Denver Broncos @ Philadelphia Eagles
Sunday November 5th, 18:00 GMT
TV - Live on Sky Sports Main Event
These two teams are heading in different directions. Philly are 7-1 and have won all their home games, by an average of over 15 points. By contrast, Denver are on a three game skid, have lost every one of their road games, and have become so desperate to create something on offense that they've brought back a quarterback they'd previously let go.
The return of Brock Osweiler is understandable in the sense that, with Trevor Siemian playing so badly, something had to be done. And Osweiler will need to inspire this team quickly. Because their running game is set to hit a brick wall - a Philly D that has allowed the fewest rushing yards per game in the NFL. CJ Anderson will hit it first. And then Jamaal Charles. Philadelphia have given up just 70 yards a game to rushers, and it's a huge part of why they keep winning.
Having looked deep into the stats though, it appears there is some light at the end of the tunnel for one Denver running back. The Eagles have been one of the softest teams in the NFL against pass-catching backs. And it just so happens that the Broncos have been gradually increasing the workload of Devontae Brooker. He's been eased back from injury and looks ready for a breakout performance.
Despite all their success, the Eagles are vulnerable through the air. And with Osweiler sure to be keen to impress, the likes of Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders could make some big plays. Thomas has been the go-to man on the deep ball, and so looks the most likely to benefit. The Eagles look most vulnerable though to tight ends, having surrendered five TDs and the fifth most yards in the league to them. So watch out for AJ Derby and Virgil Green.
Quarterback Carson Wentz has been a revelation this season for the Eagles. And he'll need to be at his best here because the Broncos should stand firm against a poor Philly rushing unit. LeGarrette Blount has struggled - that's why the Eagles have just signed Dolphins rusher Jay Ajayi. I don't expect either to impress though against a D that's allowed just three yards per rush - the lowest in the NFL.
Wentz has been the difference maker for the Eagles in nearly all their wins, but can he do it against a secondary that's given up the fewest passing yards in the entire NFL? I don't think so. Slot receiver Nelson Agholor will face his toughest game of the season, as will wideout Alshon Jeffrey. One man who can prosper though is Zach Ertz. The only place the Broncos secondary has looked at all vulnerable is against tight ends. And it just happens that with seven touchdowns, Ertz has been Philly's best receiver.
But if Denver have such an amazing defense, then why have they been losing? Well in one word - turnovers. Namely, their problems at quarterback, which have in turn led to too many turnovers. Trevor Siemian threw more picks than TDs this year. So if Osweiler can avoid turning the ball over, then that's an immediate and significant improvement for the Broncos.
On current form, this looks like a match-up between a lion and a gazelle, with the Eagles rampant and Denver suffering. But remember that sometimes the gazelle gets away. The handicap of over a touchdown is big, and with the change at QB for the Broncos, it's Denver who look the value call. With such strong defenses on the field, kickers Jake Elliot and Brandon MacManus could get plenty of opportunities, with Philly's Elliot have the greater length.
***UPDATE - Zach Ertz ruled out injured just prior to kick-off***
4pts Denver (+7.5) to beat Philadelphia @ 1.9010/11
4pts Denver (+3.5) to beat Philadelphia at H/T @ 1.981/1
3pts CJ Anderson rushing yards Under 52.5 @ 5/6
3pts AJ Derby receiving yards Over 25.5 @ 5/6
3pts Carson Wentz passing yards Under 221 @ 5/6
1pt AJ Derby to score 1st Denver TD @ 8/1
1pt Virgil Green to score 1st Denver TD @ 16/1
1pt Devontae Booker to score anytime TD @ 13/2