The Philadelphia Eagles have abandoned the title “Dream Team,” and for good reason. The Eagles’ season has been closer to a nightmare than a dream come true. With loads of talent on both sides of the ball, Philly hasn’t been able to put things together. They’ll look to get on track this Sunday when they travel to the nation’s capital to take on the surprising Washington Redskins.
The Eagles opened as 1 ½ point favorites, but slowly over the course of the week the line started to get larger. Currently books are listing the game at either 2 ½ or 3 points with 3 being the popular number. The sharps have seen something they like in this matchup, so for this week’s wiseguys free pick, consider siding with the road favorites.
Injuries could become a factor in this game, and the Redskins seem to be in worse shape. Starting running back Tim Hightower is listed as questionable though he’s expected to play. Nevertheless, he won’t be 100% so it’ll be interesting to see how his shoulder responds to contact. Chris Cooley is also listed as questionable with a bum knee. And Anthony Armstrong’s hamstring is still giving him trouble so he’s listed as questionable as well. Considering the Redskins’ offense isn’t particularly explosive, they need guys like Hightower and Cooley to be healthy and contributing. For the Eagles, tackle Jason Peters is out for the game. But Steve Smith recently came back from injury and should be a solid option for Michael Vick.
The technical numbers don’t tell much, though this season the Redskins have clearly been better against the spread; Philadelphia is 1-4 while Washington is 3-1. Over the past three seasons, the Eagles are 5-3 ats as a road favorite of 3 points or less, 10-10 on the road, and 7-7 against division opponents. The Redskins are 3-3 as a home underdog of 3 points or less, 6-9 at home, 8-6 versus division opponents and 0-2 after a bye.
I find Washington’s bye to be interesting. They haven’t played well out of the bye in recent years and they have to play a hungry Eagles team. Also, I’m wondering how the Redskins will handle the press they’ve gotten. Coming into the season, the Eagles were seen as the clear cut favorite to win the NFC East, while Washington was expected to be in the cellar. Now that the opposite scenario has come to be and the ‘Skins have had an extra week to think about it, how will that affect their mentality? Will they still play with a chip on their shoulder?
One reason for liking the Eagles is the “they’re due” factor. Philly is due for a big win. There is simply too much talent for this team to continually lose close ball games. LeSean McCoy and Ronnie Brown are good running backs. DeSean Jackson and Steve Smith are dangerous options on the outside. And of course Michael Vick is still the most explosive player in the League. Defensively, guys like Jason Babin, Nnamdi Asomugha, and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie need to be more assertive. But again, overall, this is one of the most talented teams in the NFL, and Andy Reid is a great coach.
The Redskins have been one of the year’s biggest surprises, along with Detroit and San Francisco. But perhaps “they’re due” for a letdown. Look for the Eagles to bring Washington back down to Earth in this one. Consider siding with the wiseguys and laying a field goal on the road. Good luck!
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