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September 30, 2023

Week 4 NFL picks: Rounding up the experts' predictions for Eagles-Commanders

A look at what the national media thinks of Eagles-Commanders.

The Eagles are returning home with a nasty pass rush and one of the league's best running attacks, while the Commanders are trying to collect themselves after receiving a brutal wake-up call from the Bills. 

It'll be the two teams' first NFC East matchup of the season, and one where the Eagles are around 8.5-point favorites going in. 

And we don't think the nightmare is going to end for Washington now.

Wrote Shamus Clancy:

The Eagles passing game hasn’t approached their 2022 ceiling. That changes on Sunday with a thrashing akin to last year’s fireworks. Momentum will also build nationally about the play of Jalen Carter, going from simply being the best rookie in the sport to one of the best defensive players period.

What are the opinions on Sunday's game from the rest of the football world? Here's a Week 4 roundup:

• The Athletic: Jalen Carter and the Eagles are going to go all out in this one and are likely to come out on top, but against the spread, that 8.5-point mark is a bit too high for Vic Tafur's liking:

Carter and the Eagles defensive line should feast against a bad Commanders offensive line. And if you’re thinking the Eagles may take a nap this game, that happened last season and they lost, so fat chance that happens again. If you’re thinking about taking the Commanders and the points, you’re either banking on Washington’s impressive defensive line keeping the game somewhat close, the flu bug lingering for the Eagles or Sam Howell getting garbage-time points. OK … you convinced me.

The pick: Commanders. [The Athletic/$]

Pro Football Talk (NBC): Mike Florio and Chris Simms are both placing their bets on the Eagles' defense, in spite of whatever anit-Hurts nonsense Simms is currently spouting:

The Buffalo defense wrecked the Commanders offense — and the Philly defense is even better.

Florio: Eagles, 31-10.

Simms: Eagles, 28-17. [PFT]

MORE: Eagles-Commanders predictions, betting odds, and more

• Pete Prisco, CBS Sports: Sam Howell is not going to have a good time.

The Commanders' offensive line gave up nine sacks last week to the Bills. The Eagles' defensive front is better than Buffalo's. This will not go well for Sam Howell, who threw four picks last week. The Eagles' offense was better against Tampa Bay Monday night and that will carry over. Eagles big. 
Pick: Eagles 30, Commanders 19. [CBS Sports]

MORE: All of Jimmy Kempski's Week 4 NFL picks

• Sheil Kapadia, The Ringer: Again, Sam Howell is not going to have a good time.

The Commanders were dealt a 37-3 loss to the Bills last week. Sam Howell was sacked nine times, and Washington turned the ball over five times. Howell has been sacked on 16.1 percent of his dropbacks this season. If that were to sustain, it would be the worst sack rate for any QB since at least 2000. 
This line feels high, but I can’t get over the mismatch between the Eagles defensive line and the Commanders offensive line. Rookie defensive tackle Jalen Carter has arguably been the Eagles’ best defensive player so far. I think the defense forces Howell into enough mistakes to cover.
The pick: Eagles (-8.5) [Ringer] And by the way, the Eagles can run the ball really well, too. Wrote Brooke Cersosimo for the five-editor panel that all went Eagles:

Despite Jalen Hurts and the offense playing far from their best, Philadelphia has been able to jump out to a 3-0 start by dominating the trenches. In turn, the Eagles' second-ranked run game -- led by offseason trade acquisition D'Andre Swift -- has been an absolute beast for defenses to contain. None of this is great news for the Commanders, who just gave up 168 yards on the ground to the Bills, while simultaneously allowing Sam Howell to get sacked nine(!) times. Is is notable that Washington is the only team to beat Hurts in the QB's last 21 regular-season starts. But the difference will come down to who wins up front. In Philly's big uglies I trust. []

Bleacher Report's panel isn't entirely convinced that this one so clearly leans Eagles. That home loss to the Commanders last season still lingers with the idea of a possible upset, with analyst Brad Gagnon arguing the following:

"As is the case with my Bills pick, I'm thinking this is the week some undefeated teams receive wake-up calls from division rivals. Washington was a mess in Week 3 but has the experience and defensive prowess to bounce back against a familiar opponent that actually still has some kinks to work out. Washington also beat Philly handily at this very site last year. That 8.5-point spread is simply too high." [B/R]

• Bill Bender, The Sporting News: The Eagles will win because Washington can't stop the run.

These teams split last year, and Washington has won two of the last three at Philadelphia. That suggests that line might be too high, but the Commanders are coming off a 37-3 reality check against the Bills. That makes this NFC East rivalry even more difficult to read, but it's tough to take Washington knowing the run defense has allowed more than 5.0 yards per carry the last two weeks. Jalen Hurts and D'Andre Swift will enjoy success against that. 

Pick: Eagles 30, Commanders 24. [The Sporting News]

Vinnie Iyer, The Sporting News: And they'll cover the spread. It's a lock. 

The Commanders were an easily inflated 0-2 team after wins over the Broncos and Cardinals and got that rude awakening at home against the Bills. Their offensive line is crumbling quickly in pass protection for Sam Howell when there's no success on the ground. The Commanders also still have plenty of holes in their pass defense for Jalen Hurts to exploit downfield.

Pick: Eagles win 27-14 and cover the spread. [The Sporting News]

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