The Philadelphia Eagles (3-5-1) and Washington Football Team (2-7) are doing battle in the NFC East, where the Eagles actually have the division ;lead. They are also looking to put severe pressure on a pair of Heisman Trophy-winning quarterbacks (and #1 overall picks) who they will oppose on Sunday.
Let's take a brief look at these games:
PHILADELPHIA EAGLES at CLEVELAND BROWNS
BetAnySports Pro Football Betting Line: Browns -2.5 (-115), Total 46
With 12 INT's, Carson Wentz is admittedly not having a real good season. He's shorting it a lot (6.2 yards / attempt) and some of the skeptical Eagles fans (and there are plenty of them) wouldn't mind seeing Jalen Hurts behind center.
But Wentz is getting some weapons back, including Alshon Jeffery and Jalen Reagor; he's got an offensive line that is filling out a little better (Isaac Seumalo returns this week), and he has Miles Sanders back for a couple of weeks. Let's not forget that the Eagles are averaging 5.1 yards a carry.
And we have to think that defensively, Philly may be able to exercise a matchup advantage. The Browns don't have Odell Beckham available at this point, and they are essentially an offense that has to run first. They are good at it, without question; between Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt, they have a 1-2 combination that is as good as anyone has.
The Eagles have a way of countering that, if the metrics give us any indication. They have a better "stuff rate" than anybody, which means they create negative (or neutral) on a more frequent basis than anyone.
And defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz would love nothing better than to force Baker Mayfield into situations where he has to pass, because he knows that under pressure Mayfield has completed only 40.7% of his attempts, which puts him WAY down the list as far as starting NFL signal-callers. Rushing the passer is a Philly staple; they have 31 sacks, which is third highest total in the league.
In this instance, we are fully content moving with first place (yes, that's right) PHILADELPHIA plus the points.
CINCINNATI BENGALS at WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TEAM
BetAnySports NFL Line: Washington -1.5, Total 47
The Bengals are doing the right thing by rookie quarterback Joe Burrow, as they are letting him run around and throw the ball a lot and learn the offense. And he's not doing so badly.
But what goes along with all of that is a propensity to get sacked. In fact, he has suffered 32 sacks this season, and on Sunday he'll be facing a pass rush that is second best in the league, as we are measuring it in terms of "sack percentage." And Burrow won't have his #1 back, Joe Mixon, who is out with an injury.
Did you know that Washington has allowed fewer passing yards per game than any other team in the National Football League? We make mention of this for a few reasons, one of which is to point out that they have the best single unit on the field in this one.
And although we would not expect that Alex Smith - like Burrow (and Mayfield) a #1 overall draft pick, in his time - will repeat his 390-yard effort against Detroit last week, he is bringing something steadier to the table and is now getting his legs under him (pardon the pun). We'll go with WASHINGTON, and lets not lose sight of the fact that if they win and Philadelphia loses, they will trail the Eagles by only a half-game in the NFC East.
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