Well, turns out despite having the entire day off of proper work today I utterly forgot that James was away this week and I had to do the Monday Night Football preview, so apologies for it being out a little later than the fantastic work that Mr. Collier does for me each week, but here we are!
The Unbeaten Eagles host their divisional rivals who come in at 4-5 after 2 wins and a loss with Taylor Heinicke at QB, although a 3 point loss to the Vikings isn’t anything to be ashamed of, they are 8-1 and beat the Bills in a game of the year contender yesterday.
This is the second time these teams will have faced each other this season, the Eagles obviously won the first matchup destroying Wash in the first half and cruising during the second half, all 24 of their points came in the second quarter and it took until the final 2 minutes for the Commies to get on the board, but that was with Wentz, things are a little different now.
Commanders +11 @ Eagles: 43
It’s a big spread here as the Eagles look to continue their unbeaten record and make it 4 wins in a row against this opposition. They’re 8-2 straight up, 3-6-1 against the spread over the last 10 and O/U is 5-5 so nothing much to go on with trends.
It doesn’t take a genius to note that the Eagles are pretty good in the first half this season, they lead the league in 2nd quarter scoring with over 16 points and Washington are down in 30th with 4.6 this season, in fact the Commies average just 6 points in the first half of games this year, the Eagles top of that list) – Second halves are a little different but due to the Eagles leading so substantially at the half it’s tough to judge them for lesser scoring in the 2nd half of games.
Jalen Hurts sits behind just Patrick Mahomes in the MVP race for the regular season at around 5/2, and while he’s unlikely to have the counting stats come the end of the season, He won’t have a record number of rush yards, rush TDs or anything on passing, but IF he takes his team to a 17-0 season, the first 17-0 season then it would be hard to not reward him with the award, and the rest of their schedule is incredibly easy. It wouldn’t be too much of a shock to see them get to 14 or 15-0, they’ve only really got the Cowboys as a challenge.
For what it’s worth he has been very good this year, they have built an offense around his talents and it’s paid dividends, his mobility is huge in their run game and bringing in AJ Brown has been a master stroke by them. Hurts sits 6th in QBR, 2nd in INTs with just 2 turnovers this year. He rushed a lot at the start of the season but that has dropped off in recent weeks with a maximum of 9 attempts on the ground now, he had 9 for 20 rush yards against the Commies in their first matchup.
Miles Sanders is looking every bit as good as the player I drafted EVERYWHERE with a rushing TD in each of their last 3 games and over 70 yards in each of those as he becomes the main beneficiary of their outstanding offensive line and rushing scheme. Behind him are Kenneth Gainwell who generally does as he name suggests and Boston Scott who gets a fair few 3rd down attempts.
The passing game has been largely AJ Brown this season, which makes sense given how much they paid him, it looks like it could have been the move that gets them over the line in terms of a proper push for the Super Bowl as Hurts has a big body on the outside he knows will outmuscle defenders and get the ball. He has 5 TDs in their last 3 games after a hat-trick against the Steelers shitty defense. Devonta Smith is firmly second-fiddle for this team but had his biggest game of the season in the first game between these two with 169 and a TD against them, ANNNNND It’s his Birthday today, what better present than getting him into the endzone…
The obvious target between the top two at WR is Dallas Goedert who is just behind Kelce and Andrews in fantasy TE’s I have faith in this year, although his lack of TDs has him 6th in scoring. He had 100 and a TD against the Texans last time they took the field 11 days ago and while I doubt it will be that line here he should go well. Away from the big 3 here there’s not much to hang your hat on Quez Watkins and Zach Pascal can pop up with catches but you can’t trust them and the RBs are all capable of doing bits in the receiving game as well.
They have a legit defense too with pressure up front and talent on the back end, they’ve got a +15 turnover differential this year, the next closest to them are +8, nearly doubling up their opposition, that’s nearly 2 per game, amazing stuff. They’re top 5 in yards allowed per game, 2nd against the pass, and ranks the defense second.
Not quite as much to talk about on this side of the ball as the Commies look to put a little pressure on the Cowboys in 2nd spot in the division, although it does seem like it’s quite far away from them. They have Taylor Heinicke at QB, he’s been fine, but as far as the fans are concerned it’s not Carson Wentz and therefore he’s a hero. He’s thrown an interception in each of his 3 starts, and should have had far more of them. He has been more capable of moving the ball for them and has targeted Terry McLaurin a lot more than he had previously.
Brian Robinson has come back from being shot in pre-season and while the team seem to like him, he’s not looked great, 3.3 yards per carry, and a TD for him, but he seems like he’ll get most of the carries but what that is worth, I’m not sure. Antonio Gibson remains in the offense, largely as a pass-catcher now but does get some run on the ground as well, he’s scored 2 in their last 3 games. Heincke is mobile as well so maybe worth a look at his rushing props.
Terry McLaurin has 250-odd yards since Heinicke came in and his targets have greatly increased but he’s going up against the best defense in the league against WRs this year, he’s a player who always looks great but has been screwed by the “talent” he’s had throwing the ball to him, although he did have over 100 yards against the Eagles earlier in the season. Curtis Samuel has shown a few glimpses this season with a little run of health finally. Outside of those two it’s a bit of a crap shoot, Cam Sims, the TEs Logan Thomas, John Bates, both have a couple of targets a game. Oh shit, they should have rookie Jahan Dotson back in this one too, or next week, he did looks fairly good when available.
The Commies defense has been able to get pressure on QBs for most of the year but that will be tough against a mobile QB as they face here.
So, what’s the deal?
I’d imagine the Eagles will do what they have done to most of the teams they’ve faced this year, go ahead by a decent amount and see out the game in fairly safe fashion. I think I’d lean to the Commanders covering the spread with it being over 10, and I’d probably lean over the total with it being relatively low.
My bets for this one – Devonta Smith anytime TD – 2/1 (PP); Heinicke o14.5 rush yards