Game Scout: Philadelphia Eagles (8-7) At Washington Redskins (7-8)
SERIES HISTORY: 167th regular-season meeting. Redskins lead series, 85-76-5. The Eagles are looking to sweep Washington for the second straight year. They won the first meeting, 28-13 on Dec. 3 (Monday Night Football) at Lincoln Financial Field, with Carson Wentz throwing for 306 yards and two touchdowns.
KEYS TO THE GAME: If the Eagles can score early, this one could be over quickly because the Redskins have nothing left to play for. An early lead would also negate Washington's running game, which is led by the ageless Adrian Peterson, who stung the Eagles in the first meeting with a 90-yard touchdown run. Scoring early has not exactly been the Eagles' forte, however, this season. They scored a first-quarter touchdown for just the fourth time this year in the win over the Texans.
The Eagles need to do a better job running the ball than they did against Houston, which has a very strong front seven and made running difficult. Still, the Eagles had just 57 yards on 22 attempts as a team, with quarterback Nick Foles throwing the ball 49 times.
In the previous meeting between these two teams earlier this month, the Eagles hammered Washington with a heavy dose of Josh Adams, who put up a career-high 85 yards on the ground with 20 carries. As a team, the Eagles ran for 130 yards on 33 carries in the 28-13 win at Lincoln Financial Field on Dec. 3.
On defense, the Eagles don't want to let Washington quarterback Josh Johnson get started, so it will begin with pressure up front. The Eagles dialed up four sacks against Houston's Deshaun Watson.
FRIDAY INJURY REPORT
--OUT: LB D.J. Alexander (hamstring), CB Sidney Jones (hamstring), G Isaac Seumalo (pectoral), WR Mike Wallace (ankle), QB Carson Wentz (back)
--QUESTIONABLE: DE Michael Bennett (foot), LB Jordan Hicks (calf), C Travis Kelce (knee), T Jason Peters (quadriceps)
--OUT: T Ty Nsekhe (knee)
--DOUBTFUL: TE Vernon Davis (concussion)
--QUESTIONABLE: LB Ryan Anderson (hamstring), DE Matt Ioannidis (hamstring), C/G Tony Bergstrom (knee, ankle), G Zac Kerin (knee), WR Josh Doctson (illness)
MATCHUPS TO WATCH:
--Eagles RT Lane Johnson vs. Redskins OLB Ryan Kerrigan. Johnson went toe-to-toe with Houston's J.J. Watt last week and won the battle, holding Watt without a sack. Watt entered the game with 14.5 sacks, which was tied for second most in the NFL. Not only did Watt not get any sacks against Johnson, but didn't make much of an impact on the game. Johnson said he was fueled by not making the Pro Bowl.
--Redskins S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix vs. Eagles TE Zach Ertz. Clinton-Dix was brought on in midseason to help stabilize the safety position next to D.J. Swearinger, who was cut this week. Clinton-Dix has struggled to tackle in space and has been an adventure at times in coverage. He'll have to play well to slow Ertz, who has 113 catches for 1,148 yards and eight touchdowns. Tight ends have long hurt the Redskins. This weekend should be no different.
PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: Eagles RB Darren Sproles. The quarterback switch to Nick Foles grabs most of the attention for the Eagles' recent winning ways, but to overlook the shortest player on the field would be an injustice. Sproles has been on the field for the last four games and the Eagles have won three of them. He has scored three touchdowns since returning from a hamstring injury that sidelined him for 10 straight games. Sproles, who will turn 36 next June, said at the start of the season that he would retire at the end of the season. He left the door open when he said, "We'll see," when asked after last Sunday's win if he was still going to retire.
FAST FACTS: EAGLES QB NICK FOLES completed 35 of 49 (71.4 pct.) for franchise-record 471 yards with 4 TDs vs. 1 INT for 120.4 rating last week. Is 1st QB in franchise history with multiple games of 400+ pass yards & 4+ pass TDs (11/3/13 at Oak.). In his past 4 starts vs. Was., has 1,118 pass yards (279.5 per game) with 5 TDs vs. 1 INT for 95 rating. ... RB DARREN SPROLES had 108 scrimmage yards (76 rec., 32 rush) & TD catch last week. Has 3 TDs (2 rec., 1 rush) in his past 4. ... TE ZACH ERTZ had 12 receptions for 110 yards & 2 TDs in Week 16. Has franchise-record 113 catches in 2018, most receptions by TE in NFL history (JASON WITTEN, 110 in 2012). ... WR NELSON AGHOLOR had 5 catches for 116 yards, incl. career-long 83-yard TD last week. ... DE CHRIS LONG had 2 sacks & FF in Week 16, his 10th career multi-sack game. ... LB NIGEL BRADHAM leads team with 93 tackles & needs 7 tackles in Week 17 for his 2nd-career season with 100+ tackles. ... REDSKINS QB JOSH JOHNSON passed for 153 yards & TD last week. Aims for his 4th in row with TD pass. ... RB ADRIAN PETERSON rushed for 119 yards in Week 16. Has 13,318 career rush yards & surpassed HOFer ERIC DICKERSON (13,259) for 8th-most in NFL history. Has 427 scrimmage yards (71.2 per game) & 4 rush TDs in his past 6 at home. ... WR JAMISON CROWDER led team with 5 receptions & 78 rec. yards last week. Has 30 receptions for 479 yards (79.8 per game) & 2 TDs in his past 6 vs. NFC East. ... WR MICHAEL FLOYD had TD catch in Week 16, his 1st TD with Was. ... LB RYAN KERRIGAN had sack last week. Has 4 sacks & FF in his past 3. Aims for his 4th in row with sack. In his past 6 at home vs. Phi., has 7 sacks, 3 FFs, 2 FRs & 24-yard INT TD. ... LB MASON FOSTER led team with 9 tackles & had sack in Week 16. Leads team with 123 tackles, his 3rd-career season with 100+ tackles.
PREDICTION: The Eagles might be peeking at the scoreboard because they need a victory and Minnesota loss to enter the playoffs. Still, they want to beat a division rival and at least finish above .500.
OUR PICK: Eagles, 27-13