With just four weeks left in the NFL football season, it’s crunch time for the playoff hopefuls looking to make a final push and secure their spot at the big dance. The Dallas Cowboys have a comfortable three-game lead in the NFC East, but the Washington Football Team and Philadelphia Eagles are right in the thick of the wild card race.
WFT and the Eagles square off this Sunday in a divisional tilt that will impact both teams’ playoff hopes. The NFL odds have the Eagles as an early -4.5 home favorite. So here’s a look at how this week could play out.
The NFC Wild Card Race Is Wide Open
The added wild card spot has created extra drama this season, and you’d need both hands to count the teams that are still in the hunt.
The Detroit Lions are the only NFC team eliminated, while the Chicago Bears and the New York Giants are on the verge of elimination (both 4-9). Meanwhile, the Seattle Seahawks and Carolina Panthers still have a slight chance at making the postseason, and five teams are at 6-7, including the Eagles and WFT.
Based on tie-breaker calculations, Washington is currently in the final playoff position.
The Eagles and the WFT Have Salvaged Their Seasons
It wasn’t looking good for either team a couple of months into the season, but both squads have done a great job righting the ship. The Eagles were 2-5 after Week 7 but have turned things around, winning four of their last six games to jump back into the mix.
Meanwhile, the WFT started the year 2-6 before a recent four-game winning streak helped them re-enter the playoff race.
Washington Football Team at Eagles: Best Bets
It was a tough Sunday for Washington. Not only did they have their four-game winning streak snapped by their division rivals, the Cowboys, but they also lost quarterback Taylor Heinicke and wideout Terry McLaurin to injury.
Heinicke suffered a knee injury early in the fourth quarter and will have an MRI on Monday, but ESPN’s Adam Schefter has reported that the QB is confident he’ll be able to play this week. McLaurin suffered a concussion early in the third quarter and will have to clear the NFL’s concussion protocol to suit up on Sunday. If both play this week, I think there’s excellent value with WFT at +4.5.
Before the 27 points surrendered to the Cowboys, Washington had given up an average of just 17.4 points over the previous five games.
However, the Eagles are one of the best red zone teams in the NFL because of their rushing attack. They’re 7th in red zone trips that result in touchdowns (63.64%), while Washington is 28th (51.28%). I believe that this will be the difference in the game.
Philadelphia has won three out of their last four games and have averaged 34.3 points in those wins. Washington’s defense will make it tough to put up numbers like that, but I still think the Eagles score enough to win a squeaker in this one.
Prediction: Eagles win 23-20
It’s All NFC East From Here On Out
The Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Football Team will play their final four games against NFC East teams, including two against each other in 14 days and one each against the Cowboys and Giants. So, if either one has playoff aspirations, they’re going to have to go through their division to get there.
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