Philadelphia Eagles vs. Washington Redskins

This Week 17 NFC East battle is do or die for the defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles who need to beat the playoff-eliminated Washington Redskins if they want to keep the post season dreams alive in Philadelphia, happening at the FedExField in Prince George’s County, MD, on Sunday, December 30 at 4:25 pm, broadcasted by FOX.

The 8-7 Philadelphia Eagles:

On a four-out-of-five game winning roll, the 8-7 Philadelphia Eagles arrive at Week 17 desperately needing their third win in a row if they have any chance of qualifying for the playoffs this season.

Similarly to last year, the Eagles will be depending on backup quarterback Nick Foles to get the final few wins of the season, which he’s done against two playoff bound teams - the Los Angeles Rams in Week 15 (score: 30-23) and the Houston Texans in Week 16 (score: 32-30).

Philadelphia is 3-4 on the road and 3-2 against NFC East opponents and will have to overcome some key injuries to snag the win against the Redskins.

The 7-8 Washington Redskins:

Injuries to key players have ruined the 7-8 Washington Redskins 2018 season, to the point where they’ve had to bring in two free agent quarterbacks to replace the injured Alex Smith (leg) and Colt McCoy (leg), the most recent addition being Josh Johnson from the Oakland Raiders.

In the three games he’s played, Johnson has completed 40-of-64 for 499 yards, 3 touchdowns and three interceptions, two of those in Week 16 in the team’s loss to the Tennessee Titans by a score of 16-25.

Washington is 3-4 at FedExField and 2-3 against teams from the NFC East, but they’re underdogs in this one by a touchdown, a win seeming almost impossible given how banged up they currently are.

What’s at stake:

These two teams have met 167 times (including 1 postseason game), with Washington winning 86 games and Philadelphia winning 76 games. The Eagles have won the last three meetings, including in Week 13 by a score of 28-13.

If the Eagles win this matchup, their record will be 9-7 but since they’ve lost twice to the Dallas Cowboys this season they’d lose any NFC East tiebreakers, their playoffs hopes then depending entirely on the Minnesota Vikings losing to the Chicago Bears.

But if the Redskins come out on top, they’ll end the season 8-8 and will have improved their record from last season by a win, though they’d still remain in third place in the NFC East and eliminated from post season play for the third season in a row.

Questions to answer…

Who’s favored to win this Week 17 Eagles-Redskins matchup?

Which team has a better offense? Defense? Special teams?

Which team’s quarterback is more likely to lead his team to victory?

We’re going to compare the Eagles and the Redskins and attempt to answer those questions and more.

The 2018 Eagles offense ranked 13th in the NFL

The Philadelphia Eagles will score 22.9 points per game and move the ball an average of 365.7 total yards every outing. 

Backup quarterback Foles is perfectly capable of getting the job done, and in the four games he’s started this season he’s completed 113 passes for 1,192 yards and 5 touchdowns with 3 interceptions, his completion percentage and impressive 69.8.

The Eagles’ two best receivers this season are tight end Zach Ertz (113 catches for 1,148 yards and 8 touchdowns) and Alshon Jeffery (60 catches for 784 yards and 5 touchdowns).

Eagles’ rushing attack ranked 28th overall

Injuries have plagued the Eagles’ run game, with Jay Ajayi (torn ACL) being placed on injured reserve in Week 6 and Corey Clement (knee) in Week 15.

Rushing duties have been picked up by Darren Sproles and undrafted free agent Josh Adams, but against the Texans in Week 16 they combined for just 20 runs for 53 yards and no touchdowns.

Philadelphia offensive Injuries

Listed as questionable for Week 17: center Jason Kelce (knee), wide receiver Mike Wallace (foot), offensive tackle Jason Peters (quadriceps) and guard Isaac Seumalo (pectoral).

Quarterback Carson Wentz (back) is listed as Out for Week 17 and will be re-evaluated early next week.

The 2018 Redskins offense ranked 28th overall

The Redskins offense has only been able to put up about 18.7 points per game and average 313.7 total yards against opponents.

With much of their offense questionable for Week 17 as a result of injuries (see below), it will be a challenge just to put a squad on the field, and whoever they are won’t have had much of a chance to work together as a unit.

With four receivers and a tight end on injured reserve plus a receiver and their two starting tight ends questionable for Week 17 (see below), the Redskins will count on receivers Josh Doctson, Jamison Crowder and tight end Jeremy Sprinkle to be Johnson’s main targets.

