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Philadelphia Eagles at Washington Redskins


12/21


The Philadelphia Eagles were pretty much written off for the playoffs after their embarrassing OT tie with the Bengals 5 weeks ago, which was followed by another embarrassing effort against Baltimore that left them at 5-5-1. Now, after 3 excellent efforts in a row against the Cards, Giants and Browns, the Eagles find themselves at 8-5-1 and in the thick of the wild card race with just 2 games left to play. The Eagles hit the road for this game against the reeling Redskins, who have now lost 3 in a row, and 5 out of their last 6 games, to pretty much kill their post-season chances. If the Eagles win here, it would set up a huge home game against hated division-rival Dallas next week that could catapult the winner into the playoffs.


Eagle QB Donovan McNabb has played brilliantly since his ‘benching’ in that embarrassing Week 12 loss to Baltimore. Since then he has led the Eagles to 3 wins in a row, and has hit 69% of his passes (72 of 104) for 741 yds, 7 TD’s and just 1 INT in those 3 wins. Over the course of those 3 games, the Eagles have out-scored the opposition by a margin of 98-44.


RB Brian Westbrook’s recent return to form has been instrumental also as he has combined for 400 yds rushing/receiving and 6 TD’s over that same period. In the huge 20-14 road win at New York against the Giants 2 weeks ago it was McNabb and Westbrook carrying the load, as Westy accumulated over 200 yds combined rushing/receiving and 2 TD’s, including a 40 yd TD catch and run. In the Arizona win, Westbrook ran for another 110 yds and 2 TD’s, while also logging 3 catches for 20 yds and 2 more TD’s. In that game McNabb was an outstanding 27 of 39 for 260 yds, 4 TD’s and no INT’s.


In the 2 wins over Arizona and Cleveland, the Eagle receiving corps joined in the action big-time as DeSean Jackson, Kevin Curtis, Hank Basket and Jason Avant all came up big. In those 2 wins they combined for 37 catches for 440 yds and 3 TD’s.


The Eagle defense has also stepped it up as they have allowed just 3 TD’s and 30 offensive pts in the last 3 games, and have forced 6 TO’s.
The bottom line, everyone on both the offense and defense have been stepping it up in a big way lately for the Eagles, and they are coming into this game with a lot of momentum…..and revenge.

Washington pulled a huge 23-17 road upset over the Eagles back in Week 5. That win culminated a 4 game winning streak for the Redskins, that included another huge divisional road win at Dallas, and placed the ‘Skins at 4-1 on the season. They then suffered an inexplicable home loss to the previously winless St Louis Rams. They did regroup to win 2 more games in a row, over weaklings Cleveland and Detroit, to get them back in contention at 6-2. But those wins were in less than impressive fashion. Since then they have really hit the skids in losing 5 out of their last 6 games, with the only win being a 20-17 road squeaker over the Seattle Seahawks. They have been hampered by injuries on offense to RB Clinton Portis and WR Santana Moss…..2 players who pretty much carried them earlier…….as well as to their offensive line. Portis is again dinged for this game and was held out of practice on Friday due to back spasms. He is expected to play but will likely not be at 100%. Portis has not scored a TD in the past 7 games and has only broken the 100 yd rushing mark 3 times over that same period. He will be facing a resurgent Eagles team who are ranked at #5 against the run this year.



Over their last 6 games, where they have gone just 1-5, the Redskins have averaged just 11 pts and have given up an average of 20. In their 5 losses they have averaged just 9 pts, and in 4 of those games they have lost by a TD or more. During their current 3 game losing streak, they have fallen behind by 13, 17 and 17 before scoring, and have ended up losing those games by 16, 14 and 7. They are really out of synch on offense right now and just can’t seem to get anything going. With the Eagles playing with a lot of confidence and enthusiasm, and with a great shot at making it into the playoffs as a wild card, I see them continuing to play well here and being able to exact revenge for the earlier loss.


Philadelphia is 10-3 ATS in their last 13 road games, including 4-2 ATS on the road this year. The Redskins are 2-5 ATS at home this year, but they are 0-5 ATS in their last 5 home games. These teams are currently heading in opposite directions. The line on this game, as of this writing, is Philadelphia –5 and I would expect them to win by at least 10 pts. in this spot. Philadelphia Eagles –5 is the pic

 

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