Who’s Picking the Eagles?
Here’s a roundup of national media predictions for Saturday’s game at Washington.
All five NFL.com experts are taking the Birds over Washington.
Elliot Harrison of NFL.com is picking the Eagles, 29-20:
Ahh … Saturday football. I’ll be honest, I kind of like it. Then again, I have been known to watch more “Star Trek” — the original series, of course — than college football. Something about Sulu dancing around with a sword and Captain Kirk swashbuckling across the universe with green women … Speaking of, I’m going green here. I’m aware of the division familiarity and whatnot, but the Redskins’ back seven is not good enough in coverage to stop these guys. And the Ryan Kerrigan-led pass rush won’t get home enough to disrupt Mark Sanchez. By the way, Washington is allowing opposing passers a 109.9 QB rating. Oh, and per my contract, I am supposed to write a line about RGIII. There it is.
Kevin Patra of NFL.com puts together his Week 16 Viewer’s Guide:
The battle of the maligned quarterbacks!
In his seven games played this season, Mark Sanchez has four games with two-plus interceptions, which is the most multiple-INT games by an Eagles quarterback since Randall Cunningham had five such games during the 1988 season. Nick Foles has three games with multiple INT this season. It’s in Sanchize’s favor Sunday, however, that he faces a Redskins defense allowing a passer rating of 109.9 to opposing quarterbacks (highest in NFL).
Redskins coach Jay Gruden says he wants to keep Robert Griffin III out of obvious passing situations. This isn’t groundbreaking. The Redskins’ offense hums along at a significantly higher rate when Alfred Morris is churning up yards and allowing RGIII to employ play-action passes to freeze defenders. In order for Morris to be consistent on the ground Washington’s O-line must mitigate Fletcher Cox’s production. The Eagles’ defensive lineman has wreaked havoc on running games with regularity this season. One plus for the Redskins is that RGIII could hit some big plays against a defense that has allowed 71 plays of 20-plus yards this season (most in NFL).
All 13 ESPN.com analysts are favoring the Eagles this week.
Eagles 30, Washington 20
The Eagles need this game to have a chance to win the division, while the Redskins are playing out the string. Robert Griffin III looked much better in his return last week. He is starting again, and will have some chances against a leaky Philadelphia secondary. The problem is containing the Eagles’ offense. I think Philadelphia gets back on track.
All six experts at FoxSports.com are picking the Birds.
Peter Schrager of FoxSports.com forecasts a huge win for the Eagles:
Eagles 38, Washington 17
I spent a few days with the Redskins prior to their 24-0 loss to the Rams in Week 15, and can assure you the locker room is not as badly damaged as it’s being made to seem elsewhere in the media. I also can tell you that this is a team that’s running on fumes. Their defensive backfield — one that once had both DeAngelo Hall and Tracy Porter slated as starters — is a collection of first- and second-year fringe NFL talent and a past-his-prime Ryan Clark. Chip Kelly, even on a short week, should be able to scheme against that and take advantage of an overmatched set of corners and safeties.
Both analysts at Pro Football Talk are picking the Eagles:
MDS’s take: The Eagles are in a precarious position in the NFC playoff race, and I don’t think they’re going to make it. But I also don’t think they’ll lose to a reeling Washington team.
MDS’s pick: Eagles 20, Washington 10.
Florio’s take: Philly has a very real chance at winning the division, since the Cowboys have a very real chance at losing to the Colts and opening the door for a Week 17 win-and-in for the Eagles.
Florio’s pick: Eagles 27, Washington 17.
Vinnie Iyer of the Sporting News has the Birds blowing past Washington this week:
Eagles 42, Redskins 20
The Eagles are hoping their presumed division is flying away from them. Their offensive mistakes have been covered up in the past, but Mark Sanchez isn’t good enough to overcome them. He needs full support from his line, receivers and backs. Fortunately, the Redskins will oblige, as they are used to giving up big plays to speedy teams. Chip Kelly hasn’t seen that usual explosion of late, but it comes as Jeremy Maclin and Darren Sproles will be among those Eagles who blow past Washington. At least we know Kelly still likes Sanchez; we don’t really know if Jay Gruden ever liked Robert Griffin III.
Matt Cassidy is a journalism student at Temple and an intern at Birds 24/7.