The Monday night game matches a pair of NFC East divisional rivals coming off bitter losses as significant favorites. Washington lost at home to Kansas City 14-6 as 6.5-point home favorites to fall to 2-4 on the season, and this will actually be the first time since Week 1 that they are matched against a quality opponent. That is a questionable description of Philadelphia though coming off the 13-9 loss at Oakland as two touchdown road chalk.
Here we are after six weeks into the season and the Redskins will finally line up against an opponent with a win under its belt. That’s right. Washington’s first six games came against a team yet to win: New York Giants (0-0), St. Louis (0-1), Detroit (0-2), Tampa Bay (0-3), Carolina (0-3) and Kansas City (0-5). Its next one comes against a team that just lost to the Raiders, who were outscored on either side of Eagles game 82-7. Head coach Jim Zorn received the dreaded vote of confidence that he will be the coach the rest of the season, but his play calling duties have been supplanted by veteran coach Sherm Lewis, whose most recent job was calling bingo numbers.
Off for two weeks after this contest, the Redskins have struggled offensively going into the bye week of late, scoring 13.4 points in its last 10 tries, resulting in eight UNDER’s. Those numbers favor comparably with Washington scoring 13.2 points per game on the season and 10.3 at FedEx Field.
Washington is 3-9-3 ATS in last 15 encounters and it’s no secret owner Daniel Snyder and members of the front office are unimpressed with Zorn’s offensive acumen, the very reason he was hired. The Redskins are in a bad situation offensively. Jason Campbell is seemingly no better than when he was drafted out of Auburn in 2005. The offensive line is again in turmoil with injuries and Clinton Porter is no longer an explosive running back. This is a deadly combination for a team that is on 1-8 ATS home streak.
For as tough a town as Philadelphia (3-2 SU & ATS) is, it was bewildering the Eagles Andy Reid and Eagles players weren’t crucified for lack of focus and effort in Oakland. Forget the Raiders pride was hurt by harsh words from Giants players, no excuses for all the Philadelphia players to be out-hustled and out-played by a team that might have three players who could start for them.
“It’s a great lesson to learn that no team is as good as you think in this league and no team is as bad as you think in this league,” coach Reid said. “It’s the National Football League and you better be ready every week to play and execute as coaches and players and it starts with me.” The bespectacled coach is 39-23 ATS after one or more losses and 16-4 ATS in road games after a game with a turnover margin of +2 or better.
The Eagles have flown to 7.5-point favorites after opening at 6.5, with total having sunk to 37.5 at DiamondSportsbook.com. This is Philadelphia’s first divisional contest of 2009, and they are on a 5-1 ATS run on the road vs. their fellow rivals. The Eagles are on a 9-5 SU and 9-4-1 ATS run in Washington with 12 of the last 16 meetings going UNDER in the nation’s capitol.
The Eagles cover if don’t forget to run the ball. The fourteen rush attempts last week is totally ridiculous given it was a four point contest. Reid and his coaches have to stay committed to Brian Westbrook and LeSean McCoy. The left side of the Philadelphia offensive line is hurting with injuries, expect Washington to blitz that side similar to what Oakland did, however rolling Donovan McNabb to his right counteracts the move. Philadelphia is 13-6 ATS on the road and is normally a smart football team; averaging almost seven penalties a game isn’t very bright. Skins signal caller Campbell isn’t known for reading blitzes properly, attack him with abandon.
The Redskins cover if they bring the heat on McNabb, who can quickly forget his fundamentals when pressured and make mistakes. Short fields offer the Washington the best chance to score and get the crowd in the game from the get-go. The underdog is 4-0-1 ATS roll in this series and putting Campbell in the shotgun is working towards his strength, since he is slow to read and react to blitzes. Zorn has about as much chance of returning next season as a Zima comeback, thus he and Lewis should devise wide open offensive attack, since chances of making playoffs are remote presently. Here’s hoping one of Redskins plays isn’t B-14.
Monday Night System – Play On a home underdog that lost SU at home last week and its opponent also lost previous game. (10-3 ATS)
Steve Makinen of The Platinum Sheet and College and Pro Football Weekly contributed to this article.