Philadelphia Eagles (8-7, 8-6-1 ATS) at Washington Football Team (6-9, 5-9-1), 1 p.m.
Brolley’s Eagles Stats and Trends
The Eagles beat a depleted Football Team 27-17 as 10-point home favorites in a game totaled at 39.5 points just two weeks ago.
The Eagles own a 5-1 outright record and 4-1-1 ATS mark in their last six games, and they’re winning in style with all five victories coming by double digits.
The Eagles 5-1-1 ATS in their last seven games as a favorite.
The Eagles are 4-1 toward overs in their last five games.
Jalen Hurts threw for multiple TDs for just the third time in his last 10 games last week, but he posted by far his lowest totals in rushing attempts (2) and yards (7) in a game the Eagles controlled for the entire second half against the Giants. Hurts went off with 296/1 passing and 8/38/2 rushing for 29.6 FP when these teams met just two weeks ago, and the Cowboys’ QBs combined for 440/5 passing against Washington last week.
Dallas Goedert managed just 2/28 receiving on four targets last week — he had a TD nullified by an offensive holding call — after posting 20+ FP and 105+ yards in his previous two contests. One of those games came against Washington two weeks ago when he erupted for 7/135 receiving on nine targets. Dalton Schultz also ripped the Football Team last week with 8/81/1 receiving for 22.2 FP.
DeVonta Smith snapped out of a funk with 5/80/1 receiving on seven targets last week. He managed just 7/77 receiving on 13 targets in his previous three games. One of those games came against Washington two weeks ago when he finished with 3/40 receiving on five targets. Smith hasn’t seen 8+ targets in a game since the Eagles went with their run-heavy approach eight games ago, and he’s averaging just 5.1 targets per game in that span.
Miles Sanders broke his hand and will not play in Week 17 and Jordan Howard’s status is up in the air after he suffered a stinger last week — he notably missed six games in 2019 with a stinger. Philadelphia failed to reach 175+ rushing yards last week for the first time since they first went with their run-heavy approach against the Lions in Week 8, but they still beat the hapless Giants by 24 points. Howard is probably the better play for his TD upside, but it’s close. Over the last eight weeks, Howard has 75/380/3 rushing and 2/19 receiving while #3 RB Boston Scott has 66/302/4 rushing and 6/34 receiving. Kenneth Gainwell would be elevated into the #2 RB role if Howard is unable to play. Sanders led this backfield with 18/131 rushing against Washington two weeks ago, while Howard chipped in 15/69 rushing in the victory.
Brolley’s Washington Stats and Trends
Washington is leaking oil to the finish line after allowing its most points since 2010 in a 56-14 loss to the Cowboys — the result was the most-lopsided loss for either team in 124 meetings.
Washington has played under the total in four straight home games.
The Football Team is 2-5 ATS in their last seven home games.
Taylor Heinicke has been downright miserable in his last two games — both came against the Cowboys — completing 18/47 passes (38.3%) for 243 yards, two TDs, and three INTs. He was so bad Kyle Allen played in relief in both contests, and HC Ron Rivera has already said that Allen will probably play. Garrett Gilbert got the start for Washington in this matchup back in Week 15, and he completed 20/31 passes for 194 scoreless yards in the loss.
Washington’s quarterback play has been so bad in recent weeks that Terry McLaurin is a droppable player. He’s failed to reach double-digit FP in five straight games and in 8-of-15 contests this season after posting 3/40 receiving on six targets last week. McLaurin managed just 2/51 receiving on four targets in this matchup two weeks ago.
Washington is giving rookie John Bates a chance to play in the final games of the year, and he finished with 2/45/1 receiving on three targets on 75% of the snaps last week. The Eagles are giving up a league-high 17.8 FPG to TEs this season after Evan Engram posted 4/17/1 receiving against them last week.
Antonio Gibson is limping to the finish line with a toe injury after posting 6/29 rushing and 2/29/1 receiving on four targets and a 37% snap share in Washington’s blowout loss. Jaret Patterson got some run in the lopsided contest with 9/33 rushing and Jonathan Williams actually led the backfield with a 40% snap share. Gibson posted 15/26/1 rushing and 6/39 receiving in this matchup two weeks ago, but we’ll see if he can match his 78% snap share from that contest.
