Eagles vs. Washington Week 17 Preview: key matchups and official prediction
After starting the season 2-5, the surging Eagles have won six of their last eight games and are in firm control of their playoff chances.
The road to the postseason is straightforward for Philadelphia — win the remaining two games and they’re in. However, they can clinch a playoff berth this weekend if the following happens:
- Win over Washington
- Packers win over Vikings
- 49ers win over Texans OR Saints lose to Panthers
The road begins Sunday in Washington as the Eagles look to defeat the Football Team for the second time in three weeks. The opposition will look slightly different from their Tuesday night matchup as starting QB Taylor Heinicke has returned to the lineup after being in COVID-19 protocols.
Running back Antonio Gibson and left guard Ereck Flowers will miss Sunday’s game for Washington after being placed on the COVID-19 list on Friday. The Football Team will also be without starting cornerback William Jackson III, four offensive linemen and punter Tress Way.
The Washington Football Team placed RB Antonio Gibson on the COVID-19 reserve list.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 31, 2021
With J.D. Mckissic on injured reserve, Washington is left with Jaret Patterson, Jonathan Williams and former Eagle Wendell Smallwood at running back.
Sitting at 6-9, Washington is clinging to their playoff hopes by a thread after getting obliterated by 42 points last week in Dallas. Heinicke has struggled as of late, throwing for 5 TDs and 5 INTs in his last four games.
WFT head coach Ron Rivera also stated that Kyle Allen will see some time this week. Allen has thrown for 120 yards and a TD over the last two weeks in relief duty.
Ron Rivera says they're starting Taylor Heinicke against Philadelphia but expects to play Kyle Allen. Didn't rule our starting Allen in the finale at New York.— Ben Standig (@BenStandig) December 27, 2021
Philadelphia’s rushing attack has remained effective despite Jalen Hurts rushing for only 45 yards over the last two weeks — thanks largely in part to the OL being dominant regardless of who they plug in there.
Making it seven straight weeks of 130+ yards rushing, the Eagles will have to move on without Miles Sanders, who suffered a broken hand in last week’s win over the Giants. RB Jordan Howard is also ruled questionable with a stinger.
Nick Sirianni will emphasize getting out to a quick start after scoring just three points in the first half last week against the lowly Giants. The slow starts are a habit the Eagles will need to kick before facing more complete teams in the postseason.
|Philadelphia Eagles||-4.5 (-108)||-200||O 44.5|
|Washington Football Team||+4.5 (-113)||+165||U 44.5|
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Albeit against inferior opponents, the Eagles have been playing winning football while Washington has been fighting each other on the sidelines. This game should be more competitive than 12 days ago, but not by much.
Prediction: Eagles 31, Washington 21
That’s what I call ELITE BALL PLACEMENT. pic.twitter.com/SOPWGPh0LZ— Victor Williams (@ThePhillyPod) December 22, 2021