Who’s Picking the Eagles?
Here’s a roundup of national media predictions for Sunday’s Eagles-Redskins game.
NFL.com has four of five analysts picking the Eagles over the Redskins.
Elliot Harrison of NFL.com predicts a victory for the Birds:
Eagles 29, Redskins 21
Key matchup: Kirk Cousins vs. the Eagles’ secondary
Will Cousins ball out for Washington in Robert Griffin III’s stead like he did against Jacksonville last week (22 of 33 for 250 yards and two touchdowns)? That’s the question — of course, it should be noted that the Eagles’ defense is a bit better than the Jags’ unit. I’m speaking of Bradley Fletcher, Cary Williams, Malcolm Jenkins and Nate Allen. Really, this will be on Fletcher and Williams, who are off to so-so starts thus far, particularly Williams; he’s allowed opposing quarterbacks to compile a passer rating of 118-plus against him. Granted, we’re dealing with a super-small sample size, but these guys need to hold the fort. If they do, Philly should be fine at home.
Oh, and in case nobody has noticed, Washington’s best chance to win comes at the hands — or feet, to be precise — of Alfred Morris, who’s racked up 176 yards at a clip of 4.9 per carry on this young season. Give him the rock.
Seven of eight experts on CBSSports.com go with the Eagles.
While the other 12 analysts are picking the Eagles, Mike Ditka goes against the grain on ESPN.com.
All seven experts at USA Today pick the Birds this week.
Pete Prisco of CBSSports.com has the Eagles, 27-23:
The Eagles are playing on a short week and must face a division foe. It’s at home, so that helps. Philadelphia is 2-0, but have they looked that good. Kirk Cousins makes his first start for Washington this season. Eagles take it in a close one.
SB Nation has six picks for the Birds and only one for the Redskins.
The Eagles claim a clean sweep with the analysts at FoxSports.com.
Frank Schwab and Eric Adelson of Yahoo Sports both predict an Eagles win.
Don Banks of SI.com predicts an Eagles rout:
Eagles 33, Redskins 17
When you win, you can make the rules, and Chip Kelly is clearly the undisputed king in Philadelphia, by virtue of 12 victories in his first 18 regular-season games as the Eagles’ head coach. But with the DeSean Jackson homecoming on tap this week if the Washington receiver somehow manages to play through a shoulder injury, did Kelly really have to insult our intelligence by claiming the only reason Philadelphia released the dangerous Jackson in March was because Kelly prefers bigger receivers? Jackson had a career year in 2013 with 82 catches for 1,332 yards and nine touchdowns, and was targeted 126 times — leading the team by a whopping 42 in that department. And last I checked, the diminutive Darren Sproles seems to be doing just fine in the Eagles’ passing game, no matter where they list him on the depth chart. It’s your world, Chip, and what you say goes, but better to say nothing than to construct cover stories that strain credulity.
Both writers at Pro Football Talk are taking the Birds:
MDS’s take: We’ll all have our eyes on Kirk Cousins getting the start and potentially playing well enough over the next few weeks to keep the job even after Robert Griffin III is ready to go. But I’m more interested in watching Nick Foles, who has made a lot of mental mistakes this year, the kind of mistakes he wasn’t making last year. Fortunately for the Eagles, they’ve managed to go 2-0 without Foles even playing very well. I think they should improve to 3-0 and Foles should have a better game than he’s played so far.
MDS’s pick: Eagles 24, Washington 12.
Florio’s take: DeSean Jackson returns home to see that the Eagles really are even better without him.
Florio’s pick: Eagles 30, Washington 17.
Peter Schrager of FoxSports.com likes the Eagles, 34-23:
DeSean Jackson expects to play Sunday against the Eagles, and that’ll be the biggest storyline heading into this one. “I’m a very confident person, regardless of an injury, and I pride myself on not missing any games and prepare myself any and every way I can to help my team. So when it comes time for game, I’m going to do everything I can to get myself prepared and ready. Being cleared through my trainers is more of ‘we’re waiting’ more than anything. But I should be as far as good come Sunday,” Jackson said on Wednesday. Translation? I wouldn’t miss this for the world. I can see Jackson — one of the more productive Eagles players of the past decade — having a big game at the Linc. I can also see Darren Sproles and LeSean McCoy slicing up the Redskins D. Give me the home team.
Sports on Earth gives the edge to the Birds:
WASHINGTON: 21 (25%)
EAGLES: 30 (75%)
VEGAS: Eagles (-6.5)
Don’t expect Kirk Cousins to put up numbers like he did against Jacksonville every week.
The Kirk Cousins dream ends in tears, as it always does with cousins. (This might just be me. My cousins growing up were very big, and mean.)
Vinnie Iyer of SportingNews.com goes with the Eagles:
The Eagles are the league’s most impressive second half team, and the scary thing is, we’ve yet to see Nick Foles and their passing game get into a real groove. They should speed ahead to a quicker, bigger lead here to force Kirk Cousins into more one-dimensional catchup mode with a key receiver — former Eagle DeSean Jackson — banged up. Watch out for that big Shady explosion. Eagles 34, Redskins 20
Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times takes the Eagles in a close game:
Eagles 27, Redskins 24
Washington is better with Kirk Cousins at quarterback than with RG3. But Philadelphia is by far the class of the NFC East. If the Eagles lose this, something went very wrong.
Matt Cassidy is a journalism student at Temple and an intern at Birds 24/7.