Barfield’s Pace and Tendencies
Pace (seconds in between plays): 27.9 (26th)
Plays per game: 65.9 (7th)
Pass: 42.9% (32nd) | Run: 57.1% (1st)
Pace: 28.2 (27th)
Plays per game: 64.1 (12th)
Pass: 55.7% (25th) | Run: 44.3% (8th)
All pace / play data is from the last eight weeks.
After a slow start offensively, the Eagles started rolling late in the first half last week and ended up putting 34 points on the lowly Giants. Philly has now scored 27 or more points five times in their last six games and are dominating their opponents with an insanely run-heavy ground attack. Over the last eight weeks, the Eagles rank top-2 in run rate in every situation (when leading, trailing, or in close games) and are second (3:11) only to the Packers (3:20) in time-of-possession per drive.
Meanwhile, Washington has collapsed offensively as of late and have scored 20 or fewer points in five-straight. Taylor Heinicke is a meltdown waiting to happen at this point. Between Washington falling apart and the Eagles dominating time-of-possession with a slow-paced offense, I’m not optimistic that this game has a ton of shootout potential.
Huber’s Key Matchup Notes
Since Zach Ertz’s trade to Arizona in Week 7, sans being removed from Week 10 due to a concussion, Dallas Goedert has run a route on 88% of team passing plays and collected a 26% target share. Both elite rates at the position. Even after Week 16, he ranks fourth-best with 0.452 FP/Rt. All of the metrics leading me to Goedert last week are entirely sound.
However, Goedert only ran a route on 70% of team passing plays (21% decline), and he was only fed with a 13% target share (51% faceplant). It should be noted that a holding penalty on a designed screen to Goedert nullified a 12-yard TD, and Jalen Hurts only completed 17 throws. It’s an unfortunate series of events. That said, Goedert is still the hottest TE at the moment.
No player in the NFL has been punished more this season due to the inadequacy of his surrounding offense than Terry McLaurin – Trevor Lawrence would land second on that list. The number that exploded my mind is seeing that F1 McLaurin has failed to hit at-or-above value in 73% of his games this season. Washington is scoring the ninth-fewest PPG (19.8) and their defense is supplying opponents with the third-most PPG (27.1). But, go figure, the overwhelming deficiency of the offense is its starting QB. A five-week stretch from Week 10 to Week 13 provided me with hope that the offense might be headed in the right direction.
At the end of the day, it’s impossible to excuse away the pair of poor performances against Dallas, and Taylor Heinicke’s inability to put the ball into Terry McScorin’s hands might be his ultimate death sentence. For this week, the coach-speak indicates it’ll be a combination of Heinicke and Kyle Allen under center. But the far more concerning factor is in McLaurin drawing a travel from Darius Slay. In four career games with a Slay shadow, McLaurin is averaging 11.9 FPG, and a 4.75/56/0.25 receiving line.
Dolan’s Vantage Points
The Washington defense is utterly collapsing, and is now coming off of an embarrassing Sunday night performance against the Cowboys. That sets up well for Eagle QB Jalen Hurts.
Here’s Scott Barrett from Start/Sit on Hurts:
“Hurts currently ranks 5th in FPG (22.0) and averages 22.4 FPG in career starts, hitting at least 19.0 fantasy points in 13 of 18 games (72%). Hurts is still dealing with an ankle injury, but it’s unclear how much this might cap his upside. Last week, Hurts ran only twice for 7 yards, but Philadelphia never needed to keep their foot on the gas against the Giants, winning by 24 points. In his first game back, the week prior, and against this same Washington defense, Hurts rushed for 38 yards and 2 scores on 8 carries.
But Hurts needs to be started as no less than a mid-range QB1 this week, given this near-perfect matchup. Washington is the league’s top pass funnel defense (+6.0% over expectation), and the most favorable matchup for any QB, ranking: worst in schedule-adjusted FPG allowed (+5.6), worst in total FPG allowed (23.9, +16% more than next-closest), worst in passing FPG allowed (19.4), worst in rushing FPG allowed (4.5), worst in fantasy points allowed per dropback (0.505), and worst in opposing passer rating (104.7).
Against Washington last week, Dallas QBs Dak Prescott and Cooper Rush combined to drop 38.1 fantasy points in a 56-14 beatdown. And the week prior, Hurts scored 28.6 fantasy points, while averaging 11.4 yards per pass attempt.”
