Monday Night Football brings us a massive game in the NFC East between the Washington Redskins and Philadelphia Eagles. As the home team, the Eagles are 6-point favorites with an over/under of 45 points.
The reigning Super Bowl champs need this game badly. They were fortunate to pick up a comeback win over the Giants last week and will now seek to win back-to-back games for the first time all season. Philadelphia is 5-6, putting them a game behind three other teams tied for the last playoff spot in the NFC. The Eagles are also facing a brutal schedule down the stretch, so this is a must-win for them.
Washington is nearly as desperate for a win. They have lost two in a row to drop to 6-5. They need a win on Monday just to keep pace with the Cowboys for first place in the NFC East. Of course, they are also part of that three-way tie with Seattle and Carolina for the final wild-card spot. The Redskins have a somewhat manageable schedule down the stretch, but that doesn’t mean they can afford to drop three in a row.
The Real McCoy
It can’t be forgotten that the Redskins are relying on Colt McCoy at quarterback after the devastating injury to Alex Smith. McCoy had a rough outing against the Cowboys on Thanksgiving, throwing three interceptions despite a pair of touchdown passes. In his defense, that game came on a short week, so McCoy’s prep time was limited, especially considering that he doesn’t get many practice reps as the backup. With over a week to prepare for the Eagles, McCoy should be better prepared for Monday’s game.
Of course, a better indication for Washington’s success may be their running game. Adrian Peterson has made a positive impact this season, but he’s struggled the past few weeks, gaining no more than 68 yards in his last four games. The Redskins will need to get him going to take some of the pressure of McCoy.
Stuck on the Ground
Meanwhile, the Eagles have had their own problems running the ball this season. Josh Adams came alive last week, gaining 84 yards on 22 carries. But that was just one game, and now Adams is questionable to play on Monday due to a hip injury. Without certainty that the Eagles will get more out of their running game, there’s a lot more on the shoulders of Carson Wentz, who hasn’t had the most reliable receiving corps this season.
It’s worth noting that the Washington defense can be quite stingy. There were hurt by a couple of big plays last week against Dallas, but that’s been a rarity this season. Only the Saints, Cowboys, and Falcons have managed to score more than 23 points against the Redskins this season, so they should provide plenty of resistance for the Philadelphia offense.
Keeping It Tight
These two division rivals know each other well, and both need to win this game. That should translate to a close, low-scoring game. Given their inconsistency on offense, it’s tough to ask the Eagles to cover six points. Bet on the Redskins to at least beat the 6-point spread on Monday night.