The Eagles (8-7) are in Washington to face the Washington Football Team (6-9) at FedExField.
To the predictions:
Reuben Frank (11-4)
They’re missing their best running back and might be missing their second-best running back as well. Their quarterback is still hobbled with an ankle injury that limits his mobility and makes the Eagles easier to defend. They’ve been dogged by slow starts. Washington’s got their quarterback back and several other key players. They’re on the road on New Year’s weekend. There are a lot of reasons to pick against the Eagles this weekend. Not to mention the biggest reason to pick Washington: I’m one game behind in our prediction contest, and I don’t have too many more chances to play catch up! And I do think this is a difficult game. The Eagles need to understand Washington isn’t really the team that got clobbered by Dallas last week. They’ve still won four of their last six, they’ve got a win over Tom Brady and the Bucs, and Ron Rivera will have them ready Sunday. That said, I just think the Eagles will find a way. That’s what they’ve done the last two months, and I believe that’s what they’ll do Sunday at FedEx Field. I think it will be a difficult game. I think it will be a tense game. I think it will be an ugly game. But when all is said and done, I’ll go …
Eagles 23, Washington 20
Dave Zangaro (12-3)
We’re going to learn a lot about this team, quarterback and head coach on Sunday. Because even though we all watched the Cowboys crush Washington last week, they still might put together a tough test for the Eagles. The last time these two teams met wasn’t that long ago but plenty has changed. Most notably, Washington won’t have to start Garrett Gilbert in this game. Taylor Heinicke might not be Tom Brady but he’s no Jake Fromm either. Heinicke can make some plays and Washington with its back against the wall is a tad scary.
With that said, the Eagles are the better team. And if Jalen Hurts can put together a good game and guide the Eagles to a win (and possibly a playoff berth by the end of Sunday) then it’ll really help his case to be this team’s quarterback going forward. It might not be easy on Sunday, but I think the Eagles get it done.
Eagles 27, Washington 20
Ray Didinger (12-3)
Lately the Eagles have fallen into the habit of sleeping through the first quarter of games, then opening one eye, checking the scoreboard, yawning, stretching and finally getting down to business. It's like they show up wearing bedroom slippers and sweat pants.
They have allowed their opponents to score first in each of the last four games. They have been outscored 25-7 in the opening quarter. They came back to win three of those games, but it is not a good look for a team that is supposed to be peaking for the postseason.
You can get away with it when the opposing quarterback is Jake Fromm or Garrett Gilbert, but you start that slow against a Dak Prescott or a Tom Brady and you wind up buried at halftime. If the Eagles do make it to the playoffs that's what they will be up against.
The Cowboys scored 42 points in the first half against Washington on Sunday. It would be nice if the Eagles could get, say, half of that.
Eagles 28, Washington 14
Barrett Brooks (9-6)
Should the Birds be in this position? Do they deserve to be in the position to win this game and be in the playoffs? I say Hell yeah! This opportunity was not handed to them. They worked their butts off to be in this position. Their identity was laid and now it's time to show everyone how their version of Eagles football will be played from this point forward.
There is no question at this point in the season, the Eagles are the better team. Jalen Hurts is better than Taylor Heinicke and the Birds’ O-line is better their O-line. Defensively, I don't think the WFT's front 7 can hold up to our big boys up front.
So I'm not giving analytics or X&O’s. Birds win because they are the better team!
Eagles 32, Washington 10
Mike Mulhern (10-5)
By late Sunday night the Eagles could have their postseason ticket punched, but of all the necessary outcomes for them to qualify, taking care of their own business is the most up in the air. The Vikings aren’t going into Lambeau in a primetime game without Kirk Cousins and beating the Packers. And whoever ends up starting under center for the 49ers should be able to knock off the Texans (note: instead of a 49ers win, a Saints loss to the Panthers would suffice). This is all about the Eagles handling the Washington Football Team, a task that’s sure to be tougher than it was just 12 days ago.
The gift of Garrett Gilbert was a pleasant surprise for a Tuesday night, but he’s simply not an NFL-caliber quarterback. Taylor Heinicke didn’t look like one either last week against the Cowboys, but he’s got enough gumption and gunslinger in him to make you sweat. Plus, I anticipate a Ron Rivera-led team is going to have a little extra fire after being embarrassed on national TV. They’ve also got the revenge card to play and just a sliver of postseason hope to garner all-out effort. This will not be a walk in the park.
I’ll have my eyes on Jalen Hurts and his hobbled ankle. His mobility helped transform the Eagles offense into one of the best in the league during the second half of the season. If he’s limited to being a pocket passer – coupled with a depleted backfield – they’ll have issues putting points on the board. But as Nick Sirianni told his team last week, good teams find a way to win ugly. The Eagles do their part and then sit back and watch their playoff dreams become reality. (Bonus picks: Packers – 34 Vikings – 20 and 49ers – 28 Texans – 17)
Eagles 20 Washington, 16