Keep in mind the Team might not have top CB William Jackson III (calf), which would further the upside for Hurts and WR DeVonta Smith.
The Eagles’ dominant run game — which crushed the Team two weeks ago — will be without Miles Sanders this week, and Jordan Howard (stinger) might play but has an issue with shoulder problems. The Eagles understand the importance of this game — they can clinch a playoff spot this week — so they’re trying to get Howard ready at all costs.
So he’s basically wearing Mike Alstott pads.
Eagles RB coach Jemal Singleton ready to work with his group. Kerryon Johnson is wearing 38. Notice the size of Jordan Howard's pads now. Looks like it's meant to protect him from his stinger injury. pic.twitter.com/W6FSPF32O6— Chris Franklin (@cfranklinnews) December 30, 2021
Still, Howard could be out or limited, which could increase the value of Boston Scott.
Here’s Scott on… Scott. Also from Start/Sit:
“If Jordan Howard (stinger) sits out, joining Miles Sanders on the bench (hand), you can start Scott as a high-end RB2. If Howard suits up, drop Scott to the high-end RB3-range.
Philadelphia didn’t seem to miss Sanders when he last missed time (Weeks 8-10), as Scott and Howard combined to put up Derrick Henry-type numbers in his absence. Across those three games, Philadelphia’s RBs averaged 30.3 carries, 142.3 rushing yards, 2.0 rushing touchdowns, and 26.2 rushing FPG. Scott and Howard split the work evenly (both averaging 9.0 XFP/G), but Howard was the more productive RB, averaging 13.0 FPG to Scott’s 11.5.
This isn’t a great matchup on paper, as Washington is the league’s top pass funnel defense, ranking worst in passing FPG allowed to QBs (19.4) but 4th-best by rushing FPG allowed to opposing RBs (10.2). Though, Philadelphia’s RBs did tag them for 200 rushing yards (on 33 carries) just 2 weeks ago.”
A horrible situation came up this week for Washington when DL Montez Sweat’s brother was tragically killed. He is not expected to be available for this game.
For Washington’s offense, even the players we like — RB Antonio Gibson and WR Terry McLaurin — are tough to trust. Gibson (hip/toe/COVID) isn’t healthy and likely won’t play, while McLaurin is straddled with awful QB play with Taylor Heinicke and (maybe) Kyle Allen.
Here’s Graham, also from Start/Sit, on Gibson — before he was placed on the COVID list:
“Gibson came into SNF last week questionable with a toe injury that is similar to the one he had at the end of last season and ended up barely playing in their blowout loss to Dallas. Gibson saved you with his touchdown, but he only had eight touches for 58 yards before Washington basically gave him the night off. Gibson’s 37% snap rate easily marked a six-week low. With Washington now effectively eliminated from the playoffs, we could see Washington scale back Gibson’s workload again as he’s trying to play through multiple injuries. This isn’t a great matchup, either, considering that the Eagles have given up just 3.14 YPC over their last four games. Gibson is an extremely low-floor RB2 play in Championship week.”
Last week Jonathan Williams played 11 third down snaps & ran 9 routes on third down. Patterson did not play a snap on third down & ran 2 routes all game.— Heath Cummings (@heathcummingssr) December 31, 2021
Here’s Graham again, this time on McLaurin:
“McLaurin is the new Allen Robinson – cursed by erratic quarterbacks. Taylor Heinicke was downright awful on SNF as he completed just 7-of-22 passes for 121 yards, threw 2 INTs, and took 4 sacks. Kyle Allen came in relief of Heincke in the second half. HC Ron Rivera left the possibility of Allen starting Week 18 open as Washington was effectively eliminated from the playoffs with their loss to Dallas. After catching just 3 balls for 40 yards last week, Terry McLaurin’s fantasy season is ending with a whimper. Over his last five games, McLaurin has 12 catches, 164 yards, and 0 TDs. Things aren’t looking much better this week against an Eagles secondary that has allowed just one wide receiver (Elijah Moore) to score over 12 FP since Week 10.”
Washington can’t even get agreement from its coaching staff on a potential QB rotation.
Scott Turner on Thursday: "There's no plan to rotate quarterbacks."— Matthew Paras (@Matthew_Paras) December 30, 2021
Ron Rivera on Monday: Kyle Allen will "probably" play at some point over the final two games, but Taylor Heinicke will start.