In the middle of November, the Washington Football Team had two wins on the season. Now, on Sunday night, they can clinch the NFC East crown and lock up a home playoff game with a win over one of their top rivals, the Philadelphia Eagles.
(See also our top five prop bets on this matchup as well).
The good news for Washington? The Eagles are toast after falling to 4-10-1 last week in a loss to the Dallas Cowboys. The bad news for Washington? Philadelphia has nothing to lose in a spoiler attempt at home to wrap up the season, but check out the injury list: DE Derek Barnett (calf), LB Shaun Bradley (neck), DT Fletcher Cox (neck), TE Dallas Goedert (calf), WR DeSean Jackson (ankle), T Jordan Mailata (concussion), LB Duke Riley (biceps), TE Richard Rodgers (ankle), RB Miles Sanders (knee).
That, combined with the fact the WFT has problems on its hands at the quarterback position, explains why Washington is laying just 4 points in Philly Sunday night.
WHY WASHINGTON WILL COVER THE SPREAD
The Eagles might be ready to phone it in, and quarterback Jalen Hurts was exposed to an extent in his first poor performance of his career last Sunday against a bad Dallas defense. Now the rookie will have to deal with one of the most fierce defensive fronts in the NFL.
On top of that, the Eagles might not have top defender Fletcher Cox back from a neck injury. In fact, that entire defense is quite banged up. And after being eliminated by the Cowboys in Week 16, they might already be thinking about the offseason.
Plus, even an injured Smith is an upgrade over Dwayne Haskins Jr. or Taylor Heinicke.
WHY PHILADELPHIA WILL COVER THE SPREAD
Smith won’t be 100 percent and he still threw six interceptions to four touchdown passes before hurting his calf in Week 14. He’s unlikely to single-handedly right the ship for a team that has scored just 28 total points in back-to-back losses.
Washington might simply be fading, and the Eagles are a more talented overall team with nothing to lose. That makes them dangerous, especially if Hurts can recapture the magic he possessed in his first two starts.
WASHINGTON PHILADELPHIA BETTING PICK
I think the Eagles will be determined to play spoiler and go out on a positive note at home, and I think they’ll be prepared for a familiar opponent that is actually quite one-dimensional. Hurts has the mobility to counter Washington’s aggressive defensive front and Washington will likely be extremely handcuffed on offense regardless of who starts under center.
The Eagles win it straight-up.