December 17, 2021
As it turns out, the Eagles won't be playing this Sunday either. But this time, the delay isn't a simple cause for some R&R. Instead, according to multiple reports, they'll play on Tuesday night in South Philly after their Week 15 game was postponed two days due to a massive COVID outbreak on the Washington Football Team, forcing the Birds to turn around and face the Giants on just a few days rest, the unfairness of which we won't get into here.
Beyond the now more than 20 players that Washington has on the COVID list, including quarterback Taylor Heinicke, they're also dealing with several other injuries, including concussions suffered by WR Terry McLaurin and RB J.D. McKissic in last week's loss to Dallas and a hamstring injury that has already ruled WR Curtis Samuel out. That's on top of season-ending injuries previously suffered by original starting QB Ryan Fitzpatrick and defensive end Chase Young. The two-day delay will help Washington get some of their players back, but not all of them.
As a result of all those injuries and COVID absences, the line for this one has been all over the place (and could change again with news that the game has been postponed). After opening with the Birds as five-point home favorites, it jumped up to double digits by Thursday and as of Friday afternoon was nearing a two-touchdown spread at some sportsbooks.
As we do every week, we've rounded up a slew of predictions from both the local and national media to get an idea of how the experts see this Eagles vs. Washington matchup playing out — including a few against picks the spread. And with one team suffering from a massive COVID outbreak, you probably shouldn't be surprised to see see these picks quite one-sided. Let's dive right in...
• PhillyVoice: For the third game in a row, all seven of our writers are in agreement. And while that worked out well against the Jets, it didn't work so well a week prior against the Giants. Still, we're presenting a uniform front with each writer picking a double-digit win for the Birds — and, like many of the picks you'll read below, were all written before this latest news about the Washington QB situation. Anyway, here's the pick from one of our season leaders, sports editor Evan Macy, who is 10-3 with his predictions this year.
Washington is — as you have no doubt read — dealing with a ton of COVID issues. They are also banged up beyond that. I can't imagine what kind of chaos and Zoom hell their practices and meetings are right now, but it can't be good for preparing a football team.
This should be a layup for the Eagles and if it's not they certainly have no business competing for a playoff spot. Eagles in a laugher.
• Inquirer.com: They hadn't yet posted their picks as of this writing. We'll update when they become available.
• NJ.com: All six of their football writers are taking the Eagles in this one, including Birds beat writer Mike Kaye.
The Eagles need this win like they need air to breathe. A win here would push them straight into the final wild-card spot with a little help. The Eagles are coming off a bye week, and Washington is ailing with injuries and a jam-packed COVID-19 list.
If the Eagles can’t take advantage at The Linc, they don’t deserve a playoff spot, and most likely won’t get one. Nick Sirianni needs to lean heavily on the running game, especially with No. 2 wideout Quez Watkins on the COVID-19 list.
PICK: Eagles 28, Washington 20.
• Bleeding Green Nation: No surprises here as all seven BGN writers are picking the Birds to win this one.
• The Athletic: Both of their Eagles beat writers, Zach Berman and Bo Wulf, have the Eagles winning by two touchdowns on Sunday. Here's more from Berman:
It’s unfortunate for Washington that so many players are sidelined due to COVID-19, and those absences change the game. I was leaning toward an Eagles win entering the week, and the undermanned Washington roster certainly doesn’t convince me otherwise. Sirianni will lean on his offensive line, and Washington doesn’t have the pass rush to disrupt the passing game. The opposite will be true for the Eagles pass rush, which will take advantage of the undermanned Washington offensive line. The Eagles’ edge on the lines of scrimmage will be apparent. Take the Eagles to reach .500, cover the spread and start thinking about the postseason. Eagles 31, WFT 14
• Gregg Rosenthal, NFL.com: Eagles 30, Washington 14
Washington's glass slipper started to chip away against Dallas because the Football Team's strengths are no longer a strength. COVID-19 has ravaged their trademark defensive line. Injuries are decimating their skill positions. The offensive line has overachieved all year, but injuries and a lack of talent will show up against a good defensive front. While the Eagles don't quite have the Cowboys' depth there, they are close enough.
