Washington Football Team vs. Philadelphia Eagles: Storylines, prediction in battle for Wild Card spot

The Washington Football Team hopes to somehow win a game against the Philadelphia Eagles despite only having a 40-man active roster.

The Washington Football Team — or more specifically, what is left of it — faces off against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday in hopes of maintaining the seventh seed in the NFC playoff race. What began as an exciting game between two NFC East teams vying for a Wild Card spot has turned into an unmitigated health disaster, with 22 Washington players on the reserve/COVID-19 list.

Washington Football Team vs. Philadelphia Eagles storylines

Washington’s ability to field a competitive team is a massive question heading into Sunday. They face a greater personnel challenge than any team has been forced to endure since the pandemic began.

Jalen Hurts is likely to start against Washington after getting in a full practice on Sunday. The Eagles QB missed Philadelphia’s last game with an ankle injury and was limited on both Wednesday and Thursday. But the biggest question for this game is whether the Football Team can … ummm … field a football team that can keep things competitive.

Can Washington field a competent team?

The short answer is no. Honestly, the longer answer might simply be “heck no.” This team will undeniably be less talented than the Detroit Lions, New York Jets, Jacksonville Jaguars, or Houston Texans. Washington isn’t just missing bodies — they’re missing some of their most important players.

The Football Team got good news when Jonathan Allen and Matt Ioannidis were cleared from protocol. However, William Bradley-King, Kendall Fuller, Tim Settle, and Kamren Curl are each important defensive contributors and will miss Tuesday’s game. Washington might get some relief if Montez Sweat can clear COVID protocols, as his 10-day window ended on Sunday. But they’re still significantly hampered on defense.

Meanwhile, the offense might be even worse off. Washington’s top two quarterbacks — Taylor Heinicke and Kyle Allen —  will be unavailable after testing positive. As if their center problems weren’t already bad enough, both Keith Ismael and Tyler Larsen are also on the COVID list, as are fellow offensive linemen Brandon Scherff and Cornelius Lucas. Wide receiver Cam Sims hit the COVID list this week, as well.

There will be unrecognizable names on the field for Washington. It’s unfortunate that this is happening at a time where they desperately need this divisional win to dig into the seventh seed in the NFC. To make matters worse, Washington announced on Monday that they’ll be without seven coaches due to COVID protocol. So, as players come out of protocol, a slew of coaches enter. If they somehow win, ESPN will start the 30 for 30 post-haste!

Minshew Mania lurks in the shadows

We’ve become acquainted with the names missing in Washington. Just two weeks ago, we watched Minshew nickel and dime his way to a commanding victory against the hapless New York Jets. But now, it appears Hurts will return to the field against a reeling Washington defense.

If Hurts looks rusty in a situation tailor-made for success, Minshew Mania will rear its ugly head on social media with a fierceness we haven’t seen in quite some time. Philadelphia fans are ruthless, and if Hurts is anything but good against their division rival, they will be loud. That is especially true given what we last saw from Minshew.

Minshew went 20-for-25 against the Jets, throwing for 242 yards and 2 touchdowns. The Eagles also ran the ball well against New York. Washington is still missing key defenders, but they have their top three defensive tackles back for Tuesday, so running the ball could prove more challenging than it would have been on Sunday.

Even an ugly win probably won’t suffice for Eagles fans, which places added pressure on Hurts. Hopefully, he can go out and play well to avoid any type of quarterback controversy for a team trying to push for the playoffs. Presumably, Nick Sirianni understands the situation he’s in and is steadfast in his loyalty to Hurts. If anybody is Philadelphia’s future, it’s him.

Washington Football Team vs. Philadelphia Eagles betting line and game prediction

  • Spread: Eagles -6.5 (Odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook)
  • Moneyline: Eagles -260, Football Team +210
  • Total: 42.5

The Football Team is depleted offensively, making it hard to predict any type of success against Philadelphia. They’re still currently down both Heinicke and Allen, so it appears Kyle Shurmur will get the nod.

Washington vs. Eagles Prediction: Eagles 24, Washington 14

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