The Philadelphia Eagles (8-0) look to remain the NFL’s only undefeated team when they host the Washington Commanders (4-5) on Monday Night Football. These teams met in Washington D.C. in week 3 when the Eagles sacked Commanders QB Carson Wentz nine times en route to a 24-8 victory.
Wentz is no longer under center for the Commanders after fracturing a finger on this throwing hand, but they have gone 2-1 since backup Taylor Heinicke took the reins. They were nearly 3-0 but they squandered a chance to upset the 7-1 Minnesota Vikings last week by surrendering 13 unanswered points in the 4th quarter to lose 20-17 (and they also failed to cover!).
The Eagles improved to 8-0 for the first time in franchise history by beating Houston 29-17 on Thursday Night Football. Despite the double-digit win, it was not their best performance, particularly on defense, where they surrendered 139 rushing yards to Texans rookie Dameon Pierce. The Commanders have not been particularly effective on the ground this season, partly because they have played from behind a lot, but they could look to attack the Eagles’ biggest vulnerability this season.
Let’s take a look at the odds, injuries and depth charts for this Commanders vs. Eagles matchup and see my picks and predictions for the game.
Washington Commanders vs. Philadelphia Eagles Betting Odds
The Eagles opened as double-digit favorites for the third consecutive week with a spread of -10.5 in this matchup. Their moneyline odds range from -490 to -550 depending on the sportsbook. Bettors are taking the points in the early action, with approximately 70% of the money against the spread on the Commanders, but the Eagles are getting roughly 90% of the handle on the moneyline.
The over/under for this matchup opened at 44.5 and dipped to 43.5. Approximately 80% of the money is on the under, which is consistent with the public slant towards the Commanders with the points. If the total is 43 or lower, then Washington would only need to score 17 points to guarantee a cover. They are averaging 17.7 points per game (26th in the league) and 19 points per game with Heinicke at QB, while the Eagles are averaging 16.9 points allowed per game (4th in the league).
The implied outcome of these odds is the Eagles winning 27-16.5.
Washington Commanders vs. Philadelphia Eagles Prediction
It’s a bit perplexing to me why the public is betting so hard on the Commanders this week. What reason have they given to offer any confidence that they can cover a 10.5-point spread on the road against the undefeated Eagles?
Yes, they have played better of late and have gone 2-1 with Heinicke (and should be 3-0). Yes, they are 3-0 against the spread with Heinicke. But this team lost by 16 points at home against the Eagles in week three, and now they have to play in Philadelphia. The only major change to either team since week 10 is the Washington quarterback. Even if Heinicke is an upgrade over Carson Wentz (statistically, he’s not), is it really enough to think he can close that 16-point margin by at least 5.5 points? It would be difficult for me to argue that it is.
Maybe it’s not about the Commanders. Maybe bettors think they saw some vulnerabilities start to emerge last week in this Eagles team. Was the 168 rushing yards allowed really that concerning? The Texans could not do anything but run the ball – the Eagles allowed a season-low 135 passing yards in that game. It was also a game played on a short week after the Eagles lost their best run-stuffer in rookie defensive tackle Jordan Davis. The Commanders also are not exactly a strong running team (21st in rushing yards per game, 27th in rushing offense DVOA) that can exploit this Eagles weakness, although their run game has looked better of late.
So if I’m betting the spread in this game, I’m fading the public and betting on the Eagles. The moneyline odds aren’t offering enough value to tempt me. If you’re not interested in laying 10.5, I also like the Eagles second quarter spread of -3. The Birds have scored a whopping 133 points in the 2nd quarter this season (16.6/game) with a +96 scoring margin (12/game). The Commanders have scored 41 points in the 2nd quarter, second lowest in the league on a points per game basis. These things can be fluky, but with nine weeks of data, I like those numbers.
If I were betting the total in this matchup, I would take the over, but I would rather stay away from that line. The Commanders have scored over 17 points just once since week 2, and if they get shut down by the Eagles’ defense like they did in week 3, then I don’t want to rely on the Eagles’ offense to score enough points to carry the game total over 43.5. While I expect the Commanders to look better on offense in the rematch, which is why I lean towards the over, I also don’t want to bet on that.
Instead, I would take the over on the Eagles’ team total of 27.5. I have much more confidence in the Eagles at least matching their season average of 28.1 points per game. They have ticked up that average to 30 per game over the last four weeks.
My prediction: Eagles win 31-16, Eagles cover, over 43.5
Best Bets: Eagles 2nd quarter -3, Eagles’ team total over 27.5
- The Commanders are 3-0-1 ATS in their last four games.
- The Commanders are 2-8 ATS in their last 10 games on Monday Night Football.
- The Eagles are 4-0 ATS in their last four home games.
- The Under is 6-1 in the Commanders’ last seven games.
- The Over is 8-1 in the Eagles’ last nine home games, but the Under is 5-1 in their last six games on Monday Night Football.
- The Commanders are 1-3-1 ATS in their last five games in Philadelphia and 3-7-1 ATS in their last 11 meetings overall.
