MNF Point/Counterpoint: Can Redskins Keep Rival Eagles In Funk?

SBR Picks Staff

Thursday, November 29, 2018 2:00 PM UTC

Thursday, Nov. 29, 2018 2:00 PM UTC

Last week, Swinging Johnson nailed his pick as Houston easily covered against Tennessee. He and SBR colleague Doug Upstone are back at it for Monday night's NFC East matchup between Washington and Philadelphia.

Swinger's MNF Record: 7-6
Doug's MNF Record: 6-7

Washington (6-5 SU, 7-4 ATS) at Philadelphia (5-6 SU, 3-8 ATS)Monday, 8:15 p.m. ET (ESPN)S.J.'s Free NFL Pick: Redskins ATSDoug's Free NFL Pick: Eagles ATSBest Line Offered: Just Bet

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Both of these NFC East combatants are trying to overcome a number of obstacles. Washington was playing decent football, at least better than an average for a Jay Gruden-coached team, before a tsunami of injuries came, destroying their offensive line, taking away playmakers, and sidelining quarterback Alex Smith. Yet, because of how weak the division is, Week 13 began with the Redskins tied with Dallas for first place.

After beating Atlanta to start the season, Philadelphia morphed into a typical defending Super Bowl champion. The magical edge the Eagles had last season had given way to mediocrity. Players who were dialed in and focused became listless, playing without urgency. Then, Philadelphia saw its secondary wiped out and they have played more basic zone defense than most high school teams do, out of necessity. Still, the Eagles are only one game below the Redskins in the standings.

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#WallpaperWednesday | #FlyEaglesFly pic.twitter.com/PCFiGeHMT6

— Philadelphia Eagles (@Eagles) November 28, 2018
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The Eagles have three division games left -- two against Washington and at Dallas -- and they have to win all three. If they falter Monday, they are probably all but eliminated, because their next three contests are against Cowboys, at the L.A. Rams and hosting Houston.

The NFL odds board has the Eagles as six-point favorites. Let's see what Swinger and Doug have to say about who they like for their NFL picks.

Doug Upstone: Hey there, Swinging Johnson! I thought I had a shot the way Tennessee started at Houston, but the Texans went to work and toppled the Titans with relative ease. I really thought Tennessee was better than they had played at times, but the truth is they are the third-best team in their division.

That means, that y, yo, you, have a l, le, lea, lead on me for our "Monday Night Football" picks. Oh my god, the anguish to get that out!

Swinging Johnson: Well, Doug, thank you for your verbal bouquets. Last Monday’s game was redolent of victory and once again I stand humbly before you … kissing only those parts of my body that are easy to access. So yes, last week I forged ahead of you in our MNF matchups at 7-6 ATS on the season, courtesy of the Texans, which was the square side in their game against the Titans. But someone told me not too long ago that the squares are not always wrong, and to bet against the public just to bet against the public doesn’t make you a sharp. I’ll figure out who said that and get back to you.

OK, so speaking of square biz, for this game you’ve got the Eagles, not only still drunk from their Super Bowl hangover but pulling that rock star move of passing out and drowning in a tub covered in their own vomit kind of stupor. Sounds like the kind of team you’d be interested in backing. Pray tell, Sir Cap-a-lot?

DU: Actually, I like Philadelphia in spite of having a season-long hangover from sipping the nectar of the Super Bowl. Like nearly every SB winner, they win the home opener and go into a coma, listlessly on neutral and playing without much emotion. But after a fairly lucky win over the Giants, the playoffs are back in reach and that should get the juices flowing again.

Let's continue with the Eagles secondary, or the lack of it, but is Colt McCoy really good enough to take advantage of this Philly weakness? People were making excuses (reminded me of you) that McCoy had no time to prepare because of a short week and he'll be much better this week. If you are starting at ZERO, then yes, some improvement is expected. But how can you feel good about the old Longhorn?

