Carson Wentz and the Philadelphia Eagles rollercoaster ride that has been the 2019 NFL season runs into a giant corkscrew this Sunday with the NFC East Division title and a playoff berth on the line against the Dallas Cowboys.
Wentz has been great considering what he has to work with
Since their week 2 loss in Atlanta, the prep process for each week’s Eagles game has been to try to figure out which players will be healthy enough to suit up each Sunday.
While the injuries have impacted the Birds on both sides of the ball, the skill positions on offense have been hit especially hard.
Consider the key pieces of the Eagles offensive skill positions that started in opening week 1 line-up compared to last week 15.
Even when that starting WR’s were healthy, they were god-awful… not providing any help to the Eagles QB.
While opening day starter Jordan Howard replaced by rookie Miles Sanders is certainly not a downgrade at running back, the receiving corps has been decimated:
- Alshon Jeffery replaced by Greg Ward from the practice squad
- Desean Jackson replaced by rookie JJ Arcega Whiteside
- Nelson Agholor replaced by Robert Davis.
- TE Zach Ertz has managed to start every week despite hamstring issues that lingered for a few weeks into the Dolphins game week 13.
Putting The Eagles On His Back
The one true constant throughout this season has been Eagles QB Carson Wentz. After several injury plagued seasons, Wentz has not only started every game, but he’s played in 99% of the snaps this year.
Eagles fans went into the 2019 season looking forward to a great season with a healthy Carson Wentz at the helm of an offense that looked incredibly potent, one that could beat you in so many ways.
- But Carson has been innaccurate at times, and looks to be holding on to the ball longer than he should. However, he is still trying to lead a team of 3rd stringers, and with what talent surrounds him… he has still been a top 10 QB this season.
- Yes, Wentz has 11 fumbles in last 5 games (with 5 lost) and a career mark of 46 fumbles in 54 career games. But most of his fumbles are because he’s trying to do too much with such little talent surrounding him, as well as a subpar O-line who have been inconsistant all season.
- Carson doesn’t throw many interceptions, a trait he has also maintained consistently since his rookie season.
In fact, his 2019 Touchdown to Interception ratio is more than respectable when compared to MVP candidates Lamar Jackson and Russell Wilson and other top passing QB’s this year:
- Lamar Jackson- 33 TD, 6 INT
- Russell Wilson- 28 TD, 5 INT
- Carson Wentz- 25 TD, 7 INT
- Deshaun Watson- 26 TD, 11 INT
- Dak Prescott- 26 TD, 11 INT
All this accomplished, as noted above, with significant skill position injuries resulting in a line-up that is in a constant state of flux.
Always Sunny in Wentzylvania
The bottom line is wins and losses. And, as challenging as it may have been at times, Wentz has put the Eagles in a position to win the division and make the playoffs and that’s all that matters.
Look at this stat line in the 4th quarter/OT of the comeback wins over the Giants and Redskins over the past 2 weeks as Wentz has seemingly put the offense on his back and willed the Eagles to comeback victories :
Passing: 28-35 (80%); 284 yards; 4 TDs, 0 INTs; 138.6 passer rating
While there have been quite a few ugly moments this year, last week’s Redskins game did yield this beautiful play, here’s a great end zone angle on Wentz’ 3Q TD pass to Miles Sanders:
— YRBMetro🦑 (@metro_boonin) December 16, 2019
Much more be written about the Eagles matchup with the Cowboys this Sunday.
Wentz is still much better than Prescott
From a brief historical perspective, while Wentz has better head to head stats compared to Cowboys QB Dak Prescott, the Cowboys have fared better on the winning end more the in recent games:
Dak Prescott in 7 games v. Philadelphia:
1,612 yards 8 TDs 7 INTs 85.3 Rating
Carson Wentz in 6 games v. Dallas:
1,394 yards 11 TDs 2 INTs 97.7 Rating
Dak is 5-2
Wentz is 2-4 pic.twitter.com/hZ0AnoROiI
— Bootleg Fantasy Football (@BootlegFantasy) December 17, 2019
This will be a huge game and all eyes will be on Carson Wentz to see if he can continue to carry this patchwork Eagles offense on his shoulders get a win over the Cowboys Sunday at the Linc in Philadelphia.
