Following the Dallas Cowboys’ Thursday night victory, the (6-5) Washington Redskins and (5-6) Philadelphia Eagles watched their hopes of winning the NFC East take a hit. It is do-or-die time for these rivals as the loser of tonight’s game will most likely be kissing their playoff hopes goodbye (8:15 PM ET Monday).
For the past few weeks, fans in Philadelphia have been shaking their heads trying to figure out when and how it all went so wrong. After all, it wasn’t that long ago that the Lombardi Trophy was making its way down Broad Street as the Eagles celebrated their first Super Bowl championship in franchise history. For months, the city was on what amounted to be an untenable high. Going into the 2018-19 season, there was no cause for concern. In fact many betting models, and some of the top USA oddsmakers, had the Eagles as favorites to repeat or among the top three in the betting to win it all.
For Philadelphia, the 2018 season picked up right where 2017’s had left off. Against the Atlanta Falcons in the NFL opener, the Eagles won in a fashion that was eerily similar to how they did when the two teams last met in the first round of last season’s playoffs. Heartbreaking for Atlanta but in Philadelphia, it kept the party going for one more week. All good things must come to an end and for the Eagles that happened in week two when they lost to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Philadelphia won their next game but since then, have gone just 3-5, with several losses coming in devastating fashion.
The impenetrable spirit of the defending Super Bowl champs was hit with a rough blow as people started to wonder if the team made the right offseason moves. Or perhaps it was just the dreaded Super Bowl hangover, that seems to affect the championship-winning team each and every year. One could argue the Eagles lack of success this year stemmed from both of those things as well as one that couldn’t be anticipated or expected: injuries.
Now, every team deals with injuries. It’s bound to happen in a 16-game season of a sport as physical as football. The war of attrition hits all teams, even if it doesn’t hit all equally. For Philadelphia, the injuries have struck early and often however, affecting the team’s ability to game plan with any sort of consistency. Perhaps the worst has been on defense as last year’s unit, which was among the top in the NFL, has had key injuries throughout the secondary. It has been so bad in fact, that the Eagles have fielded defensive lineups of second and third stringers at the cornerback and safety position. That side of the ball has been hit the worst but offensively, the team hasn’t been immune either. They will finally get running back Darren Sproles back this Monday after he’s missed the entire season. Other offensive players have gone in and out as well.
So with injuries, a hangover and changes at coaching positions, it has been an up-and-down year for Philadelphia. This is a team that needs to win on Monday if they don’t want to join the shortlist of Super Bowl champs who failed to make it back to the playoffs the following year.
Hope for Washington?
In many ways, Washington’s season ended the second Alex Smith’s did. Make no mistake, teams can win with second string quarterbacks. The Redskins will be staring down an example of one that did this tonight. Philadelphia improbably won the Super Bowl with a backup quarterback, defying all odds in the process. That is what Washington is hoping to emulate but the problem is, the guy they have isn’t as good as the guy Philadelphia had.
We have mentioned Colt McCoy before but he is worth mentioning again given Washington’s playoff hopes hinge on what he is able to do under center. The Redskins got their first taste of that on Thanksgiving Day when McCoy led the offense against the Cowboys. He didn’t exactly wow. More accurately, he really performed poorly. McCoy threw two touchdowns and three interceptions. He completed 63 percent of his passes but only recorded 268 yards and a QBR of 24.3. Washington lost the game 31-23, so all-in-all, it was still a close result.
With McCoy under center, Washington has had to change the way they have run their offense. As opposed to a guy like Smith, who has pinpoint accuracy and incredible awareness of the field, McCoy’s strength has always been throwing the deep ball. That is an area that the Redskins are the worst in the NFL, having a league-low 11 receptions of over 20 yards. Whether McCoy can significantly make a difference for the Redskins remains to be seen but if ever there was an opportunity it would be today against the patchwork secondary of Philadelphia.
Our Preview’s Washington Redskins vs Philadelphia Eagles Picks & Betting Predictions Verdict
It all comes down to this. The NFC East was wide open just a few weeks ago but now the Cowboys are pulling away. Washington and Philadelphia have had to watch as their hopes of winning the NFC East have slipped. With both teams having already lost to the Cowboys once, they have got a tough but not impossible road to win the division.
It might come down to running the table though as both teams have one game remaining against Dallas and will have one with each other after today. So there is still a hope for whichever NFL team wins tonight.
These are the Washington Redskins vs Philadelphia Eagles predictions for this preview:
- Given the Eagles are playing at home and the fact that McCoy has taken over for Washington, it is not all that surprising that Philadelphia is favored. The bookies make that advantage six points, which seems a little high given the close games the team has played this year. So on the spread, we would prefer to side with Washington +6pts @ best odds of -105 with Bovada. It is generally -110 with the other betting firms.
- As for the total points that may be scored in this NFL game, we like the look of under 45.5pts @ -115, again with Bovada. The other companies are generally under 45pts or lower.
Marilee writes on NFL, MLB, NBA & tennis for USA Betting. Another area of her sporting journalistic expertise is pro wrestling. A native of Philadelphia and a big Eagles fan, she has been a sports writer for many major websites including Bleacher Report and Rant Sports. She started her journalistic career early, as sports editor for her college newspaper.