Neither the Buffalo Bills nor Philadelphia Eagles looked particularly good in their initial preseason game of the year as they meet Thursday night in the City of Brotherly Love each looking for that first victory.
Buffalo Bills at Philadelphia Eagles
Point spread: Eagles -4
Date: Thursday, Aug. 17, 7 p.m. ET
Location: Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia
Bills and Eagles Just Traded With Eachother
The Bills made two shocking trades last week that seem to have weakened the team for 2017 – meaning the NFL’s longest playoff drought is likely to continue. Buffalo dealt its top receiver wide receiver, Sammy Watkins, and top cornerback, Ronald Darby, in separate deals with the Los Angeles Rams and Eagles. In exchange, the Bills acquired Philadelphia wide receiver Jordan Matthews, Rams cornerback E.J. Gaines, as well as second- and third-round picks in 2018. Not only is Matthews not as good as Watkins, he got injured Sunday in his first Buffalo practice, suffering a chip fracture in his sternum.He’ll be out a while.
The Bills and Eagles last played a game that counted in 2015, a 23-20 Philadelphia home win. Buffalo running back LeSean McCoy had 74 yards rushing and 35 receiving in his return to Philadelphia; he had been traded the previous offseason to Buffalo and was very publicly bitter about that with then-Eagles coach Chip Kelly. Watkins had five catches for 81 yards and a score. Philly’s QB that day was Sam Bradford, now with Minnesota. The Eagles are 6-2 ATS in their past eight home games. The Bills are 1-4 ATS in their past five on the road.
Buffalo lost its preseason opener 17-10 at home to Minnesota last Thursday. Bills starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor played three series and hit 5 of 8 attempts for 46 yards. Buffalo receiver Anquan Boldin did not play after participating in just one practice after signing a one-year contract last Monday. He should go here, especially with no Matthews. McCoy also didn’t play. Rookie quarterback Nathan Peterman got plenty more reps than presumed backup QB T.J. Yates, with Peterson going 13-for-25 for 112 yards and a TD. That could mean he’s passing Yates on the depth chart behind Taylor, who was the big loser in the Watkins trade.
The Eagles dropped their preseason opener 24-9 in Green Bay even though Packers starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers didn’t take the field. Philadelphia second-year starting QB Carson Wentz played one series and was 4-for-4 for 56 yards passing and a touchdown. The team’s big free-agent offseason addition, former Bears receiver Alshon Jeffery, didn’t play. Rookie first-round pick Derek Barnett, the 14th overall selection out of Tennessee, had two sacks in the first half. Presumably Darby will make his Philadelphia debut here. Darby, who was the runner-up for NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2015, has been lining up at left corner with the first-team defense in practice.
Bills at Eagles Prediction
Give the points as Eagles win 21-10.