8:30 p.m. on ESPN
Eagles favored by 4.5
The Eagles can become the first team in the NFL to six wins in 2017 — if they complete a series sweep of the NFC East rival Redskins on Monday night.
No need to pinch yourself, because you're not dreaming. At 5-1, the Eagles entered Week 7 with the league's best record. They're on a four-game winning streak and are set to kick off a three-game homestand. And the Eagles already knocked off Washington on the road in the regular-season opener, so confidence should be sky high.
With another victory over the Redskins, not only would the Eagles take a commanding three-game lead in the division standings, they also would continue to stake their claim as the hottest team in pro football.
Not the same Redskins
Back in Week 1, when the prospect of a new season gave hope to all 32 teams, Washington was a tough opponent. The Eagles would eventually win the initial meeting by a final score of 30-17, but they led by only two points until just under two minutes to play in the fourth quarter.
But much has happened over the past month-and-a-half, and the Redskins do not appear to be as strong of an opponent now. Frankly, they've been decimated by injuries.
Defensive lineman Jonathan Allen and kicker Dustin Hopkins went on injured reserve this week. All-Pro cornerback Josh Norman is out as well, while fellow starting defensive backs Bashaud Breeland and Deshazor Everett are among six players listed as questionable. The questionables also include left tackle Trent Williams, who is desperately trying to delay knee surgery.
The 'Skins certainly have enough weapons on both sides of the ball that they still pose a threat. However, there's no denying their roster has been weakened by injuries, and their depth will be put to the test against the Eagles.
The injuries to Washington's secondary may be especially problematic, given the way the Eagles attacked this area during the previous meeting.
The Eagles managed to score 30, and seven of those were the result of a defensive touchdown, but the offense easily could've been much worse. Carson Wentz had receivers open deep down the field on multiple occasions yet repeatedly overthrew or underthrew the likes of Alshon Jeffery, Nelson Agholor and Torrey Smith.
Wentz completed 26 of 39 pass attempts for 307 yards with two touchdowns in the opener, despite missing on some big gainers. In other words, the outcome could've been far worse.
Think Wentz will miss on those shots again should they present themselves? Don't count on it. The second-year quarterback has been connecting on a higher rate of his deep targets of late, while throwing for 526 yards and seven touchdowns in the last two contests. As long as he's in that kind of rhythm, Wentz is capable of doing some serious damage against this group.
An emerging threat
Starting running back Robert Kelley — officially questionable — remains among the many injuries to Washington this week. That being said, his absence has led to something of a silver lining in the form of a breakout season for Chris Thompson.
Thompson has sneakily become one of the most dangerous offensive weapons in the NFL. His 515 yards from scrimmage are less than 200 behind his career high with 11 games to play. His whopping 18.9 yards per reception were good for fourth in the NFL entering the week.
This is a so-called third-down running back, who with 340 yards receiving through five games is currently on pace to eclipse 1,000 on the season.
Thompson has become by far the Redskins' biggest weapon, leading the team through the air, rushing with 175 yards on the ground, and touchdowns with four. Find a way to slow Thompson and keep him from getting into the open field and the Eagles will likely slow the entire offense.
We're No. 1
Of course, the Eagles probably aren't too concerned about Washington running the ball against them. After all, nobody else has had much success doing so.
The Eagles may have the NFL's 29th-ranked pass defense through six weeks, but that's at least partially because they boast the league's best run D. Allowing only 67.5 yards per game on the ground, the Eagles are forcing opponents to put the ball in the air, and while that's led to some statistical production, it's also played right into their hands.
One-dimensional offenses have led to plenty of opportunities in the Eagles' secondary, which entered the week tied for 11th with six interceptions. The Eagles' 14 sacks are also tied for 15th.
These aren't incredible rankings, either. Still, it goes to show what can happen when offenses are forced to repeatedly throw the ball for lack of another option against even a suspect secondary. Often times, it's an approach that will eventually lead to mistakes — like Brandon Graham's sack of Kirk Cousins that resulted in a 20-yard fumble return against Washington in Week 1.
Controlling their destiny
Washington is an opponent that's there for the taking. And as long as the Eagles take care of business, they will remain squarely in the driver's seat in the NFC East, and the entire conference for that matter.
The Eagles are the only team with two wins in the division, and the Cowboys are currently the only other team without a loss. In terms of the entire NFC, the Eagles are also a perfect 4-0 going into this game, while only the Falcons (3-0) remain unbeaten in conference play.
This game is all about control. If the Eagles control the Redskins, they will control the East, and they will be well on their way to controlling a conference that's very much up for grabs.
In other words, the Eagles need to take what is rightfully theirs on Monday.