The Philadelphia Eagles can take another step on the way to an undefeated regular season record against NFC East rivals the Washington Commanders on Monday night.
Nick Sirianni's men, who are 8-0 for the first time in franchise history, should be well-rested after what has effectively been a mini-bye week.
They failed to cover the two-touchdown spread in a 29-17 win over the Houston Texans a week last Thursday, but were utterly dominant the last time they met Washington in Week 3.
Commanders quarterback Carson Wentz was sacked nine times and lost a fumble in a 24-8 loss at FedEx Field, but the visitors will have Taylor Heinicke under center for this rematch and there is a good chance that star pass rusher Chase Young can also return.
|What||Washington Commanders @ Philadelphia Eagles|
|Where||Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia|
|When||8:15 p.m. ET/5:15 pm PT Monday, November 14th|
|How to watch||ESPN & stream via fuboTV|
|Odds||WAS Commanders +400, PHI Eagles -525|
Enough has been said and written about the Eagles this season for it to be universally acknowledged that they are the best of a relatively talent-drained NFC.
Jalen Hurts has excelled to the point where he, amid Josh Allen's wobbly form with Buffalo, looks like the regular season MVP in waiting now.
Yet there were signs he was confused by the Texans' defensive looks in last week's game, which remained close until a key interception midway through the third quarter which Hurts immediately punished by finding AJ Brown in the end zone.
Philly's reliance on the run-pass option (RPO) could be about to come a little unstuck as they go up against an opponent for the second time this season.
Many doubt the sustainability of the RPO over the long term because it does not generate explosive chunk plays and it will be interesting to see what Washington have learned from their September matchup.
They limited the Eagles to 87 yards rushing, but were unable to stop Hurts racking up 340 yards of passing - of which 169 went to DeVonta Smith.
If they can tip the balance there slightly by dialing up more consistent pressure at the line - which is where Young, who hasn't played since tearing the ACL in his right knee 12 months ago, comes in.
The Texans almost doubled their sack rate last Thursday by getting to Hurts four times, so recognizing where the pressure is coming from will be key to the whole offense working the way it should.
The Commanders don't like blitzing much but Jonathan Allen is a good run stuffer in the middle of the defensive line and they do not tend to stack the box behind him much, which has led to some teams taking advantage by running more on first and second downs.
While Washington's defense ranks 14th overall and one place outside the top-10 against the rush, their offense has been really struggling and ranks no higher than 21st in the NFL in any category.
Before being placed on injured reserve with a fractured finger, Wentz had a 2-4 record as the Commanders' starter with 10 passing TDs and six interceptions. He also had six fumbles and an average QBR of 33.
Heinicke has provided a spark since coming into the team, throwing for 629 yards with five TDs and three INTs to garner a QBR of 42.9.
His energy and enthusiasm almost brought Washington a shock win last Sunday against the Vikings and he led three fourth-quarter comebacks last season.
He almost had another in a close defeat to the Eagles late in 2021 when a receiver slipped at the 4-yard line as he attempted to haul in Heinicke's go-ahead TD pass, which instead resulted in an interception to ice the 20-16 Eagles' win.
Rookie wide receiver Jahan Dotson, who started the year well, returns for his game to boost a Commanders offense that rarely deviates from the 11 personnel package.
That will probably mean a lot of action for Philadelphia's backup nickel corner Josiah Scott, who comes in for the injured Avonte Maddox.
The Eagles are 5-3 against the spread this season, but last week's first-half struggles against the Texans ought to be a red flag for anyone considering them to cover the -10.5 point Spread at -110 here.
Taking the Under 43.5 point Total at may be the soundest option around as under has hit in two thirds of the Commanders' games and Washington's probably conservative offensive gameplan could chew up a lot of time on the game clock.