• ESPN: Four of their 11 experts are actually picking Washington to win this game. We'll assume those picks were submitted before half their roster — including their top two remaining QBs — was placed on the COVID list.
• Tim McManus, ESPN: Eagles 31, Washington 10
• John Keim, ESPN: Eagles 28, Washington 10
• Pete Prisco, CBS Sports: Eagles 24, Washington 17
This is a big game for both teams if they want to have a real chance to make the playoffs. Washington could be without quarterback Taylor Heinicke, which would mean Kyle Allen starts. The Eagles are coming off their bye and will have Jalen Hurts back for this one. That's big. Eagles take it.
• CBS Sports: Six of their eight experts are predicting an Eagles win on Sunday, but just four believe the Birds will also cover the 5-point spread (which is what it must've been when they submitted their picks).
• ProFootballTalk: Both Mike Florio and Michael David Smith are picking the Eagles on Sunday, but they both have it being a one-score game.
MDS’s take: Ron Rivera has done a good job holding his injury-plagued team together, but I see Washington fading down the stretch and falling to third in the NFC East.
MDS’s pick: Eagles 28, Washington 27.
• USA TODAY Sports: Six of their seven experts are picking the Eagles.
• Bleacher Report: Eagles 27, Washington 20 (NOTE: Three of their six writers are taking the Birds to cover the 7-point spread that was being offered at the time they made their picks.)
Deadlocks are common with unpredictable NFC East matchups, and that's the case with COVID-19 playing a role as the Philadelphia Eagles lay seven points at home Sunday against the Washington Football Team.
Davenport on Philly: "As recently as a couple of days ago, a compelling argument could be made for taking Washington and the points here—these are evenly matched teams, and if Washington can take the run away from Philly (or limit it) the visitors would have a real shot at getting the win. But COVID-19 has ripped a massive hole in Washington's defensive line, making that a much harder task. Add in that Washington is down their No. 1 cornerback, their quarterback just had an MRI on his bum knee and the team's No. 1 wide receiver is in the concussion protocol, and there's little recourse but to lay the points with the Eagles."
Rogers on taking potentially new value with the WFT: "A division matchup of desperate 6-7 teams with their backs against the wall. Washington's defense is banged up and the secondary has struggled, but the same can be said for the Eagles. Neither quarterback falls under the 'reliable' category right now, but this could surprisingly be a shootout. It's hard to see this one separated by more than a touchdown."
Even with a pole the size of the Washington monument, we wouldn't recommend touching this one.
• Sheil Kapadia, The Athletic: Sheil picks games against the spread every week, and this week he thinks the Eagles both win and cover (and this was before the Heinicke news).
Here’s what Washington is dealing with going into this game.
The list of Washington's 17 players on the covid list: pic.twitter.com/lOAQbQreOr— Ben Standig (@BenStandig) December 15, 2021
Meanwhile, Taylor Heinicke is working through elbow and knee injuries, while Terry McLaurin suffered a concussion last week against Dallas.
As for the Eagles, it’s unclear whether Jalen Hurts will return from his ankle injury. If not, it’ll be Gardner Minshew.
Under normal circumstances, this would be too many points. But Washington just appears to be so banged up, and the Eagles are coming off of a bye. I think the two teams split their remaining matchups, but the Eagles get this one.
The pick: Eagles (-7)
• Bill Bender, Sporting News: Eagles 24, Washington 20
Taylor Heinicke (knee) was another quarterback who was injured in Week 14, but he is expected to play. Jalen Hurts (ankle) should be under center for Philadelphia after a bye week. These teams play twice in the next three weeks, and the winner of this one gets back to .500.
• Vinny Iyer, Sporting News: Eagles 23, Washington 20
WFT had a WTF game against the Cowboys as Taylor Heinicke became ineffective and injured to drag down the entire offense, wasting another strong performance from the improving defense. The Eagles will try to resume their run-heavy approach to support Jalen Hurts after the bye, with only a little more downfield passing. That's the key to edging Washington, which will play better vs. a limited receiving corps.
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