The Eagles (5-6) are coming off a 25-22 win over the Giants last week to keep their season alive. They will host the Redskins (6-5) in an NFC East battle on Monday night at the Linc.
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To the predictions:
Reuben Frank (5-6)
The thing that scares me about this game is Colt McCoy. If the Eagles go into this game thinking, "Oh, Alex Smith is out, we're only facing Colt McCoy," they're going to lose. This team can't afford to play that game with any player, any team. McCoy has a 7-19 career record, and it would be easy to just assume he stinks, but there's a reason he's in his ninth NFL season. He's smart and he's got a bigger arm than Smith, and if the Eagles don't pressure him and tackle well, he's capable of chucking it up and down the field all day. The thing about McCoy is that he'll also make mistakes, and when he puts a ball up for grabs, the Eagles have to take advantage. Nothing's come easy for the Eagles this year, and I don't think this one will either. But when all is said and done? I just don't see the Redskins coming into the Linc on a Monday night and winning. So I'll go Eagles 23, Redskins 21 in one of those games where everybody's holding their breath until the final snap of the night.
Eagles 23, Redskins 21
Dave Zangaro (4-7)
It's hard to feel extremely confident picking the Eagles against anyone these days, but I can't find it in me to pick a team quarterbacked by Colt McCoy, especially not on the road. I think the Eagles find ways to get to the quarterback and finally force a few big turnovers.
I liked the balanced attack the Birds showed last week and if they continue that, I'd expect it to open up more in the passing game, particularly the play action game. The Eagles were able to build some confidence with a tight win last week and I think they win back-to-back games for the first time this season. It'll at least make the stretch run a tad more interesting.
Eagles 24, Redskins 19
Derrick Gunn (5-6)
My goodness … how many more injuries can the Eagles stomach? Especially at linebacker. Jordan Hicks is struggling with a calf strain and we found out Wednesday that Nigel Bradham broke his thumb in three places against the Giants and is questionable for Monday night. This is on top of a secondary that's a health mystery every week. Looks like the Eagles' defensive front will be the focal point of their success or failure against the Redskins.
Since taking over for Alex Smith (broken leg), Colt McCoy has been unimpressive. In two games, he's completed 60 percent of his passes with three touchdowns and three interceptions. If the Eagles' front can make McCoy uncomfortable when he steps back to pass, it will make their job that much easier.
As for the Eagles' offense, they finally committed to the run against the Giants and rookie Josh Adams is now leading the way. Adams had 22 carries this past Sunday, and hopefully the Birds' O-line can open holes for him against a stingy 'Skins front. Washington is eighth in the league in run defense (100.3 yards allowed per game). Carson Wentz must protect the ball because Washington has 11 interceptions and is fourth overall in takeaways with 21.
Eagles 24, Redskins 17
Ray Didinger (6-5)
Everyone talks about Washington losing quarterback Alex Smith and how that crippled their season, but the Redskins were backsliding even before Smith went down. They have lost three of their last four games and their offensive line is almost as battered as the Eagles' secondary so even at 6-5 they are in trouble.
Colt McCoy is a veteran backup who doesn't pose much of a threat to the Eagles' B-list secondary. He is a dink and dunker who will make mistakes if he is hurried (see his three interceptions against Dallas on Thanksgiving day). The formula for the Eagles is simple: Stack the box against Adrian Peterson and make McCoy beat you.
We'll see if Sunday's comeback win over the Giants will inspire Doug Pederson to lean more heavily on the running game. He talked this week about the value of a balanced offense. Let's see if he takes that approach into this game. The Redskins' run defense was very stout earlier this season but it has sprung a few leaks lately.
Eagles 24, Redskins 17
Andrew Kulp (5-6)
Believe it or not, this game could be a litmus test of sorts. The effort against a badly wounded Colt McCoy-led offense should tell us everything we need to know about the Eagles' playoff chances and how they'll fare down the stretch.
There's enough tape on McCoy that, even with lingering injuries in the secondary and across the defense, the Eagles should be able to create a turnover or two and limit Washington in the red zone. And if Carson Wentz and company merely control the football, points will follow organically. I wouldn't go so far as to call this an easy win - but convincing, maybe.
Eagles 27, Redskins 16
Corey Seidman (5-6)
The Redskins are so banged up and that includes Adrian Peterson, who has a shoulder issue. I just don't see a running back like Peterson, at this age and this speed behind this injury-ravaged O-line, doing damage to the Eagles.
This is a hugely important game and for Colt McCoy, it will be in hostile territory in front of a national audience. Doesn't seem like a recipe for success - I'm thinking 212 passing yards with 2 TDs and two turnovers. The Alex Smith-to-McCoy downgrade isn't as substantial as it may appear because Smith hadn't really adjusted to Jay Gruden's system.
Eagles 31, Redskins 17
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