The Washington Football Team host the Philadelphia Eagles to begin the NFL season. Earlier in the week, Washington was a 6.5-point favorite (GambetDC), though as of this writing the line has moved to 5.5.
Date: Sunday, September 13
Time: 1:00 pm ET
Location: FedExField, Landover, Maryland
Line: Washington +5.5 (-118)
Over/Under: 42.5 points (-118)
Let’s take a look at the NFC East divisional matchup.
Philadelphia Battling Through Injuries on Offense
The Eagles have dealt with a slew of injuries, losing two starting offensive lineman in the months before the season. Luckily, they were able to lure back former All-Pro left tackle Jason Peters.
Injuries haunted Philadelphia last season, particularly at wide receiver spot, and this year, the club begins with a partial deck. as Alshon Jeffery will miss the contest. The team traded for Marquise Goodwin during the offseason but he won’t play as he decided to opt-out of the upcoming season because of COVID-19 concerns.
Miles Sanders will miss the contest with a hamstring injury. Boston Scott and Corey Clement will split the carries with Scott getting the start.
Regardless of who’s around him, the offense will again run through Carson Wentz. Wentz did a good job of not turning the ball over last season, tossing just six interceptions compared to 27 touchdowns. His upside was limited, however. Wentz’s yards per attempt sat at 6.7, a career-low.
Desean Jackson, who torched Washington for two touchdowns in the Eagles opener last season, is healthy and expected to start for Philly. He only appeared in three games for Doug Pederson’s club last year because of injuries.
Pederson missed some of training camp because of COVID-19, as Pro Football Action relayed. He continued to lead the franchise from afar as he recovered, though one has to wonder how that impacted the Eagles’ preparation.
Matchup to Watch: Washington Offense vs. Philadelphia Defense
The Eagles have one of the best defensive lines in all of football. They ranked fourth in terms of rushing success allowed and third in stuff rate last season, according to Football Outsiders, so expecting major production from Washington’s running game is not a smart bet.
In the secondary, Philadelphia went through changes this offseason, bringing in Darius Slay and letting Ronald Darby (who signed with Washington) leave in free agency. Expect Slay to shadow Terry McLaurin. The electric wideout is a rising talent in the league and he should have a terrific sophomore campaign, though the production won’t elevate until after Week 1.
Haskins didn’t have the best rookie year. Seven touchdowns with seven interceptions; 56.8 completion percentage and 6.7 Yards/attempt. That was under the old regime and new coach Ron Rivera believes he can get the most out of the 2019 No. 15 overall pick.
This is a make or break year for Haskins, as Football Outsiders’ Aaron Schatz and I discussed on the DesktopGM podcast. Many quarterbacks have had a prosperous career after having a miserable rookie season; few have had a successful career after a tumultuous sophomore campaign.
It won’t be easy for Haskins in Week 1, though if he can be a game-manager who doesn’t turn the ball over, Washington has a chance against Philly behind him.
Prediction: Washington Loses, Covers
- Eagles 24-19
It’s easy to envision Haskins and Washington’s tough defensive front doing enough to keep this game close.