Washington Redskins (7-7 SU, 7-7 ATS) vs. Philadelphia Eagles (6-8 SU, 6-8 ATS)
NFL Week 16
Date/Time: Saturday, December 26, 2015 at 8:25PM EST
Where: Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
TV: NFL Network
by Scott, NFL Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: WAS +3/PHI -3
Over/Under Total: 47.5
On Saturday Night Football, the Washington Redskins come into Philly to face the Philadelphia Eagles in a key NFC East battle. Washington has put themselves in a position to win the division with a victory on Saturday. Standing in their way is the team most interested in preventing thatdivision rival the Philadelphia Eagles. The Redskins won a big one on Sunday, beating the Bills, 35-25. On Sunday night, the Eagles fell to the Cardinals, putting their postseason hopes in major jeopardy. This is a must-win for the Eagles and well see how they respond in whats really been a disappointing season.
The Redskins got hot at the right time, winning three of four to take command of the division at 7-7. For a team that started the season so badly, its a major accomplishment for them to be in this spot heading into week 16. They are a semi-dangerous team heading into this part of the seasonnot altogether dependable, but a team that can play well and is galvanized in their ability to overcome adversity. A win here and theyre the NFC East champions, something that seemed highly unlikely when the season began.
One of the teams favored to take the division this season was the Eagles and they are still in there with a chance, but need some things to go right. It just didnt work out for any number of reasons this season. Sam Bradford has had his moments and an injury didnt help, but hes been at least a bit of a letdown. The numerous acquisitions havent paid off terrible well, especially the DeMarco Murray signing. A revamped team just hasnt resonated all that well. They won two in a row before falling to the Cardinals on Sunday night, 40-17. And a loss to the Cardinals isnt anything to be ashamed of, despite the lopsidedness of it. Still, its been a rough season by any measure.
These NFC East teams already played this season on October 4, with the Redskins winning, 23-20. The game was won late by Washington, as Kirk Cousins led the winning drive, capped off with a TD pass to Pierre Garcon to post the go-ahead score. Such has been the case repeatedly for the Eagles this season, as the D has been a source of many late collapses. Sam Bradford had a good game, but Cousins was more clutch and that made the difference in a close game.
A lot of credit goes to Cousins this season for his fine play. On Sunday, he threw for 319 yards in the win over the Bills and tossed 4 touchdown passes. In 2015, he has completed almost 70% of his throws and has over 3600 yards. Hes relied heavily on Garcon and tight end Jordan Reed. On Sunday, Reed caught a pair of TD passes and Garcon added one. But DeSean Jacksons blossoming play really gives this offense some hope. After battling an injury most of the season, he got into a nice groove on Sunday with 153 yards and a TD through the air. Alfred Morris had a good game and this offense is pretty good on the right day. Unless the Philly D can come up with some answers, this might be one of those days.
The Redskins defense has gotten better this season, as well. Theyre getting good performances from guys like Ryan Kerrigan, Dashon Goldson (questionable) and Chris Baker, among others. A defense that is ranked 28th against the run has started playing better, especially against the opposing ground-game. Its by no means anything resembling a foolproof unit, but theyre getting better and peaking at the right time.
Last week against the Cardinals, the Eagles turned the ball over 4 times. Bradford threw for 361 yards, but 2 interceptions and a fumble undermined his cause. Again, we saw DeMarco Murray sulking on the sidelines after running for 3 yards. And while having Jordan Matthews as a number-one receiver this season hasnt really panned out, he was good on Sunday with 159 yards on 8 catches. Its an offense that bears little resemblance to the good offense we saw from this team over the past few seasons.
For as bad as the offense has been at times, the Eagles defense has been worse. And when the time arises to produce a timely big play, this defense evaporated every single time. On top of that, theyre decidedly porousthe 29th ranked defense in the NFL. Giving up 187 yards on the ground to David Johnson on Sunday was another example of how bad this D can be. Time and again, this defense takes away from the team rather than adding to it. If the game is on the line and its the Phillys defense job to make something good happen, you might as well turn off the TV. More often than not, thats how its been through 14 games.
Washington has more going for it right now with an inside track to win the division. Theyre performing closer to their ceiling and look to close out the division this week. But the Eagles caught a tough spot last week against the red-hot Cardinals. They won two in a row just before that and this game is more in their context. I see them rallying back on the short week and performing well at home this week.
Scott’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Im betting on the Philadelphia Eagles minus 3 points.
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