Denver Broncos (3-4) at Philadelphia Eagles (7-1)
The Broncos opened the season 3-1, but have lost 3 straight games since the bye. Their defense has remained incredible, giving up a total of 42 first downs and 4 offensive touchdowns to the Giants, Chargers, and Chiefs combined, but their offense has struggled mightily to move the ball and they are -9 in turnover margin over that 3 game stretch (11-2). The good news is turnover margin tends to be very inconsistent on a week-to-week basis. For example, the Broncos had a -3 turnover margin last week and teams, on average, follow up a -3 turnover margin with a turnover margin of around -0.1, essentially even. On the season, the Broncos are -11 in turnover margin, but still rank 5th in first down rate differential at 4.27%, tied with Philadelphia.
In an attempt to stop the turnovers, the Broncos have switched quarterbacks from Trevor Siemian (6 interceptions in the last 3 games) to Brock Osweiler. Osweiler might not be an upgrade over Siemian, but he should do a better job of avoiding turnovers than his predecessor. Osweiler also gets talented wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders back from injury, for the first time since he injured his ankle week 6 against the Giants. It’s no coincidence that the 2.5 games he missed coincided with this terrible offensive stretch. With him back out there, it makes things easier for this whole offense.
The problem is the Broncos have arguably their toughest game of the season this week. Not only do they have to travel to Philadelphia to play the 7-1 Eagles, but the Eagles are in a great spot with a bye week on deck, while the Broncos have to turn around and play another tough game at home against New England next week. Home favorites of 6+ are 44-15 ATS since 2002 before a regular season bye, while teams are 40-70 ATS since 2014 before being home underdogs of 4 or more (Denver is +5.5 against the Patriots on the early line). We’re not really getting much line value with the Eagles because the Broncos are an underrated team, but the Eagles are worth a bet because they’re in such a good spot schedule wise.
Philadelphia Eagles 23 Denver Broncos 13
Pick against the spread: Philadelphia -7