Philadelphia Eagles (0-0 SU, 0-0 ATS) vs. Washington Redskins (0-0 SU, 0-0 ATS)
NFL Week 1
Date and Time: Monday September 9th, 2013. 7:00PM Eastern
Where: Fedex Field Landover, M.D.
by Jay, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: Phil +3/WASH -3
Over/Under Total: 51
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The first episode of Monday Night Football kicks off September 9th when the Washington Redskins host the Philadelphia Eagles for a big NFC East opener when both teams collide at FedEx Field. The Eagles will get the luxury of introducing the Chip Kelly era in the primetime spotlight. However the bad news for Eagles fans is that they will be facing some tough obstacles in their first week not only internally with several injuries but also externally with the Washington Redskins who hope to challenge for the NFC Championship in 2013.
The Eagles have suffered a ton of preseason injuries in recent weeks which are bound to frustrate Chip Kelly's debut. Perhaps the most significant of those injuries was an ACL tear to wide receiver Jeremy Maclin. Maclin was the leading receiver for the Eagles in 2012 with 69 catches for 857 yards. Needless to say, Maclin's presence will be missed as the offense tries to get accustomed to Chip Kelly's new up tempo attack. Still the bigger focal point for the offense resides at the quarterback position where Michael Vick earned the starting nod after a fairly tight quarterback battle this offseason with Nick Foles.
Can Vick find some consistency and be a reliable threat for the offense? Last year Vick completed just 58% passing and tossed just 12 touchdowns with 10 picks. Obviously Kelly's new offense may be the ideal fit for Vick as it will allow him to move his feet and throw on the run. Still, Vick will have to be consistent if he wants to stay behind center. The offense in general is going to have to find ways to move the football consistently. After all the Eagles defense allowed 27.8 points per game in 2012 which was among the worse averages in the NFL. Still, the offense remains an enigma perhaps waiting to be unveiled. Surely Kelly has not shown the best of the up tempo offense and he will find ways to get the ball into the hands of their playmakers. Expect speedy wide out DeSean Jackson to play a big role in this new offense and to get different looks all over the field. Kelly designed his offense to get the ball in the hands of his playmakers while at Oregon and I would expect much of the same in 2013. Of course the big question remains if this Chip Kelly offense can succeed in the NFL?
On the other side of the field, the Washington Redskins will enter their home opener as slight 3 point favorites over the Eagles. However, the betting public has favored the Redskins heavily with as much as 75% of early betting action favoring the home team. Perhaps the biggest reason Washington is the betting publics' sexy pick surrounds the health of QB Robert Griffin III. RG3 ended the 2012 season with significant ACL and LCL damage in his knee that required offseason surgery. Well the good news for Redskins is that RG3 has claimed he is back to 100% health and will be ready to lead Washington towards a run at the NFC Championship this year.
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Last year RG3 was spectacular in his rookie debut passing for 3,200 yards with 20 touchdowns and 5 picks. Oh yeh he rushed for 815 yards and 7 additional touchdowns as well and perhaps more importantly transformed the Washington offense into an every down threat overnight. A healthy RG3 definitely means the Redskins offense should be full of firepower in 2013 especially in the passing game.
Of course the Washington backfield is not too shabby either as running back Alfred Morris is set for his 2nd season in the NFL. Morris became a big threat for the Redskins as a rookie last season rushing for 1,613 yards and 13 touchdowns on the season. Of course RG3's elusiveness helped open up some of those holes in the running game, but Morris capitalized to say the least. It will be interesting to see if both Morris and RG3 can have that same type off success in 2013 and what opposing defenses decide to do in effort to slow down the Redskins offense. Obviously the offense is going to take the Redskins as far as they can go in 2013 but the question is how far will it be?
Jay's Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Call this the obvious pick but I just do not see Chip Kelly and the Eagles offense gelling in week 1. The Redskins are much more balanced and their defense is also on the upswing. I like Washington to win this one without too much difficulty. Take Washington -3!
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