Washington’s run game 17th in the league

Washington has a solid run game behind Adrian Peterson, who’s rushed for 1,042 yards and 7 touchdowns this season while catching 20 balls for 208 yards and another touchdown.

With Peterson questionable for this game (see below), Washington will have to count on Chris Thompson to step in more than he did against the Titans when he ran four times for 20 yards.

Washington offensive Injuries

Listed as questionable for Week 17: wide receiver Jamison Crowder (wrist), running back Adrian Peterson (shoulder), offensive tackle Trent Williams (thumb), tight end Vernon Davis (concussion), offensive tackle Ty Nsekhe (foot), tight end Jordan Reed (foot), center Tony Bergstrom (ankle), guard Zac Kerin and wide receiver Maurice Harris (concussion).

Quarterback Colt McCoy (lower leg) is listed as Out for Week 17.

Eagles Defense ranks 28th in the league

Philadelphia allows its opponents to score 22.3 points per game and average 384.7 total yards with a rushing defense ranked 7th  in the league and a passing defense ranked 32nd.

The Eagles’ 9 interceptions are T-24th most in the league, their 40 sacks are T-11th most and their 16 total takeaways are T-21st most.

Eagles Defensive Players to watch:

Several Eagles are approaching the 100-tackle club – outside linebacker Nigel Bradham and strong safety Malcolm Jenkins both have 93 apiece and middle linebacker Jordan Hicks has 90.

Injuries might slow down the Eagles sacking capabilities (see below), but current team leaders are defensive end Michael Bennett (8.0) and defensive tackle Fletcher Cox (7.5).

In Philadelphia’s secondary, cornerback Rasul Douglas and free safety Avonte Maddox have two interceptions apiece.

Eagles defensive injuries

Listed as questionable for Week 17: defensive tackle Fletcher Cox (hip), safety Corey Graham (illness), defensive end Michael Bennett (foot) and cornerback Sidney Jones (hamstring).

Redskins Defense is 15th overall

Washington’s defense is ranked right in the middle of the league, allowing opponents to score 22.3 points per game and average 352.9 yards, their rushing defense ranked 17th and their passing defense ranked 15th.

The Redskins’ 14 interceptions are tied for the league’s eighth most, their 43 sacks tied for sixth most and their 25 total takeaways are tied for sixth most in the league.

Redskins Defensive Players to watch:

Inside linebacker Mason Foster has been a tackling beast this season totaling 123 combined along with two interceptions, two fumble recoveries and a sack.

Washington sack leaders to watch are outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan (12.0 sacks) and defensive ends Jonathan Allen (8.0) and Matthew Ioannidis (7.5).

Free safety D.J. Swearinger is currently tied for the sixth most interceptions in the NFL with 4.

Redskins Defensive Injuries

Listed as questionable for Week 17: defensive end Matthew Ioannidis (hamstring), linebacker Ryan Anderson (hamstring),

Special Teams Stats Comparison

Punters:

Philadelphia’s second-year punter, Cameron Johnston, signed as an undrafted free agent last season, has punted 58 times for a net average of 43.1 yards per punt, ranked 3rd in the NFL.

Washington’s punter, Tress Way, in his 5th season, all with the Redskins, has punted 74 times for a net average of 41.3 yards per punt, ranked 9th in the NFL.

Placekickers:

Philadelphia’s placekicker, Jake Elliott, promoted from the practice squad last season, has gone 25-for-30, his longest was a 56-yarder.

Elliott has missed two extra point attempts (30/32).

Washington’s placekicker, Dustin Hopkins, in his 5th NFL season (his fourth with the Redskins), is 29-for-29, his longest has been a 56-yarder.

Hopkins has missed an extra point attempt (25/26).

Punt Returners:

Philadelphia’s punter is running back Darren Sproles, currently ranked 22nd in the league in return average.

Tate has returned 9 punts so far for 81 yards, averaging 9.0 yards per return, his longest for 14 yards.

Washington’s punt returner, Greg Stroman, is ranked 72nd in the league in return average.

Stroman has returned 8 punts for 27 yards and no touchdowns, averaging 3.4 yards per return, his longest for 10 yards.

Eagles–Redskins prediction and odds

The odds makers have the Eagles favored over the Redskins by 7 with an over/under of 42.0.

CBSSports.com has two final score predictions:

Pete Prisco goes with the under and has it Eagles 27, Redskins 14

John Breech takes the even and predicts it Eagles 26, Redskins 16

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