| | Washington Redskins at Philadelphia Eagles 4:15 PM ET
Washington Redskins at Philadelphia Eagles 4:15 PM ET
Washington Redskins +10.5 –105 (2 Units)
Still seeking their first division victory, the Redskins are playing for survival. They must win to keep any hope of getting a wild-card berth and they might have finally found a spark on offense to get things going. After coach Joe Gibbs finally yanked Mark Brunell last week against the Bengals, Patrick Ramsey stepped in and put together a pair of drives over 65 yards. One resulted in a touchdown; the other ended with a field goal. Brunell’s league-worst 63.9 quarterback rating this year is a full 20 points lower than his career average and has helped Washington to a 29th ranking in passing offense. He also ranks last in the league in completion percentage (49.8) and yards per attempt (5.04). It can only go up with Ramsay.
The one advantage the Redskins have is in the running game and it’s a big one. We have a set of rushing ratings that are put into play each week. The larger the number, the better the rating and the bigger the difference between the two teams, the stronger the rushing advantage is. In this week’s games, there are six teams with decisive advantages over their opponents in the rushing formula. For it to be decisive, the rating variance needs to be 5 or more. Washington is the only underdog that fits into that this week while the other 5 teams are all favorites of 4 or more with two of those being 8 or more. Clinton Portis has rebounded after a slow start and should have a strong game against Philadelphia’s run defense that is allowing more than 140 yards on the ground over the last three games. Portis might be averaging five yards an attempt were it not for the defenders playing closer to the line of scrimmage because they didn't fear Brunell's arm. Portis has rushed for 100+ yards in 11 of his last 15 road games, including 171 and 147 yards in his last two road contests. In each of the Redskins' three wins, Portis has had at least 29 carries and rushed for 100 yards. Portis has had no more than 25 attempts in their six losses and didn't reach 100 yards in any of them. The Eagles have struggled against the run in recent weeks, and Washington must exploit that so expect Portis to get 30 carries. The Eagles have not flourished against the better defenses in the league. Before Dallas, Philadelphia was held to a combined 411 yards of offense and one touchdown in the previous two games, including a 15-10 win over Baltimore and its top-ranked defense. Washington comes in with the league’s 2nd ranked defense, allowing 267.1 ypg. The Redskins are 7th against the pass and 3rd against the rush and they are 1st in rushing average, allowing just 3.0 ypc. If the Redskins shadow every step Donovan McNabb makes, as the Steelers did against him in Week 9, they can limit a big part of Philadelphia's offense. The Redskins are holding opponents to a 29.4 percent conversion rate on third downs, fourth-best in the NFL. Washington has won their last two road games, allowing just one offensive touchdown in those contests. Despite their shoddy record, Washington has lost by more than a touchdown just once this season and that was against the Packers, a game in which they actually scored the go ahead touchdown with two minutes left but was called back because of a penalty.