Monday Night Preview: Can Philadelphia Rebound Against Division Rival Washington?
This week's edition of Monday Night Football features the 6-5 Washington Redskins traveling to take on the 5-6 Philadelphia Eagles. Since losing Alex Smith, the Redskins have dropped two games, including a 31-23 loss to the Dallas Cowboys last week. On the other side, the Eagles narrowly defeated the New York Giants 25-23 to stay alive in the division.
In one of the tightest divisions in football, both teams need a win to keep their playoff hopes alive. With that said, here are a few matchups likely to influence the outcome of this contest.
On the Eagle's side, Carson Wentz has impressed since his return from last year's season-ending ACL surgery. Through eight starts this season, Wentz has 2,540 passing yards, 16 scores, and 6 interceptions. Wentz has performed well according to our signature Net Expected Points (NEP) metric. Among 22 quarterbacks with at least 350 drop backs, Wentz's 0.13 Passing NEP per drop back ranks 13th in the NFL.
On the other side, the Redskins will again turn to Colt McCoy in the wake of Alex Smith's injury. In one game as the starter, McCoy recorded 268 passing yards, 2 touchdowns, and 3 interceptions. McCoy doesn't qualify for the group mentioned above with only 58 passing attempts this season, but his -0.06 Passing NEP per drop drop back would rank dead last. The Eagles have been decimated by injuries in the secondary, perhaps creating an avenue or McCoy to bounce back.
Running Back Breakdown
Since Jay Ajayi went down with an ACL injury, the Eagles have turned to Josh Adams as their lead back in recent weeks. On 56 carries this season, Adams has 291 yards and a pair of scores. Adams has also impressed according to NEP with a 0.05 Rushing NEP per carry, which ranks just above the 0.01 league average this season. It also ranks above the 0.04 and -0.03 Rushing NEP per carry recorded by teammates Wendell Smallwood and Corey Clement, respectively. Statistically speaking, the Eagles made the right move featuring Adams and they should continue to do so moving forward.
On the other side, Chris Thompson returns from a multi-week injury to join Adrian Peterson in a full-blown committee. Playing only in positive game scripts, Peterson has 758 rushing yards on 183 carries (4.1 yards per carry). Like the counting stats suggest, Peterson has played mediocre football to date, recording a below average -0.02 Rushing NEP per carry. With the Redskins pegged as six-point underdogs, this should be a bigger game for Thompson, who recorded 28 receptions in five games before going down with an injury.
According to our schedule-adjusted metrics, the Eagles come into this contest with the 19th-best defense, while the Redskins rank 10th.
On Philly's side, the Eagles rank 24th in run defense and 16th against the pass. However, the Eagles' pass defense has also struggled of late, with a myriad of injuries. This week, Avonte Maddox and Jalen Mills have already been ruled out.
On the other side, the Redskins rank ahead of the Eagles across the board with the16th-ranked run defense and 8th-ranked pass defense, which could give the Eagles' 19th-ranked offense problems.
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