Washington Commanders Injuries: WR Jahan Dotson (Q – hamstring), RB J.D. McKissic (Q – neck), LB Cole Holcomb (Q – foot), LB David Mayo (Q – hamstring), DE Shaka Toney (Q – calf), DE Chase Young (IR – knee/ACL)
Philadelphia Eagles Injuries: CB Josiah Scott (Q – ankle), CB Josh Jobe (Q – thigh), DT Jordan Davis (O – ankle)
After returning to practice last week, Chase Young has a chance to play this week for the first time this season:
Chase Young will not play this week, as mostly expected. He was only going to play a very limited package, if at all.
At least someone will be returning in Philly.
— Chris Russell AKA the 🐓🐓! (@Russellmania621) November 4, 2022
Check out the key matchups and mismatches for Washington Commanders vs. Philadelphia Eagles below.
Eagles’ offensive line vs. Commanders’ pass rush
This is the best matchup to watch in this game, as these units are the strongest aspects of each team. The Commanders’ defensive line features one of the best interior duos in the league in Daron Payne and Jonathan Allen, who have a combined 10 sacks and 21 tackles for loss this season. Allen and Payne rank third and fourth, respectively, in the NFL in tackles for loss. In the week 3 matchup, Eagles running back Miles Sanders was held to season lows of 46 yards and 3.07 yards per carry thanks in large part to the strength of that defensive tackle tandem.
Off the edge, Montez Sweat has three sacks and six tackles for loss, and the Commanders might be getting a boost from the return of Chase Young, even if it’s on limited snaps. Washington generates pressure at the third highest rate in the league (26.6%) despite blitzing on just 24.8% of dropbacks (18th).
The Eagles showed some vulnerability against the pass rush last week against the Texans, giving up four sacks and allowing pressure on 24.2% of dropbacks. Left tackle Jordan Mailata appeared to be bothered by a lingering shoulder injury, while right tackle Lane Johnson gave up his first sack since week 11 of the 2020 season.
Think Lane Johnson just gave up his first sack since 2020. (His guy didn't get the sack, but he beat Lane inside, wrecked the play, and caused the eventual sack.)
— Jimmy Kempski (@JimmyKempski) November 4, 2022
Commanders’ offensive line vs. Eagles’ pass rush
The last matchup might have been the most compelling and most competitive, but this one is the biggest mismatch. The Eagles wrecked the Commanders in week three with nine sacks, and it came from every direction as all four starting linemen and two linebackers notched at least one sack. Carson Wentz was under pressure on 40% of his dropbacks.
🎥 All 9 Eagles sacks on Carson Wentz pic.twitter.com/TYHS7wRSah
— Victor Williams (@ThePhillyPod) September 26, 2022
Some – but not all – of those sacks could be attributed to Wentz holding on to the ball too long or failing to escape the pressure, which is not as big of a problem for Heinicke.
Taylor Heinicke has been pressured on a higher % of dropbacks than Wentz (48% vs 34%) but he converts them into sacks much less frequently (11.7% vs 25.8%).
— Shane Haff (@HAFFnHAFF_TPL) November 9, 2022
The Commanders’ offensive line has struggled with injury and a lack of continuity. They have started seven different offensive line combinations in their nine games. As of this writing, none of their expected offensive line starters are on the injury report, so they could be playing their third straight game with the same starting five, which should help.
Still, Washington will its hands full once again with the Eagles’ pass rush. Defensive tackle Javon Hargrave has been unstoppable over the last two weeks, racking up nine sacks. This could also be the week that we start to see newly acquired edge rusher Robert Quinn getting more snaps. Quinn saw limited action in his first two games since coming over from the Bears, largely because of the quick turnaround after the trade followed by a short week before last week’s Thursday night game. With a few weeks in Philly under his belt and a few extra days to prepare this week, it will be interesting to see what kind of impact Quinn will have in this game.
Commanders’ rushing attack vs. Eagles’ defensive front
If Washington wants to attack the Eagles’ defense where it’s most vulnerable, they will emphasize establishing the run. In week three, partly due to game script after falling behind 24-0, the Commanders only ran the ball 22 times compared to 43 pass attempts. Part of the reason they have started turning their season around by going 3-1 over the last four weeks is because of their effectiveness running the ball. After averaging just 89 rushing yards per game through the first five weeks, they are averaging 132 per game over the last four.
The return of rookie Brian Robinson Jr. from a gunshot wound has helped with that. Although Robinson is averaging just 3.3 yards per carry, he has added a more physical element to the running game and allowed Antonio Gibson to return to his more natural role as a change-of-pace, pass-catching running back.
Philadelphia is allowing an average of 142.5 rushing yards per game over the last four games and has allowed more yards week over week for each of the last four games. That is not a good trend when they are also adjusting to the loss of mammoth rookie nose tackle Jordan Davis, who was their best run defender.
If the Commanders can establish the ground game, it will also take pressure off Taylor Heinicke and help to slow down the Eagles’ pass rush. Running the ball effectively will be key if Washington wants to keep the game close and give themselves a chance to pull off the upset – not to mention covering the spread.