The Eagles (2-0) are on the road to face the Commanders (1-1) at FedExField at 1 p.m. on Sunday.
To the predictions:
Reuben Frank (1-1)
I’m thinking Carson Wentz puts up big numbers, gets the ball in the end zone a couple times, puts up 24 or maybe 27 points, has one gigantic screw-up and ultimately takes an L in his first game against his former team. Because I feel like the Eagles can score in the mid-30s against the Commanders, and I don't think Washington can match that sort of firepower. I love where the Eagles’ offense is right now, and maybe somebody can slow them down but I don’t think it’s Washington. I love the matchup between the Eagles’ running attack – 5th in the league at 5.2 yards per carry – and a Commanders run defense allowing 7.5 yards per carry, worst through two games by any NFL team since the 1951 New York Yanks. But I expect the Eagles to be able to move the ball in the air as well against the NFL’s 27th-ranked defense. The Eagles are 15-10 all-time at FedExField, including four wins in the last five years. I don’t think this will be a particularly easy game. Washington does have some talent on both sides of the ball. It never seems all that easy down there. But I’m thinking the Eagles and 20,000 of their fans head back north 3-0.
Eagles 34, Commanders 27
Dave Zangaro (2-0)
Trap game? That was my first thought about this Week 3 matchup. And to be fair, my initial plan was to pick the Eagles to win against the Vikings and then lose this game on the road. … But then I watched Jalen Hurts dazzle and Jonathan Gannon adjust as the Birds spanked the Vikings on national TV. There’s no way I’m picking the Commanders after that. They’re 1-1 but could very well be 0-2 with losses to the Lions and Jaguars.
Still, it never seems easy when these two teams play each other. Washington gave the Eagles a brief scare last year with Garrett Gilbert at quarterback and this year’s team is much better. Carson Wentz has some legit weapons with Terry McLaurin, Curtis Samuel and Jahan Dotson. But that line isn’t in great shape and as well as Wentz is playing you can always count on him for a couple boneheaded plays. And on the other side, I don’t see the Commanders slowing down Hurts and the very dangerous Eagles offense. The Eagles move to 3-0 and get ready for Doug Pederson’s homecoming in Week 4.
Eagles 27, Commanders 20
Barrett Brooks (2-0)
First off, this prediction really has nothing to do with the Commanders. It is really about the Eagles and how I feel they should approach the season from this point forward. The Eagles have a really talented roster so they should prepare like that. They should focus on running what they are good at, and make it great. It shouldn't matter who the Birds’ opponent is. I realize this sounds crazy, but I won a Super Bowl with this mindset. While playing with the Steelers, we practiced like we were the best players in the league. On Sundays when we played, we had already practiced against the best players in the NFL. Games seemed easier than practice. The Eagles’ mindset should be that they are playing against a bunch of nameless players on Sunday. Win the battles on Monday-Saturday and Sunday will be easy.
So back to the Washington Commanders, the offense is very talented at the specialist positions. I love the matchup between the secondary of the Eagles and the specialists of the commanders. This is the battle I will be focusing on Sunday.
The Commanders’ offensive line is the weak link. On defense, the Commanders’ defensive line is the strong point. Fletcher Cox and the rest of the defensive line will get reacquainted with Carson Wentz.
Eagles 31, Commanders 17
Mike Mulhern (2-0)
It can be hard to match the same level of intensity from week to week in the NFL. Letdown games happen and this is the perfect storm for the Eagles to play less than their best. It’s a short week, they’re coming off an emotional win, and it’d be easy to get caught up in the Super Bowl buzz currently permeating the city. What separates good teams from great ones is the ability to come away with a win even when circumstances might dictate otherwise. The Eagles will show they’ve made that leap on Sunday.
Carson Wentz facing his former team is the headline, but Jalen Hurts will surely have a bit of a chip on his shoulder facing his so-called mentor. Hurts is already in the MVP conversation and will further cement himself among the ascending quarterbacks by lighting up a Commanders defense that ranks near the bottom of the league in just about everything. It’s easy to be wowed by the names up front on Washington’s defense, but the back seven is bad. Hurts should have another easy day in the pocket spreading the ball around and methodically marching the Birds to scores.
On the flip side, the Commanders should be applauded for embracing what Wentz is: a home run hitter who strikes out a ton. In order to get the good (big plays), you have to live with the bad (a whole lot of sacks and turnovers). The Colts tried to turn Wentz into a game manager, hoping to eliminate the negative plays. All they did was stunt the potential for explosiveness in the passing game. In Washington, Wentz is surrounded by playmakers and is currently tied for the league lead in touchdown passes (7). Yet he still has a major penchant for disaster, and it’ll strike one too many times on Sunday.
Eagles 28, Commanders 20
Adam Hermann (2-0)
Confidence is high around this Eagles team, which makes Week 3 against the Commanders the perfect time for a trap game. Carson Wentz will absolutely still do Carson Wentz things, but this Washington squad can be sneakily frisky and Nick Sirianni would be smart to make sure his guys don't get too comfortable.
Luckily, between Sirianni's dawg mentality preaching and Jalen Hurts' even-keeled leadership, I don't think they will. And when you look at these two teams the Eagles are clearly better, if they play the way they did last week.
Washington has weapons on offense. Jahan Dotson (3 TDs!) has started his NFL career red-hot, Terry McLaurin is a nightmare to keep under wraps, and Curtis Samuel is still both fast and dynamic. Darius Slay and James Bradberry need to re-up their excellent Week 2 performances and C.J. Gardner-Johnson needs to settle into his new defensive role or this could turn into a shootout. I do think Jonathan Gannon, who remembered last week that he's allowed to blitz, will generate enough pressure to disrupt Wentz and his happy feet. And that's when the Eagles' offense, one of the best units in the entire league through two weeks, goes to work and gets the job done.
Give me an ill-timed pick-six in the second half from Wentz and a 3-0 start for the Birds.
Eagles 30, Commanders 23
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