December 20, 2021
The Eagles saw teams they needed to lose win in some surprising upsets on Sunday, and a win over Washington is more or less a necessity if they want to stay in the playoff race. They'll also have an unexpected quick turnaround, having to face the Giants on four days rest.
What can we expect to see on the field Tuesday (man, that is weird). It seems like ages ago, but we've already broken down the injuries on both sides, given you some matchups to watch and offered up our own predictions — as well as rounded up some picks from the local and nation media. Now, as we do every week, let's take a look at some numbers to keep an eye on in the form of our five over/unders for Eagles vs. Washington...
[A quick reminder for those new to our over/unders: Unless explicitly stated otherwise, these are my own numbers based on how I think the players/teams will perform on Sunday — and the advice that follows is where I would put my money if I had to.]
This is the total you can find among the odds offered at Sidelines.io, and it seems a little low. Yes, we know, the Eagles have some injuries and Jalen Hurts has been banged up. And yes, playing on a Tuesday with 16 days of rest is also weird. But the Eagles average nearly 26 points per game, and Washington averages just over 20. Add those together and you get way over the offered total.
The Eagles should be able to move the ball against a Washington defense that has been ravaged by injuries and COVID. And Philly's defense isn't exactly the '85 Bears either, even with Taylor Heinicke or Kyle Allen likely to be under center. Bang the over.
The Eagles lead the NFL in rushing yards per game with the aforementioned 160. They have averaged more than 210 yards per game in their last three contests. And Hurts, who adds 60 yards per game on the ground of his own, is expected to return to the field, as is Jordan Howard.
Washington is very good against the run, allowing just over 93 yards per game, one of the best marks in football. But the Eagles have had success against teams with good run defenses, like the Broncos and Saints in recent weeks. With more or less a full complement of ball carriers, and an offensive line that is deep (and can hopefully withstand Landon Dickerson's COVID diagnosis), the Eagles should have no problem moving the ball and should do it early and often in Week 15 against a banged up Washington front.
No team has thrown fewer passes this season than the Eagles, who average 29.2 per game. That is by design. Ever since head coach Nick Sirianni gave in to his team's strength on the ground and allowed Hurts to be a game manager who uses his legs just as dangerously as his arm, he unleashed a team with playoff potential.
There is no reason for the Eagles ever to throw it more than 30 times. They wrongfully tried to out-duel the Buccaneers and the Chiefs earlier this season to no avail. Unless they are trailing big time and need to throw to dig out of a hole, they'll stick to what they do best. And against a Washington team that is a heavy underdog, I don't expect the Eagles to trail very much Tuesday.
Philly has, kind of under the radar, protected the ball extremely well this season. They have just 13 turnovers all year, just one per game, a mark that is fourth best in football. And if you take away Hurts' three INT performance against the Giants a few weeks ago they're the best in the business. However, they have only managed 13 takeaways on the year, a number in the bottom five in the NFL.
Washington, by contrast, turns it over 1.8 times per game (21 in total), the fourth worst rate in football. They have a -7 turnover differential, which is something the Eagles will surely try and exploit. Those game-changing plays have been elusive for Philadelphia, and if they can find a way to pick off a pass or poke a ball loose even one time in this one, it'll go along way toward helping them win it. Look for the Birds to finish this one on the right side of the turnover battle.
The Eagles added Landon Dickerson to the reserve/COVID list Sunday, a day after taking their only two players off of it. Washington has, as of Monday morning 17 players currently designated as being on that list.
Their outbreak is the reason this game is taking place Tuesday, and if the NFL gets what it wants, this list will decrease as the 7 p.m. kickoff approaches. However there is always the risk — as the Eagles experienced first hand with Dickerson — that more names could be added to the list and forced to miss the Week 15 game. We'll place the over under at the current number. And unfairly to the Eagles who did nothing wrong (in contrast to Washington, which had over a dozen cases connected to unvaccinated Montez Sweat), this number will probably go down.
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