One last thing, the Redskins offensive line is direct from Dunkin Donuts: They have a lot of holes that are plain to see. Tell me, old wise one, how do the Snyders have any shot?

SJ: So yes, Colt McCoy, a veritable dinosaur at 32, is a question mark under center for the Redskins, but despite the three interceptions against the Cowboys he still threw for two TDs and connected on more than 63% of his passes for 268 yards, so he wasn’t an abject failure.

And more to the point, the Cowboys defense is light years ahead of Philly’s. The Eagles are in the middle of the pack in sacks and near the bottom of the basement in picks with only five on the year. I’m much less worried about pressure exerted on McCoy this week than last, so I think he’ll be fine exploiting a wounded Philly defense that’s No. 28 in passing yards allowed, with dumps to Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis in twin tight-end sets. McCoy is capable of moving the chains, especially against a second-rate defense like Philly’s. Color me unconcerned, Doug. What else should shiver me timbers, Captain?

DU: I'm glad you think he's the real McCoy. I'm far less convinced,

Anyways, let's talk about that "vaunted" Washington defense. Gee, it seems like it was just yesterday, you and others were singing the praises of the Redskins' run defense. They were in the top 5 in the NFL and teams were forced (with a great deal of success) to toss the pigskin at an aging Josh Norman, who is turning into "Revis Island" Man Overboard on a weekly basis.

Well, Jay Gruden and his defensive coaches came up with a fix and in their last four games are permitting only 135.5 YPG on the ground. However, the good news, SJ, is the Skins are up to 23rd in pass defense. Carson Wentz has to be smiling from ear to ear watching film this week.

SJ: The real McCoy … well how about that! I wasn’t sure how long it would take for someone to crowbar that in but dang it, Doug, I’m glad it was you!

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With the #Redskins gearing up for Monday’s pivotal game at Philadelphia, they're looking to re-establish their identity as a team that can dominate in the trenches, via @WashTimes https://t.co/OoOdkgZVI5

— Washington Redskins (@Redskins) November 28, 2018
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OK, so you wanna take shots at the defense, your Eagles do not come equipped with a great offensive line as presently constituted and the Redskins can bring the heat with a first-round rookie DT stud in Bama product Daron Payne, whose last name is oh so apt, along with another Alabama first-round defensive down lineman from 2017 in Jonathan Allen. Add to that veteran Ryan Kerrigan on the edge with 8 sacks on the year and if you’re talking pressure, it’s the Redskins who are gonna bring it, not Philly. Especially now that Wentz is not nearly as mobile as he was last year because of the torn ACL he suffered a year ago; that’s probably still bothering him but he’s playing through it and keeping his mouth shut.

DU: I'll even give you Wentz is not the same guy as last season, but for all those name brands in Washington's defense, which is like an ad for Amazon, let's talk real-life production play after play.

Now you may disagree with me on just about everything, but you cannot here. Jay Gruden vs. Doug Pederson for putting together game plans and in-game coaching. Gruden might have been the best head coach ever in Arena Football, but this is not the AFL. This guy is a dolt and while on occasion, he wins and makes a few good decisions, even a blind squirrel finds an acorn. Pederson will probe the defense, find the quickest weakness and take away McCoy's first read when passing and the fun begins for Philly fans.

SJ: I don’t know, Doug, I’ve never bet on or against a coach before and I ain’t startin’ now (that’s me being folksy). You think Pederson is a difference maker over Gruden, then have at it, brotha, but I’m focused on too many other things that will be the difference - when we meet again next week - between me gloating like a prom queen who saw her impossibly hot rival trip on the dance floor or sulking like JJ Gold at a singles bar. SBR's major online sportsbooks are dealing this one at Philly -6 to 6½, but for the sake of this discussion, we will assume that the line is 6 and go from there. You’ve got the last word, you silver-tongued devil.

DU: The 6 points might seem like trouble to you, but the Skins are a deplorable 10-23 ATS on "Monday Night Football" and lose by 10. For one night, it feels like last year for the Eagles and me too.

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