Washington Redskins at Philadelphia Eagles
Spread: Eagles -5.5 | Over/Under: 49
Monday Night Football sees the Philadelphia Eagles, NFC East leaders at 5-1, welcome their division rivals the Washington Redskins, currently sitting at 3-2. The two sides last met in Week 1, when on the back of 307 passing yards from Carson Wentz the visiting Eagles pulled off a 30-17 victory. This win ended a run of five straight losses to the Redskins.
Wentz has carried his productive start to the season with him so far, averaging 264 passing yards per contest on his way to 1584 for the season and tossing 13 touchdowns against just three interceptions. The Redskins have not allowed a 300 yard passer since Week 1, and have also not allowed more than one passing score in any of their other games.
Kirk Cousins, who threw for 240 yards against the Eagles in the seasons opening week, has averaged 267 yards per game since, with just one interception since he was picked off by Jalen Mills. Until Week 6, the 240 passing yards Cousins amassed was the fewest allowed by the Eagles all season, with signal callers averaging 313 yards through the air between Weeks 2 and 5. The Eagles have only given up multiple passing scores twice all year.
After a slow start, the Eagles have succeeded in getting LeGarrette Blount more involved in their offense. He has 390 yards on the ground, averaging 5.6 yards per carry, and has one touchdown. Wendell Smallwood has missed the last two games with a knee injury, and his status is still up in the air for this game. His 29 rushing attempts have only brought him 113 yards so far this year, but he has caught 7 passes for an additional 56 yards. Running backs have not really enjoyed much success against the Redskins in 2017, with the team only having one game in which they surrendered 100 yards on the ground to tailbacks.
An ankle injury is still limiting Rob Kelley, making his involvement on Monday night questionable. His 131 rushing yards have come at a 4.5 yards per attempt clip, and is second on the team behind Samaje Perine (166 @ 3 yards per attempt) and the electric Chris Thompson (175 @ 4.9). Thompson also leads the team in receiving yards with 340, and is averaging nearly four catches a game. The Eagles have allowed more than 58 rushing yards to running backs just once this season. They held the Panthers backs to one yard on 13 attempts last week.
Alshon Jeffery is the primary outside receiver, and while he hasn’t yet put up big numbers his 24 receptions are good for second on the team. Only tight end Zach Ertz and fellow receiver Nelson Agholor have more receiving yards than Jeffery’s 317. Agholor has been nothing short of a revelation in his third season out of USC, with 20 receptions for 321 yards and four touchdowns. Agholor is the only receiver with more than one 50 yard touchdown grab in the NFL this season. After allowing just 139 yards to wide receivers in Weeks 2 and 3, the Redskins have been more generous in their last two games. Wide outs have had 11 receptions in each game, and have amassed 129 and 158 yards. Starting cornerbacks Josh Norman and Bashuad Breeland are both questionable for this game.
After a breakout 2016 season with the Browns, Terrelle Pryor signed a one year deal with the Redskins this past off season. He is the only Redskins wide receiver with at least 200 receiving yards. But he is averaging a pedestrian 42 yards per game. Ryan Grant and Josh Doctson have two receiving scores a piece. But they have just 17 catches combined. Jamison Crowder, despite an impressive 70.8% catch rate, has just 121 yards on 17 scoreless receptions. Wide receivers have averaged 15 receptions and 196 yards a game against the Eagles in 2017, but have scored one or less touchdowns in five of their six games.
Usually a slow starter, Ertz has exploded out of the blocks this season. He is tied for team lead in touchdowns with four, and his 405 yards are the most on the team. He is on pace for a 91 catch, 1088 yard season, with ten scores sprinkled in for good measure. Trey Burton and Brent Celek have combined for eight catches, 58 yards and a score. Tight ends have caught an average of six passes a game against the Redskins this season, while the Redskins have given up 100 yards to tight ends in three of their five games.
Jordan Reed has not enjoyed a particularly strong start to his season, with just 18 catches for 142 yards in four games played. He has also yet to score a touchdown. His running mate Vernon Davis, by comparison, has found something akin to the secret of eternal youth. He has 225 yards on 11 grabs, with a single touchdown to his name. Third tight end Niles Paul has one catch all year, for minus three yards. Only Travis Kelce among tight ends has enjoyed any success against the Eagles this season. The team has held opponents to 45 yards or less in five of six games.
Check out our staff NFL picks for week 7 here.
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