The Philadelphia Eagles travel to New York to take on the Buffalo Bills in Week 8 of the NFL. Looking for value in the NFL Week 8 odds? Read on to inform your NFL Week 8 predictions.
NFL Week 8 predictions
This season’s surprise packages, the 5-1 Buffalo Bills, entertain a 3-4 Philadelphia Eagles who are ending a run of three road games, which have so far led to two heavy defeats.
Seventeen consecutive seasons of failure to make the playoffs were broken by the 2017 Bills, but rather than attempting to build on that success, they instead began a quarterback rebuild by drafting Josh Allen.
The 9-7 2017 season, unsurprisingly, fell back to 6-10 as inaccurate passing from Allen’s college career followed him into his rookie season.
Philadelphia’s chances of making the playoffs has already fallen to around 30%
An average completion rate of just under 53% marked him down as one of the NFL’s least efficient passers and his yards per attempt and interception rates were also well below par, even if his rushing contribution gave a welcome addition and variety to his play.
2019 has seen an uptick in many of these flawed key performance indicators from 2018. Allen’s accuracy has improved to over 62%, with only the inexperienced quarterback’s nemesis, Bill Belichick and New England forcing Allen to a sub 50% completion rate.
Yards per attempt has also shown incremental gains, although his at times wayward arm has remained at his rookie levels when throwing interceptions. His dual threat with his legs remains.
Buffalo Bills analysis: A team with a limited offense?
Buffalo are still not a formidable offensive unit, but Allen’s expected continued struggles to make the step up to the pros hasn’t wholly materialized either.
Buffalo rank in the bottom third of NFL offenses. Allen throws half a yard per attempt below the average yardage allowed by teams he has faced and it is the running game, which Allen is very much a part of, that is their elite offensive threat.
However, an offense that is under pinned by a strong ground game rarely lights up the scoreboard, and Buffalo score three points per match fewer than the par allowed by their opponents in 2019. That is still an improvement of nearly three points per game from their 2018 levels.
The defensive side of the ball has maintained 2018’s excellent levels of efficiency against the pass. The Bills are allowing 0.7 of a yard less per attempt than average for their opponent, although their rushing defense has fallen from above to below average in 2019.
Overall they have kept points off the board, allowing five fewer points per game than opponents usually score and while their 5-1 record may slightly flatter them, they are worthy of a currently-winning season and have a relatively benign campaign ahead of them.
Philadelphia Eagles analysis: Can the Birds still reach the play-offs?
If the Bills record has been a welcome surprise for their fans, Philadelphia’s current campaign has fallen well below the top end of their pre-season expectations.
They have lost the opening two games of a three-game road trip that began in Minnesota before moving onto Dallas by a combined 75 – 30 point differential. They’ve also been defeated by current fourth in their respective divisions, Detroit and Atlanta, and their most impressive win in Green Bay is beginning to look like a season outlier.
Philadelphia’s chances of making the playoffs has already fallen to around 30%.
Quarterback, Carson Wentz enjoyed a good rookie season in 2016 and took the Eagles to the post season, although not their subsequent Super Bowl win because of a torn ACL in 2017, then drifted back into the mid-table pack of passers in another injury interrupted 2018.
Wentz threw for just 0.1 of a yard more per attempt than the sides he faced allowed in 2018, but he’s regressed from those league average levels in 2019. Over the first seven matches, he’s half a yard per attempt below par through the air and the ground attack is under-performing to similar levels.
That leaves a side who came into 2019 with Super Bowl aspirations as a mediocre offensive unit, although they have managed to accumulate a few points more per game than their efficiency statistics perhaps deserve.
The Eagles have been similarly unimpressive on the defensive side of the ball, particularly against the pass, where they have allowed half a yard more per attempt than has been par for their opponents. The running defense has been above average, but overall they’ve failed badly to control the scoreboard, allowing nearly six more, opponent adjusted points per game.
Philadelphia Eagles @ Buffalo Bills: Where might bettors find value?
Buffalo enter the contest with the better statistical indicators, although there is a feeling that Philadelphia are potentially better than they have shown, and that the Bills may be prone to an inconsistency that comes from a relatively inexperienced passer.
Efficiency matchups suggest average offensive output from the Bills, with Carson Wentz needing to reproduce his 2017 levels of performance rather than his subsequent, injury riddled output, to keep the Eagles competitive.
If he stays in a rut, the Bills are favoured by five points, a figure that is confirmed if we take a solely points-based approach, with 42 total points likely. So, with the current lines making the Bills a slightly smaller home favourite, the hosts are taken to cover.