The Philadelphia Eagles managed to beat the New York Giants on Monday night but they did fail to cover the eight-point spread. The result dropped the Eagles to just 4-9 against the spread on this season, which is tied with the Chicago Bears for the worst coverage percentage in the NFL.
If the Eagles are going to cover in this week’s game, they’ll need to beat Washington by at least five points. The Eagles are 4.5 point road favorites at FedEx Field this Sunday, according to DraftKings Sportbook.
You might recall the Eagles previously beat Washington earlier this year all the way back in Week 1. Man, does that feel like forever ago. The Eagles were down 20 to 7 at halftime before the promising Carson Wentz to DeSean Jackson connection (sigh) helped the offense score 25 unanswered points. The final score ended up being 32 to 27 since Washington was able to score a garbage time touchdown with six seconds remaining.
Much has changed for both of these teams since the last time they played. Jackson hasn’t really played for the Eagles since, for starters. Washington, meanwhile, made the minor moves of changing their head coach and starting quarterback. Interim head coach Bill Callahan replaced a fired Jay Gruden while first-round rookie Dwayne Haskins has been named the starter over a benched Case Keenum.
Considering that Keenum completed 68.2% of his attempts for 380 yards, three touchdowns, zero interceptions, and a 117.6 passer rating against the Eagles’ defense, I think Jim Schwartz won’t mind seeing him stay on the sidelines for this game. Haskins hasn’t been very impressive; he’s completed just 55% of his attempts (yikes) for 6.1 yards per attempt, three touchdowns, seven interceptions, and a mere 61.2 passer rating. He has four times as many combined picks and fumbles as touchdown passes.
Perhaps Haskins will have the best game of his career chucking the ball down the field to Terry McLaurin, who gave the Eagles a lot of problems in Week 1. But Schwartz’s track record against rookie quarterbacks is pretty good. Take a look at these numbers from the five games that Schwartz faced a rookie quarterback since becoming Eagles defensive coordinator in 2016:
72 attempts for 142 completions (50.7%), 513 yards (5.3 average), 3 TD, 7 INT, 44.7 passer rating, 17 sacks … 18 rushes, 99 yards (5.5 average), 1 TD, 5 fumbles
The Eagles are 4-1 in those five games with the one loss coming on the road in overtime. The Eagles outscored their opponents by an average of about 17 points.
This isn’t to suggest the Eagles should take Washington lightly. First of all, the Eagles are hardly a team that can sleepwalk to victory. Washington has also been playing relatively tough in recent weeks. Look at their last three games:
The Eagles have their work cut out for them following injuries to both Alshon Jeffery and Lane Johnson. JJ Arcega-Whiteside and Greg Ward are currently the only healthy receivers on the team. Carson Wentz is just 3-10 in games where Johnson isn’t starting.
The Eagles should be able to beat this Washington team but it’s not necessarily going to be a walk in the park.
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