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Here are our Week 17 NFL picks against the spread!
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With a win here, the Philadelphia Eagles would continue to hang onto at least the final NFC wildcard spot, this team’s 5th ranked defense a huge part of their three-game winning streak that’s kept their playoff hopes alive, and now QB Jalen Hurts gets to prove his worth as the franchise starter under center as does RB Miles Sanders, who averages 5.5 yards per carry.
The Washington Football Team’s QB Tyler Heinicke got emotional after getting creamed by the Dallas Cowboys last week, 14-56, and now HC Ron Rivera’s 6-9 team is essentially out of the playoff run, so they will act as spoilers here to try and ruin the Eagles’ run at the postseason, a job made easier when dual-threat RB Antonio Gibson plays the way he has been this season.
These two NFC East rivals have played each other 173 previous times (including 1 postseason game), with the Washington Football Team winning 88 of those games and the Philadelphia Eagles winning 80 of the games, plus there have been five ties.
One of the major reasons the Philadelphia Eagles are still in the playoff hunt is their excellent defensive play, right now that unit ranked 5th best in the league after allowing opponents to gain 320 total yards of offense and score 21 points per game.
Against the run, though, Philly’s defense drops down to 9th best, still more than competent keeping opponents to just 104 yards on the ground per game, something that might be a bigger challenge on Sunday given Washington’s big back Antonio Gibson (see below).
Washington averages 116 yards of run offense per game, so count on them to install that part of their offense in the first half to set the tone early, but if the Eagles can stop that and force them to pass it could simplify how would have to defensively handle the rest of the game.
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This is Taylor Heinicke’s fourth year in the NFL, his second season with Washington, and his first chance as their starting quarterback, an opportunity that this 28-year-old pro most likely does not take lightly, so far with a 6-7 record on the season, his most wins ever.
This season, Henicke has been hit or miss, and when he misses it is painful and the ball typically goes to the opponent, his 14 interceptions now leading the league, but in his defense, the man has been sacked 32 times already so that might explain a few of those picks at least.
Given that, Heinicke’s numbers aren’t too bad for a young quarterback getting his first true shot as the starter, this year with 285 completions for over 3,000 yards and 20 touchdowns, a season that will most likely end without much football being played in January.
It’s only the second pro season for Eagles QB Jalen Hurts, and already he is beginning to look more comfortable under center, so far starting fourteen of the games this season, helping his team win half of those matchups, his 8-7 team needing this Week 17 win to make the playoffs.
Hurts is known for his mobility and speed, a scrambler who can avoid tackles and earn first downs and more with his legs, so far this season with 132 carries for 740 yards and 10 touchdowns, his moves break ankles and embarrass grown men and he keeps getting better.
As a passer, Hurts completes over 61 percent of his attempts, and this season he has 248 completions for almost 3,000 yards and 16 touchdowns with 9 interceptions, a part of his overall game that he is improving with every game rep he is given.
It was a bad sign for the Washington Football Team last week when their star running back Antonio Gibson only carried the ball 6 times for 29 yards against the Cowboys since his team needs him to be productive on the ground for QB Tylor Heinicke’s passing game to work.
This season is Gibson’s second in the NFL, the 6’2” 220-pound wrecking ball tough to tackle when he is running from out of the backfield or after a catch, so far this season with 278 total touches for 1,180 yards and 9 touchdowns but with six fumbles in the fifteen games he’s played.
Watch for Gibson to play a big part in OC Scott Turner’s offensive game plan on Sunday against the Eagles who are ranked 9th in the league against the run, a game that he could take over in the second half if Washington can gain an early first half lead.
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|Eagles vs Washington Information|
|What||Philadelphia Eagles vs Washington FT|
|Where||FedExField in Landover, MD|
|When||Sunday, January 2, 2022; 1:00 PM ET|
|How to watch||FOX|
Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]More info on Mike Lukas
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