Saturday NFL Picks: Bad Defense Spells 'Over' In Redskins vs. Eagles

Doug Upstone

Thursday, December 24, 2015 2:13 PM UTC

Thursday, Dec. 24, 2015 2:13 PM UTC

Washington could win their second NFC East title in four years with a victory at Philadelphia. While that is important, our focus for NFL picks is on the sportsbooks NFL odds on the total.

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NFL Pick: Over 47
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle


Redskins vs. Eagles
Those setting the NFL odds on totals have had a very good handle on the Redskins this season with their 7-7 record, while the Eagles are 8-6 UNDER, which is about the only aspect of this team that is over .500.

Even at 6-8, if Philadelphia wins their last two contests, as bad as they have been, they can still win their division. What factors as a football handicapper should you be looking at to place NFL picks on this total, let us help you break it down.


Making the Case for the Over
This is the 161st regular-season meeting and Washington lead series, 82-73-5 and they will be out to take advantage of beleaguered Philadelphia defense. Early in the season the Eagles were giving up yards by not a lot of points, but that is no longer the case. Because Chip Kelly's offense plays at a faster pace, but this season is not necessary potent, the defense is on the field for long stretches of time and with their own ineffectiveness, they are on the field over 34 minutes a game, the worst in the NFL.

In three of their past five outings the Philly defense has surrendered at least 40 points, which suggests they are worn down. Philadelphia is 29th in total defense and look for coach Jay Gruden to run the ball against the Eagles 30th ranked run defense to set up pass and utilize special weapons like DeSean Jackson and TE Jordan Reed against depleted Philly secondary.

It should be noted the Washington defense does not strike fear in opposing teams, ranked 25th and they have nearly as many problems stopping the run as Kelly's bunch at 129.8 yards a game (28th).

If the Eagles can run, Sam Bradford can expose Skins defense conceding 0.5 points a game on the road and both clubs combine to surpass total of 47.5.


Making the Case for Under
Both these long time division rivals have playmakers, but they are not always used efficiently. Each of these offenses are middle of the pack scoring wise, ranked 15th (Philadelphia) and 16th at 22.7 and 22.6 points per game respectively.

In trying to determine why both do not do a better job, you have to look at essentially two factors. First, it starts up front and neither club has enjoyed much continuity in the offensive line, which hurts both the running and passing games. When they have been able to start the same five guys for a couple weeks, production has increased, otherwise, choppy like a whale watch ride in the Atlantic Ocean.

Also, digging into specific numbers that matter tell us why this battle has UNDER potential. Most Eagles fans would swear it's more, but their team is 16th in the league in three and outs and their counterparts are 23rd, as Washington does this almost one out of four drives, which kills offenses.

Philadelphia is not efficient on third down (21st), often because they do not do much on first down, putting them behind the chains and needing longer gains later in series.


What is the Correct Side for Totals Play?
Normally in a big game with a lot riding on the outcome, a lower scoring affair would be expected. But with these defenses not very stellar, I can see both quarterbacks being able to push the ball down the field.

Plus, we have Redskins crew off an couple wins and covers and they are 9-2 OVER off one or more spread covers and the Eagles are virtually the same coming at it from different perspective, at 10-2 OVER with one or more setbacks. Having lost the turnover battle 4-0 to Arizona last Sunday, Kelly's club is 6-0 OVER after a game with a turnover margin of -2 or worse.

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