediction: Steelers 28, Eagles 10