When looking forward to betting the Eagles-Cowboys match-up as well as the rest of the NFL action this weekend (including 3 games on Saturday), check out all the action at FanDuel Sportsbook.
FanDuel offers a wide selection of player and game props on every NFL game.
Will they offer a Carson Wentz over-under fumbles prop for Sunday?
The player props have not been posted yet, so we’ll have to wait and see.
Fan Duel offers “Close Loss” insurance with up to a $50 refund on a pre-game moneyline bet if your team loses by 6 points or less.
Another great feature for betting NFL games on FanDuel is the “same game parlay” which allows the player to bet on multiple game and player props designated by FanDuel on the same game.
FanDuel is offering up to a $25 refund if one of your parlay legs doesn’t hit (subject to Fan Duel’s terms/conditions on the number of parlays legs and the odds on each leg.)
There’s so much to explore at FanDuel on NFL pre-game, live in game wagering and futures bets. Go check it out.
The NFL Local Line
From the local perspective, in addition to the Cowboys-Eagles, the Giants play in Washington and the Jets host the Steelers.
As we turn our attention to NFL Week 16, one unique scheduling variable to keep in mind is that Thursday Night Football is over, but this weekend we have three Saturday NFL games scheduled.
DraftKings & FanDuel NFL Week 16 Odds
My 3 Picks – from the Jersey Side
I had just 1 winner last week with the Bills-Steelers game going under the total. The Raiders looked like they would cruise to an easy cover over the Jaguars, but they fell apart in the 2nd half and lost their final home game in Oakland outright to the Jaguars.
The Giants, inspired by what was likely Eli Manning’s last home start, trounced the Dolphins at Met Life.
My NFL Week 15 Recap
- Week 1-2, Season YTD 20-24-1
- Raiders -6.5 over Jaguars (Jaguars 20, Raiders 16)
- Bills and Steelers Under 36 (Bills 17, Steelers 10)
- Dolphins +3.5 over Giants (Giants 36, Dolphins 20)
My NFL Week 16 Selections
Broncos -6.5 over Lions
Broncos rookie Drew Lock is their 3rd different starter at quarterback this year. Lock won his first 2 games against the Chargers and Texans, but he struggled in the snow in losing to the Chiefs in Kansas City last Sunday in Kansas City.
He and the Broncos face a Lions team that is also on their 3rd starting QB this year, David Blough. The Lions are banged up with injuries and have little to play for.
The Broncos D should wreak havoc on the Lions rookie QB all afternoon and I am expecting another solid performance by Lock leading the Broncos to a comfortable win over the Lions in Denver.
Colts -7 over Panthers
The Colts were run out of the Mercedes Benz Superdome last Monday night by the Saints. I’m expecting a rebound effort when they face the Panthers at home on Sunday game against the Panthers.
The Panthers are reeling after the dismissal of Head Coach Ron Rivera 2 weeks ago and are likely handing the QB starting job to West Virginia rookie Will Grier on Sunday, replacing Kyle Allen.
Allen started strong and looked like a revelation after replacing Cam Newton in week 3. However, he’s thrown 11 interceptions in the Panthers last 6 games, all of them losses.
This game came down to which side has fewer negatives and I lean towards the Colts at home to take care of the Panthers to win and cover the 7-point spread.
Vikings -5.5 over Packers
The Vikings steam-rolled the Chargers last Sunday in front of an adoring Vikings crowd in LA. They have won 10 games this year and will be out to avenge their Week 2 loss to the Packers in Green Bay 21-16.
They look to stay undefeated at home and keep their slim playoff hopes alive. The Vikings need to win this week and next week at home vs the Bears.
The Packers are in control of their playoff destiny and could wrap the division with a win on Monday night. If the Packers don’t get the win in Minnesota on Monday night, they will need to win in Detroit in week 17.
I look for the Vikings to keep their perfect home record intact by handling the Pack and setting up some NFC North playoff drama for Week 17.