NFL Week 8 London Game - Eagles-Jaguars Preview

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TwinSpires Staff

October 25th, 2018

NFL WEEK 8 London Game Eagles vs Jaguars

Heading to London, neither Philadelphia nor Jacksonville expected to be in this position. The defending champions began the season as a +800 outsider to repeat, but time's sure have changed in two quick months. Philly’s at +2500 to lift the Lombardi Trophy again because things haven’t gone as planned. The Jaguars have been even more disappointing than the Eagles after coming "this close" to edging the Patriots and earning a Super Bowl berth last winter. Jags average less than 17 points, ranking 29th in the NFL. They’ll be lucky to win 8 games. Although both the Eagles and Jaguars are struggling, it doesn’t mean we’re not interested in who wins and covers at Wembley in the Week 8 London Game.

Philadelphia Eagles vs Jacksonville Jaguars Sunday, Oct. 28 – Wembley Stadium, London – 9:30am ET Week 8 London Game Odds: Eagles -3 (42)

Philadelphia Eagles -  Carson Wentz Needs Help Since returning from the injury that sidelined him during the Eagles’ Super Bowl run, Wentz has played well. He’s produced awesome quarterback ratings in 2 of Philly’s last 3. However, the Eagles have also lost 2 of those three games. Wentz is not the be-all and end-all that we felt like he was during his 2017 hot streak. He needs help from Philadelphia’s rushing attack, which has been dreadful compared to what it was last season. Eagles’ only average 102 yards. That’s not enough to keep defenses off-balance so that Wentz can do his thing in the Week 8 London Game.

Where’s the Philly Fire? On the other side of the ball, Eagles’ embers have died to smoky ashes. Philly doesn’t seem intent on doing much other than playing subpar defense, holding teams to under 30 points each game. Last season, Philadelphia dominated quarterbacks, running backs, you name it. The pass rush terrified offensive lines and kept coordinators up at night wondering how to stop Philly’s front-seven from sending their quarterbacks to the sidelines.

That's not the case this season.

Eagles only have 18 sacks, tied with Green Bay. That’s less than fellow NFC squads Chicago, Dallas, L.A. Rams, and Minnesota. What’s worse is that Philadelphia allowed Tennessee and Carolina to both rally for wins after Wentz worked hard to get the lead. The Super Bowl hangover is real.

Is Bortles Starting Good or Bad for Jacksonville? Jacksonville starting quarterback Blake Bortles said he’s not surprised that the team benched him in Week 7 after fumbling twice. Bortles knows he made a mistake, but will it matter?

His last 3 quarterback ratings have been 54.7, 70.8, and 64.9. He completes a sort-of-average 60.6%. If Bortles were a rookie, we could forgive his performances, but this is his fifth season in the NFL and he just signed a contract extension for a lot of money. The Jaguars basically have to start Blake Bortles because their depth behind him involves guys like Cody Kessler.

So is it good or bad? It's both. Bortles is the best that the Jaguars have...and that's a bad thing.

Ramsey’s Talents Wasted Because Jags Can’t Stop the Run Cornerback Jalen Ramsey might talk a lot, but he backs up his smack. The problem is Ramsey's impact on the football field can only really be felt if the front-seven do their job and stop the run. That hasn't happened, and is a huge x-factor in the Week 8 London Game. The Jags allow 122 yards on the ground. Even Ramsey will get burned if he has to continually sneak up to help the front seven against the rush. It got so bad versus Dallas that the Cowboys pretty much told the Jaguars they were going to rush on every play and Jacksonville still couldn’t stop them. The Texans rushed for 141 yards with their mediocre ground game. Houston beat Jax 20-7 and Cowboys beat them 40-7. It’s all because Jax’s run stoppers double as sieves.

Week 8 London Game Betting Analysis and ATS Prediction Hasn’t been much movement on the line since Philly opened at -3. Even the total’s only gone up a single point from 41 to 42. The lack of spread movement implies that pro NFL handicappers aren’t sure where their money will land, and the public is also playing this one cautiously. Trends won’t help anyone decide either. Eagles are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 and 0-5 ATS in their last 5 on grass. Jaguars are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 overall and 1-3-1 ATS in their last 5 in Week 8.

Sounds simple, but the Week 8 London Game is going to come down to quarterback play, since neither team is really that effective at running the ball. Even if the Jaguars suddenly stop an opponent’s ground game, they're going to have to deal with Carson Wentz.

Philly’s defense shouldn’t have trouble containing Bortles (or Kessler if the Jags again pull their starter). Ramsey’s great, but he can’t play every position in the secondary and, eventually, even Ramsey will get burned if he pays too much attention to the rush.

NFL Week 8 London Game Free Pick: Eagles -3