Washington Redskins vs. Philadelphia Eagles Week 1 Pick
Washington Redskins (0-0 SU, 0-0 ATS) vs. Philadelphia Eagles (0-0 SU, 0-0 ATS)
NFL Week 1
Date/Time: Sunday, September 8, 2019 at 1PM EDT
Where: Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Point Spread: WAS +8.5/PHI -8.5
Over/Under Total: 46
The Washington Redskins come into Lincoln Financial Field to battle the Philadelphia Eagles in a week one NFC East battle. Philly came down to earth a little last season, but still managed to win a playoff game to follow their big Super Bowl win from the previous season. For a big part of the year, the Redskins were leading the division until QB issues brought down their season, finishing off at 7-9. They face a do-or-die season and a tough week one matchup on the road against a good team. Can the Redskins pick up where they left off before injuries derailed their season? Or will the Eagles serve notice that they’re still factors in this conference?
Setting the Table
There may have been some Super Bowl hangover last season, but the Eagles were heavily pelted with injuries. With a lot of their championship roster intact and a lot of useful acquisitions, hopes are high for the Eagles and other than the frontrunners Saints and Rams; they’re right up there. You have a healthy Carson Wentz, and that’s huge—especially if he stays that way. You take a look at this Washington secondary, with Josh Norman no longer the force of old and a subpar group around him, it’s scary to think of what Wentz can do. Now he even has more weaponry. DeSean Jackson returns home, facing his former team in his first game back in Philly. Word out of camp is that Jackson and Wentz are hitting it off nicely. They added running back Jordan Howard, who should be productive in his new role.
The Redskins, meanwhile, need a lot of things to go right if Jay Gruden wants to keep his job. Case Keenum will get the nod over Dwayne Haskins at QB, and we’ll see how that works out. He is going to have a strong running game at his disposal, but there are issues. They need a lot of aerial weapons to step up, and they won’t all be able to do it. Left tackle Trent Brown is holding out. It’s a shame because when healthy and intact, it’s a strong group. They were leading this division before Smith went down. With decent QB play, maybe they can rediscover that form sooner than later. There is urgency within this franchise. A lot of futures are on the line.
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The Line of Scrimmage
Washington unquestionably has a strong defense—up-front. The secondary is another matter, though it’s not beyond the realm of possibility that they could fashion something workable. But the real juice is up-front. On the line are two former ‘Bama stalwarts who are showing teeth in Jonathan Allen and Da’Ron Payne, along with Ryan Kerrigan and Montez Sweat at the edge. Another Alabama product in Shaun Dion Hamilton (questionable) is also coming around. The issues they face for this game, however, are multifold. Granted, both of their games with the Eagles in 2018 were after Smith went down, but they still only scored 13 combined points in those games.
The Eagles are at home with an offensive line that is among the best in the league. Not only will they be springing holes for Howard and Miles Sanders, but they will also let Wentz find his groove. So this might not be the best spot for the talented Redskins line to thrive. The Washington offensive line without Williams faces a lot of questions, but they are still pretty solid. Fletcher Cox (questionable) is a monster and containing him with second-choices is going to be tough, but Philly also lost some juice up-front on “D” with Chris Long and Michael Bennett leaving. Vinny Curry needs to have a big year. But the Washington O-line should be able to compete. Still, the edge here goes to the Eagles.
Bad Matchup Elements for the ‘Skins
While I don’t question the addition of Landon Collins will help their beleaguered Washington secondary, Wentz will still have success through the air, with the addition of Jackson and rookie JJ Arcega-Whiteside to go along with an already-solid crew of Alshon Jeffery, Nelson Agholor, and Zach Ertz. That’s a lot of weaponry to sling at a pass-defense that looks to be bottom-half at the least. In week one, everyone is healthy, and this just looks like a big problem area for the Redskins in this matchup. An efficiently-commandeered running-game behind an intact and top-notch line will only make matters worse.
Even if you opted to think the Eagles had some defensive issues, there’s not a ton the Redskins can do about it. Their run-game should be their strength, with Adrian Peterson still a stud and Derrius Guice healthy. How it manifests without their top-dog on the line remains to be seen. And how much real bite it has with a depreciated package of ball-catchers is also a concern. Not that Paul Richardson, Josh Doctson, Jordan Reed, Trey Quinn, and Cam Simms are all going to fall flat, but they won’t all shine, either. And on paper, there’s some potential, but also several guys where if they were meant to put it together, they would have done it before now.
Daylight for the Dogs
Again, the Eagles lost some manpower up-front. And while they would appear to have the horses to fill in the gaps, there are some issues on the defense. Their top trio of corners Ronald Darby, Jalen Mills (out), and Sidney Jones are all coming off of being injured, as is safety Rodney McLeod. Malcolm Jenkins is still solid, but we’ll see if there are no lingering ill-effects. Or maybe the Washington aerial-game happens to click better than some anticipated. Some additional health issues at linebacker also loom and let’s just say if this Eagles’ team is going to make it happen, it’s going to be more of an offensive theme than their championship-winning season.
Lay the Number
Yeah, I know it’s hard to lay the thick number in a divisional game in week one before anyone has their bearings. It’s just hard to identify one area where the Redskins have anything resembling a meaningful edge, or at least one that will wash over in a way that gives them a big leg up. I think last season’s results could now be out of context, but also help paint the inherent matchup issues the Redskins have in this spot. And even if their front-seven on defense ends up being better, I’m not sure how much it matters here. I see a clear win for the Eagles.
Loot’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread:
I’m betting on the Philadelphia Eagles minus 8.5 points.
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