It’s the final week of the regular season and there are several playoff seeds on the line. These NFC East foes look to rebound after suffering embarrassing losses last week. The Washington Football Team travel north to try to clinch the division with a win over the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday Night Football (8.20pm ET; TV: Live on NBC).
Washington had an opportunity to clinch the division last week but fell to head coach Ron Rivera’s former team, the Carolina Panthers. They didn’t even look competitive until they benched reserve quarterback Dwayne Haskins, which set off a tumultuous week.
Haskins was ultimately released after several abysmal performances on the field and a slew of problematic decisions off it. The former first round pick is now a free agent.
Undrafted quarterback Taylor Heinicke came in to finish the game with Haskins benched and starting quarterback Alex Smith out again due to a calf injury. Heinicke played fairly well in garbage time and finished with 137 yards and a touchdown on 12 completions. Most importantly he didn’t throw in any interceptions.
Smith’s status will need to be monitored throughout the week. If the veteran is unable to go it looks like Heinicke will be making his second career start. Smith did not practice on Wednesday, but head coach Ron Rivera said he wouldn’t hesitate starting him despite not practicing all week.
Even if Smith is unable to go WFT should be able to exploit an Eagles’ defense that has been lackluster at best. The Philadelphia defense allows 26.2 points per game on the season and has allowed 30.3 points per over their last three. Their secondary has been decimated with injuries and it has really shown as of late. They have allowed 243.5 passing yards per game throughout the season, which is 21st in the NFL. Over their last three they have given up 349.0 yards through the air per game, which is dead last.
The Washington offense hasn’t been great through the air after the loss of Alex Smith and star wide receiver Terry McLaurin. If there is any secondary that Washington can dominate right now it’s this abysmal unit. McLaurin missed last week with an ankle injury and his status will need to be monitored. He is one of the most key pieces to this offense. McLaurin was listed as ‘did not practice’ on Wednesday, but reporters saw him doing some individual work with trainers.
How can Philadelphia possibly be motivated this week? They had their playoff hopes crushed by Dallas last week with an embarrassing loss. The only motivation I can think of is knocking out their division rivals and not allowing Washington to win the division, but I think a lot of guys will be checked out and already planning their offseason vacations.
Rookie quarterback Jalen Hurts will be highly motivated to put the team on his back and lead them to a win, but I think this may end with him trying to do too much and forcing several mistakes. This Washington defense is one of the best in the league and will be licking their chops lining up against the rookie starter. Hurts looked pedestrian last week against a subpar Dallas defense. He threw two interceptions, was sacked three times, and lost one fumble.
The Washington defense can get after the quarterback with the best of them. They are tied for fourth in the NFL and average 2.9 sacks per game. Rookie defensive end Chase Young has been a man amongst boys for much of the season. He has 6.5 sacks, 11.5 tackles for loss, four forced fumbles, and two fumble recoveries on the season. I expect them to bring the house and disrupt the rookie quarterback, which should lead to several sacks and several turnovers.
Our Preview’s WFT vs Eagles Predictions & Betting Picks Opinion
USA Betting is going to be playing the Washington Football Team as slight road favorites in a must-win game. I am slightly concerned about the quarterback situation and of course hope Alex Smith can go, but I think either option will be able to exploit such a bad Eagles’ secondary. They have enough weapons especially with their skilled running backs that can catch the ball as well.
I expect the defense to dominate and cause havoc for the rookie quarterback Hurts and that the offense will be able to do enough to get the win. I am going to take them on the spread as slight favorites, which is hovering around one to one and a half points in most spots. I am banking on a strong defensive performance and also have questions about how motivated will Philadelphia be. So for the Washington vs Eagles predictions for this preview, go with this wager:
- Bet on WFT -1pt on the spread @ best odds of -110 with Bookmaker.