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December 29, 2018

Week 17 NFL picks: Rounding up the experts' predictions for Eagles-Redskins

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120318_Josh_adams_usat Eric Hartline/USA TODAY Sports

Philadelphia Eagles running back Josh Adams stiff arms Washington Redskins cornerback Greg Stroman during the first quarter at Lincoln Financial Field.

Leading up to Week 17, it almost seems as though beating the Redskins is the least of the Eagles' worries.

With a Vikings loss to the Bears needed to make an Eagles win in Washington mean something (to clinch the final Wild Card spot) and a good showing from the 49ers against the Rams to make the Bears play hard against the Vikings (to earn a first round bye), there will be a lot going on after kickoff of the all three of the aforementioned games at 4:25 p.m. Sunday.

However, the Eagles can only control what goes down on the field in their own game, and the NFL's leading experts expect Philadelphia to take care of its own business in the regular season finale by an overwhelming majority.

We've broken down the injuries and offered our own predictions for this one. Now, as we do every weekend, it's time to take a look around the nation to see how the various experts, both local and national, think Sunday's matchup is going to play out.

•  PhillyVoice staff: All five of our staffers are picking the Redskins to roll Sunday but with a degree of pessimism, typical of Philadelphia sports writers. Here's how Matt Mullin sees it going: 

The Philadelphia Eagles 2018 season is going to come to an end on Sunday, but it won’t be the Birds’ fault. I think they’re going to take care of business against Washington and their quarterback who I still have never heard of, but unfortunately I think the Vikings also take care of business and beat the Bears. I don’t want that to be the case, it just feels like fate. Eagles 33, Washington 16.

•  ESPN staff: All 10 of their experts are picking the Eagles to beat the Redskins on Sunday.

•  Tim McManus, ESPN.com: Eagles 30, Redskins 20

The Eagles' offense has taken off under Nick Foles, scoring 30-plus points in each of the past two games after hitting that mark just once over the previous 13 outings. The Eagles have gotten some injured players back (Darren Sproles, Jordan Hicks, Tim Jernigan) and finally are starting to play like Super Bowl champions. 

•  John Keim, ESPN.com: Eagles 28, Redskins 16

The Redskins have lost five of their last six games, and while they have played better the past two games, they're still not equipped to beat a good team because of all their injuries. They now have 23 players on injured reserve.

•  Elliot Harrison, NFL.com: Eagles 21, Redskins 17

The Eagles have much on the line this week. They are the only team in the NFC currently outside of the top six seeds that still has a chance to make the playoffs. All the other NFC participants have been mathematically eliminated. (Had the Redskins pulled out a road win against the Titans last week, then both Philadelphia and Washington would've been playoff-viable.) As it stands now, the Eagles need a victory and a Vikings loss to the Bears to earn the right to defend their Super Bowl title. They also need Nick Foles to ball out ... again. The run game has been hit or miss all season, thus if the passing game gets off to a slow start, it could be a long day for Philadelphia. The Redskins have shown plenty of fight the last two weeks, while doing a bang-up job against Tennessee's vaunted running game. They held Derrick Henry and friends to less than 100 yards for the first time since Week 11. So anticipate the Eagles giving Darren Sproles touches, either on draw plays or quick screens, to neutralize Ryan Kerrigan and Preston Smith, help Foles and not lean on the Josh Adams-led ground game too hard.

•  CBSSports.com staff: All eight of their experts are picking the Birds to get to 9-7 Sunday afternoon.


MORE: Eagles vs. Redskins: Predictions, betting odds, broadcast info for Week 17


•  OddsShark: Their computer model is predicting the Eagles win by just over five points.

•  Mike Florio, ProFootballTalk: Eagles 30, Redskins 17 

The dream continues, even if whether it makes it to the next weekend is beyond Philly’s control.

•  Michael David Smith, ProFootballTalk: Eagles 28, Redskins 13

It’s a big one for the Eagles and a meaningless one for Washington.

•  Bleacher Report, NFL staff: Eagles 27, Redskins 16

Against two playoff-bound opponents, the Nick Foles-led Philadelphia Eagles have scored a combined 62 points in back-to-back do-or-die victories. The former came on the road, while the latter came courtesy of a heroic last-minute scoring drive to cap a fourth-quarter comeback. So, do the Eagles have their Super Bowl magic back? 

While only one of our three panelists thinks a Philly win would give it a shot at the playoffs — Davenport and Gagnon both have Minnesota winning and covering against Chicago, which would eliminate the Eagles regardless of this result — the trio unanimously agrees the Eagles will at least do their part with a victory over the Washington Redskins. "

The depleted Redskins have lost their last three home games by a combined 50 points," Gagnon said, "and they'll probably be feeling a lack of inspiration Sunday following a season-icing defeat at the hands of the Tennessee Titans in Week 16. They might not get blown out, but I don't think they have the motivation or the talent in their current shape to hang with a red-hot opponent." 

Red-hot is right when it comes to Foles, who posted 108.4 passer rating in his first two starts in relief of the once-again-injured Carson Wentz. The man was in a zone last week against a high-quality Texans defense, and he'll now go up against a defense that surrendered 40 points in its last home game to a Giants offense that was without Odell Beckham Jr. Washington's D has performed better the last two weeks against Jacksonville and Tennessee, but it now must deal with the streaking and hungry defending champions.  

•  SBNation staff: All six of their writers picked the Eagles to win.

•  Bleeding Green Nation staff: Shockingly, the first Redskins pick we could find comes from a Bleeding Green's Benjamin Solak, with the other six taking Philly.

MORE: The Philly Godfather: Smart money likes 'hungry dog' Eagles at home


•  NJ.com staff: All six of NJ.com's sports writers picked the Eagles.

Nick Foles magic continues. Foles will have another big game in a comfortable Eagles win. If help arrives, the Eagles will have no choice but to ride the hot hand into the playoffs. That's true even if Carson Wentz deems himself healthy for next week. 

•  Philly Influencer staff: Nick Piccone is the only of their seven Eagles writers to pick the Redskins. Here's his reason why.

I’m doing this to get the Birds into the playoffs.

•  Todd Haislop, Sporting News: Eagles 27, Redskins 13

Motivation won’t be an issue for Washington, which has a chance to spoil the playoff hopes of its division rival. Talent, however, will be an issue. Even with their persistent struggles on defense, the Eagles simply have better players across the board. They also have the more reliable quarterback.

•  Vinny Iyer, Sporting News: Eagles 20, Redskins 16

The Eagles are feeling great about Nick Foles again, but they won’t need as much from him this week, as their much-maligned defense gets a welcome break with the Redskins’ makeshift offense that doesn’t have much beyond the ageless running of Adrian Peterson. This might not be enough for Philadelphia to avoid a Super Bowl hangover and get in the playoffs, but it will be a victorious grind on the road.


RELATED: Jimmy Kempski's Week 17 NFL picks


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