The playoffs begin early for the Washington Football Team, as they play the NFL’s final regular season game on Sunday Night Football against the Philadelphia Eagles. Washington could have clinched the division last week, but a 20-13 loss to the Carolina Panthers thwarted that plan. Philadelphia lost to the Dallas Cowboys by a score of 37-17 last Sunday.
Washington is 8-6-1 against the spread this season after failing to cover the spread last week as a one-point underdog. They had covered the spread in five straight games before last week. The over-under is 5-9-1 in Washington’s 15 games this season. The Eagles are 5-10 against the spread this season, while the over-under is 7-8. Philadelphia has failed to cover the spread in each of their last two games, including their 20-point loss to Dallas, in which they were a three-point favorite. Washington won the first meeting of the season between these two teams by a score of 27-17 on opening weekend.
Washington can clinch first playoff spot since 2015Despite a losing record, the Washington Football Team can return to the playoffs for the first time in five years on Sunday night. For Washington, the formula is simple: win and you’re in, lose and you’re out. They have lost two straight games, as they risk falling out of the playoffs with another loss. After a 2-7 start, Washington won four straight games to get into playoff contention. They have beaten the Dallas Cowboys twice, and they handed the Pittsburgh Steelers their first loss of the season in week 13.
Washington heads into their must-win season finale with a big question mark at the most important position on the field. Washington benched, and then released, quarterback Dwayne Haskins, Jr., who completed just 50% of his passes and threw two interceptions in their loss to Carolina last week. Haskins, Jr. regained the starting job in week 15 after being benched in week five. Kyle Allen replaced Haskins, Jr., but Allen suffered an injury in week nine. That allowed Alex Smith to return to the football field for the first time in two years after suffered a horrific leg injury in 2018. The quarterback carousel continued in week 14 of the season, as Smith went down with a calf injury. Haskins, Jr. started the last two games, but was benched because of ineffectiveness, which, combined with some off the field issues, including a couple of COVID-19 violations, led to his release.
Smith, who has completed 66.4% of his passes with four touchdowns and six interceptions this season, is listed as questionable for the game on Sunday. If he is unable to compete, then journeyman Taylor Heinicke will get the nod in Washington’s biggest game of the season. Heinicke, who is with his third team since 2017, went 12-19 for 137 yards and a touchdown after replacing Haskins, Jr. in their game versus Carolina. In eight career games, Heinicke has completed 62.3% of his passes for 467 yards, two touchdowns, and three interceptions.
Washington fell behind 20-0 late in the second quarter in their game versus the Panthers before they scored the final 13 points to make the score closer. Washington outgained Carolina 386-280, but they turned the ball over four times in the game. Antonio Gibson rushed for 61 yards in the game, whil J.D. McKissic caught eight passes for 77 yards. Gibson leads the team with 720 yards rushing this season, while Terry McLaurin, who missed last week’s game due to a high-ankle sprain, tops Washington with 80 catches for 1,078 yards.
“What was frustrating was we just didn’t play championship-caliber football,” coach Ron Rivera said on espn.com. “We still control our destiny. That’s the truth of the matter. We have one more game to play. It’s a very important game.”
Washington’s offense is near the bottom of the NFL in most categories this season. They are averaging just 21.0 points per game and 321.9 yards per game. Their defense, however, has kept them in the playoff race, as they are fifth in the league in points allowed (21.0 per game) and third in passing yards allowed per game (198.0). Washington is allowing 310.5 yards per game this season.
Defensive tackle Tim Settle (shoulder), guard Wes Schweitzer (hip), running back Antonio Gibson (toe), linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis (ankle), quarterback Alex Smith (leg), and linebacker Thomas Davis, Sr. (personal) are all questionable for Sunday’s game, while wide receiver Terry McLaurin (ankle) is doubtful.
Eagles looking to knock Washington out of the playoffsThe Philadelphia Eagles, after beginning the season with a 3-4-1 record, have lost six of their last seven games to drop into last place in the NFC East. Their lone win in their last seven games, however, was against the 11-4 New Orleans Saints. The Eagles have had a changing of the guard at the quarterback position this season, as rookie Jalen Hurts took over in week 12, replacing an ineffective Carson Wentz.
Hurts is just 1-3 in his four starts since taking over the starting quarterback job, but he has provided a spark for the team, especially in the last two games. Hurts has had back-to-back 300-yard passing games, as he threw for a career-high 342 yards, including an 81-yard touchdown pass to DeSean Jackson, last week. Hurts also led the team in rushing with 69 yards on the ground. He has completed just 54.7% of his passes this season for 989 yards, six touchdowns, and three interceptions. Hurts is Philadelphia’s second-leading rusher with 320 yards on the ground.
Miles Sanders is the team’s leading rusher with 867 yards rushing and six touchdowns, but he is questionable for Sunday’s game with a knee injury. If he is unable to go, Boston Scott will get the starting nod. He has 309 yards rushing this season. Greg Ward is the Eagles leading receiver with 52 catches and six touchdowns, while Travis Fulgham and tight end Dallas Goedert lead the team with 524 yards receiving apiece.
“It’s disappointing,” defensive back Jalen Mills said on espn.com. “Even from the start of the offseason, we feel and we know that we are a playoff team. It is what it is.”
Philadelphia is being outscored by an average of 26.5-21.3 per game this season. They are ninth in the NFL in rushing yards per game with 127.5. The Eagles are averaging 342.7 yards per game, while they are giving up 370.8 yards per game.
Safety Jalen Mills (illness), DT Fletcher Cox (stinger), and cornerback Kevon Seymour (knee) are out, while running back Miles Sanders (knee), wide receiver Quez Watkins (ribs), defensive back Michael Jacquet III (calf), wide receiver DeSean Jackson (ankle), linebacker Davion Taylor (knee), running back Jason Huntley (illness), tight end Richard Rodgers (shin), defensive end Derek Barnett (calf), linebacker Duke Riley (bicep), tackle Jordan Mailata (concussion), tight end Dallas Goedert (ankle), and linebacker Shaun Bradley (shoulder) are all listed as questionable for Sunday’s game.
Trends found on oddsshark.com:
- The Eagles are 4-1 ATS in their last five home games
- Washington is 2-5 ATS in their last seven games against Philadelphia