Eagles beat writers make their predictions for the rescheduled Washington game
The two-day postponement allowed WFT time to get some players back, but there are still unknowns, including how the Eagles will respond.
The Eagles will face the Washington Football Team at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Lincoln Financial Field in a game that was postponed due to Washington’s COVID-19 issues. Here are the game predictions from our Eagles beat writers:
It’s become a little easier to make a pick for this game, but there are still possible additions or subtractions to the COVID-19 reserve list as of Monday evening. I don’t think there will be enough movement to alter my prediction much. Washington benefited some from the two-day delay, and the Eagles suffered a couple of likely losses, the most notable guard Landon Dickerson.
But they did gain a couple of extra days of rest for quarterback Jalen Hurts, who will start. And Washington likely lost its best offensive lineman, guard Brandon Scheff, to COVID. It also probably will be without several assistant coaches. The biggest uncertainly is at quarterback, though. Taylor Heinicke and backup Kyle Allen are still on the COVID list and Garrett Gilbert may be forced to make only his second career start.
» READ MORE: Washington QB outlook still uncertain; Eagles’ Jalen Hurts on track to start
Any way you slice it, the Eagles have a decided advantage. The short turnaround before the Giants game next week is another story. But there shouldn’t be many excuses for losing on Tuesday. That doesn’t mean Washington still doesn’t have talented players. Wide receiver Terry McLaurin is expected to go after suffering a concussion last week. And defensive linemen Jonathan Allen and Montez Sweat were activated off COVID reserve on Sunday.
But the Eagles have for the most part handled inferior competition. Hurts hasn’t played in more than three weeks. There could be some rust, although he can’t possibly perform as poorly as he did against the Giants at MetLife. But I think the Eagles’ run game will just be too much for Washington, and their defense shouldn’t have much to worry about as long as McLaurin is kept in check.
Is an upset possible? Absolutely. See: the Giants loss. But the odds are greatly in the Eagles’ favor.
Prediction: Eagles 27, Washington 13
The two-day postponement afforded Washington some time to recoup a few players, but there’s still plenty of unknown going into Tuesday night’s game.
Going into Monday evening, Washington still had starting quarterback Heinicke and backup Allen on the COVID list. If Washington has to start Gilbert, who was signed off the Patriots’ practice squad last Friday, the Eagles’ defense will be at a massive advantage, especially considering All-Pro right guard Schreff is on the COVID list as well.
Washington has some dynamic playmakers in McLaurin, Antonio Gibson, and J.D. McKissic, but the offense has struggled in pass protection all season. Losing Schreff won’t help.
Even if Washington gets Heinicke or Allen back, the uncertainty surrounding this team all week is a massive disadvantage. If most of those players can’t play, the Eagles will be playing a team missing more than a dozen players.
» READ MORE: COVID-19 postponed an Eagles game and allowed us to look past football’s greater risks
There’s a chance the Eagles could start looking ahead at the quick turnaround that looms Sunday against the Giants, but I’d imagine the postponement and the feeling that the league cheated them by pushing the game back will result in a focused bunch of Eagles players.
Either way, this is a game the Eagles should win. Hurts is a full-go after starting last week with uncertainty around his ankle. Dickerson’s likely absence after landing on the COVID list will hurt the Eagles’ run game, but Hurts’ return should give it a boost. Washington has a talented defensive front, but the majority of the impact players (Jonathan Allen, Montez Sweat, and Matt Ioannidis) missed most of the week because of the outbreak. Don’t forget, Chase Young is out for the season with a torn ACL.
The Eagles haven’t played a game in 16 days. There’s a chance for rust. There’s a chance for sloppiness, especially given the strange timing of the game. Still, I expect them to play with the edge of a team that feels like the league screwed them, and I expect them to beat a Washington Football Team that has been forced to think about much more than football over the past seven days.
Prediction: Eagles 28, Washington 17
Even with an unresolved quarterback issue — with Jalen Hurts doing “everything in his power” to return from a high ankle sprain and backup Gardner Minshew playing well — the Eagles have a clear advantage in this Week 15 contest. And there are indications Hurts could make his return Tuesday night.
Washington is down bad and in the midst of an outbreak with 15 players still on the reserve/COVID-19 list as of Tuesday evening. Quarterback Taylor Heinicke and backup Kyle Allen are both on the COVID list.
Even if Heinicke plays, he’s clearly not feeling 100 percent and continues to battle with upper and lower body injuries. If the defense maintains its consistency and intensity, this game could get out of hand early in favor of the home Birds. The offensive line also has a terrific opportunity to take advantage of a depleted Washington front. I’m expecting a heavy dose of carries from all of Philadelphia’s running backs as coach Nick Sirianni navigates his way through mid-December.
The Eagles have won their six games by an average of 18.3 points, and this weekend sets up to be a possible blowout.
Whether it’s Hurts or Minshew (and it’ll likely be Hurts) - the Eagles should have a relatively easy path to victory. A win over Washington would catapult them into the NFC’s final playoff spot with less than a month of regular season games remaining.
Prediction: Eagles 27, Washington 10