October 21, 2017
The Philadelphia Eagles will host the Washington Redskins on Monday night in their second meeting of the season after the Eagles won the season-opening matchup between these two teams, 30-17.
With another win, the Birds will improve to 3-0 in the NFC East and can put even more distance between themselves and the rest of the division. A loss, and things will start to get a lot more interesting as Washington would pull to within a half game.
Here are five things to keep an eye on that could play a role in the outcome on Monday; it's our weekly over/unders.
The current number being offered at Bovada is 49, but whole numbers are no fun for over/unders so I adjusted it to 48.5. At least that way it won't end up where everyone (except Vegas) loses.
That being said, I'm taking the over here. I know they only combined for 47 points in the season opener, but the Eagles offense is playing much better than it did in that game and the Eagles are essentially a lock this season to score at least 26 points – they have in every game but one – meaning all the Redskins have to do is reach their season average of 23.4 points per game in order to hit the over.
Wentz has thrown seven in his last two weeks, so you could argue that this number should be higher. However, in three career games against Washington, Wentz has thrown just three total touchdowns. So we split the difference, which puts us right around his season average (2.2 TD/game).
But with the way he's playing, not to mention his receivers (see: Agholor, Nelson) and tight end, I think Wentz will be able to get to three touchdowns once again. It's actually quite simple. He didn't throw for any in his first game against the Redskins; he threw for one in his second game; and in his third, the 2017 season opener, Wentz threw for two.
I'm no math whiz, but that looks like a pattern to me. And the next step is hitting the over.
The Eagles are catching somewhat of a break this week by facing a not-quite-100-percent Trent Williams – the veteran tackle is dealing with a knee injury and is probable to play on Monday night. He's got a tough task ahead in the Eagles front four, especially if his knee is bothering him at all. The real problem for Washington, however, is behind Williams, where backup tackle Ty Nsekhe is out with an abdominal injury.
While the Eagles haven't been racking up a ton of sacks this season, they have recorded two in each of their last three games since they were shutout against by the Giants in Week 3. And while Washington has done a really good job of protecting Kirk Cousins this season, half of their eight total sacks allowed came in one game.
Any guess what game that was? I'll give you a hint:
The Eagles have yet to lose a game under Doug Pederson when they win the turnover battle. And this season – as their record would indicate – they've done a really good job protecting the ball. Over their last four games, the offense has turned the ball over just three times. Meanwhile, their defense has forced seven turnovers in that span.
On the other side, the Cousins has done a nice job limiting his interceptions against the Birds (four in six games), he did turn the ball over three times in the opener (one interception, two fumbles lost). Look for the Birds to go after Cousins again on Monday, because there's a good chance it yields similar results.
This is the key to the game right here, and I think the Eagles wind up with fewer turnovers – and the win – when all is said and done.
There was a lot of talk this week about the penalty disparity in the Eagles' Week 6 win over the Panthers, especially since the referee in question, Pete Morelli, has somewhat of a history of calling a ton of penalties against Philly. Last season, he called 14 in one game, a game the Eagles ultimately lost to the Lions. The next week, the Eagles faced the Redskins.
Any guesses how many penalties were called in that game? 13.
Maybe, just maybe, it isn't so much that the penalties being called against the Eagles are unwarranted. After all, that 10-penalty game wasn't completely out of the norm for the Birds – they have at least eight penalties in three of their other five games this season and are averaging 7.5 per game. And the Panthers, who were on the other end of Morelli's penalty imbalance, are the best in the league with just 25 called against them.
The Eagles' 45 total penalties this season are tied for the fifth-most in the league, and in a scrappy division game it's not hard to imagine them going above their season average on Monday night, just like they did when these two teams met in Week 1 (and the Eagles finished with eight penalties against).
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