Philadelphia Eagles vs. Washington Redskins
Date and Time: Sunday, September 10, 2017, 1 p.m. ET
Location: FedEx Field
Week 1 Opening NFL Odds at BookMaker.eu: Redskins -3, O/U 48.5
Eagles vs. Redskins TV Coverage: FOX
Last season started out great for the Eagles who shocked many NFL pundits by getting out to a perfect 3-0 start before heading into an early Week 4 bye. Though the first two wins against Cleveland and Chicago failed to move the needle, the 34-3 handling of the Pittsburgh Steelers certainly put the team on the map as a possible dark horse in the NFC East. Unfortunately, Doug Pederson’s squad wasn’t able to build off the early momentum and went on to drop nine of their final 13 games to finish up 7-9 overall.
Even so, there were some positives to take away from the overall body of work. The defense really came together under the tutelage of Jim Schwartz ranking amongst the top-10 in takeaways and giving up less than 240 passing yards per game ( No. 13 ). Wentz wrapped 2016-17 with 3,782 passing yards and 16 touchdown passes. He did throw 14 picks, but you can chalk that up to being a rookie. Upper management brought him in some new toys to work with, and if he can build a deep-ball rapport with newcomer Alshon Jeffery, look out!
The Redskins entered last season the defending NFC East champs after winning nine games a year removed from bringing up the rear of the division with a 4-12 record. It was quite the turnaround for Jay Gruden’s squad, but the success went to the team’s head and it was unable to build off the momentum. Washington still had a shot of going to the playoffs in Week 17, but it dropped an ugly 19-10 decision to the rival Giants. That defeat has kept a bad taste in the team’s collective mouth throughout the offseason.
Making matters even worse was upper management’s inability to ink Kirk Cousins to a long term contract. Instead, they franchise tagged him for a second straight season. Should the former Michigan State Spartan have another big season, it’s unlikely the team will be able to resign him. He’ll also be breaking some new pass catchers in this season with both DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon bolting for greener pastures. Hopefully him and Terrelle Pryor can get on the same page immediately.
Matchup to Watch
The Redskins have struggled to run the ball throughout the Gruden era, and that doesn’t seem likely to change with Rob Kelley, Chris Thompson and rookie Semaje Perine all unable to separate themselves from one another in the preseason. Philadelphia was decent and terrible defending Washington on the ground last season, but the Skins will likely look to the air in this one with the passing attack the staple of the offense. Cousins put forth a 4:2 TD/INT ratio versus the Eagles last season, but failed to surpass the 300 passing yard plateau in both contests. If Philadelphia is once again able to bottle up the Skins ground game like it did in the second meeting last season, the Redskins will be forced to play into the bread and butter aspect of Philadelphia’s defense which is defending the pass.
Eagles vs. Redskins Picks
When the Redskins offense isn’t elite, it struggles to move the pigskin and put points on the board. I’m having a hard time buying into the Skins this season due to all the personnel changes. Not only on the offensive side of the ball, but with who is calling the shots. Sean McVay bolted for Los Angeles to coach the Rams, and he was one of the main architects of building Washington’s offense into the juggernaut it’s been the last couple seasons. Philadelphia possesses the better overall defense, and it greatly improved its roster this past offseason. Unlike the Redskins. The betting public has turned Philly into the short road fav after opening as 3-point underdogs at the best NFL sportsbooks, and I have to say I agree with the move.
Eagles vs. Redskins Week 1 ATS Pick: Eagles -1 at BookMaker.eu
Eagles vs. Redskins Score Prediction: Eagles 27 – Redskins 20