Baltimore Ravens at Philadelphia Eagles (-3, 40.5 o/u)
Even during the preseason, Chip Kelly’s Philadelphia Eagles are one of the most fun teams to watch in the NFL. In addition to Kelly’s innovative systems, one of the things that makes the Eagles so interesting right now is their QB battle. The always divisive Tim Tebow put in a solid performance in Week 1 and is challenging Matt Barkley for the third-string role. Tebow, Barkley, and company will get their second chance to shine today when they host the Baltimore Ravens at Lincoln Financial Field (7:00 PM Eastern).
Apart from expected starter Sam Bradford, who didn’t dress in Philly’s 36-10 win over the Indianapolis Colts last Sunday, the other three Eagle QBs all held their own under center. Second-stringer Mark Sanchez went 2-7 for 52 yards, 1 TD, and no picks, while Barkley was 12 of 20 for 192 yards and one interception. The aforementioned Tebow hit on just 50% of his passes (6 of 12 for 69 yards), but showed his athleticism with a rushing major.
Kelly hasn’t decided whether Bradford will play against the Ravens; the oft-injured Oklahoma product, who is coming back from an ACL tear that sidelined him all of last year, has played only seven games over the last two seasons.
On the other side, three QBs will see action for the Baltimore Ravens. Starter Joe Flacco will be play the first quarter before yielding to backup Matt Schaub and third-stringer Bryn Renner, who engineered the game-winning drive in the Ravens’ 30-27 win over the Saints last week.
Looking at the trends, the Ravens are an impressive 20-9 in preseason games under head coach John Harbaugh. The Eagles are 5-4 under Kelly. The Eagles’ QBs have more to play for, though, especially Barkley and Tebow, who should see the bulk of game action today. That makes the home team, laying the points, the better play.
Pick: Eagles (-3).
(Photo credit: Keith Allison [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons. Photo has been cropped.)