Philadelphia Eagles versus Washington Redskins: Will the Eagles win and earn the final playoff spot?

SportsBlenderNFL Fri, 28 Dec 2018

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The road has been rocky for the defending Super Bowl Champions this season. After starting off 4-6, the Eagles won two straight before a devasting loss to the Cowboys, dropping them to 6-7 on the season. Having not defeated a good team all season, the Eagles needed to win out, which included games against the LA Rams and Texans. Little believed the team had a shot. After somewhat miraculous fashion, the Eagles defeated both teams and have a chance at the post season with a game to play.

Coming in at 8-7, they are a 6.5 point favorite over the 7-8 Redskins, who have been eliminated from playoff contention. Nick Foles once again has been magical down the stretch, ironically taking over for the injured Carson Wentz against the Rams, same as last season. Foles set a franchise record for passing yards in a game against the Texans last week with 471. His incredible drive late in the game after appearing to be down for the count after a hit in the end one, ended in a 35-yard game winning field goal. In the past two games, he’s connected on 59 of 80 passes for 741 yards.

Foles gets the ball out quickly, which can nullify a Washington pass rush lead by by Ryan Kerrigan (12 sacks), Jonathan Allen (8 sacks) and Matt Ioannidis (7.5 sacks).  Alshon Jeffery has been a favorite target of Foles and has 60 receptions for 784 yards this season.  Pro Bowl tight end Zach Ertz has a record 113 receptions this season for a tight end for 1148 yards and eight touchdowns. Golden Tate, Nelson Algholor, Dallas Goedert and Jordan Matthews are all capable of causing problems for the Washington secondary.

Although coach Pederson clearly prefers to throw the ball, the Eagles have mixed in the run nicely recent weeks with Josh Adams (461 yards, 4.2 per carry), Wendell Smallwood (4.1 per carry) and veteran old Darren Sproles (4.4 per carry).

The Redskins will likely to try control the clock with running back Adrian Peterson, who had a 90-yard touchdown against the Eagles in the match up between the teams this season. Peterson has 1042 yards, seven touchdowns and a 4.2 average per carry.

Philadelphia should look to contain Peterson and force Josh Johnson to beat them through the air. The Eagles can supply pressure from top pass rushers Michael Bennett, Fletcher Cox and Chris Long. If Thompson has time to throw, he will like to find Jordan Reed or Josh Doctson, who have combined for 96 receptions and 1007 yards. While the Redskins have several capable receivers, none are deep threats and no player on the team has caught more than two touchdown passes.

Washington has nothing to play for and probably are looking ahead to their off season. Philadelphia is looking close to the team that stormed through the playoffs last season. The Eagles need a win and Bears win over the Vikings to make the playoffs.  Barring a barrage of penalties and costly turnovers, the Eagles will win and cover the spread.

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