Week 1 of the 2017 NFL regular season is finally here, and many are making their picks for the Philadelphia Eagles against the Washington Redskins. The oddsmakers have this line close, and choosing NFL picks with a tight line can be tricky, but a divisional rivalry like the Redskins and the Eagles have a solid history to draw on. OddsShark, which covers NFL picks and odds, currently shows the average line for the game as the Eagles -1 (Redskins +1), with the over/under (or total) at 48.
The Washington Redskins: Don’t Believe The Drama
To look at this game, and who to pick, you first have to take the nonsense off the table. It looks like Redskins’ quarterback Kirk Cousins, who threw over 4,900 yards last season with 25 touchdowns (and 12 picks), may be leaving Washington after the 2017 season. Many pundits and media outlets have raised the question if this will affect the Redskins as a team, and if Kirk Cousins will be as motivated. Though this may provide some drama for a story, there’s really nothing to see here.
When you’re a professional athlete you always try to play at your best; that’s one of the ingredients that brought them to the dance to begin with. Not only are you playing to win as a team, but you’re performing to show your value as an individual player. A professional competes to win, and to make a lot of money doing it. So the idea that Cousins is going to call-it-in for Washington this year, and just sit back to collect his handsome salary, is ludicrous.
As far as this year goes for Washington, it doesn’t matter where Cousins will be next year. He has the respect of the fans, his coaches, and most importantly, his teammates. If there was drama in the locker room with him, then that likely would affect this game play. But that’s not the case. With his value increasing, if anything, Cousins should be more motivated this 2017 NFL season than he has ever been before. If the Redskins lose to the Eagles on Sunday, it won’t be because of a lack of effort from Captain Kirk.
Eagles At Redskins: Tale Of The Tape
The Philadelphia Eagles finished last season with a record of 7-9-0, and they have lost to the Redskins five times in a row. They had a decent defense when it came to home games last season, but they struggled greatly on the road (Philadelphia lost the last seven road games in 2016). They did acquire wide receivers Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith, as well as former Patriots’ running back LeGarrette Blount. So, Eagles’ quarterback Carson Wentz has plenty of weapons, but Philly’s defense is going to be outsized by Washington’s offense.
The Redskins finished the 2016 NFL season with a record of 8-7-1, and they put together back-to-back winning seasons for the first time in 20 years. Captain Kirk no longer has Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson in his arsenal, but he does have Terrelle Pryor, Sr. (6-foot-4, 228 pounds) and Josh Doctson (6-foot-2, 206 pounds). The size, and talent, of that duo will be a lot for the Eagles’ defense to contend with.
In addition to those impressive wideouts, Redskins still have tight ends Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis, and wide receiver Jamison Crowder (listed as questionable, but will likely play) to work the middle. And as far as their running game goes, Rob Kelley has ran the ball well on the Eagles (88 yards last season and a touchdown). If Kelley gets his stride early this season, that could spell trouble for many teams, starting with the Philadelphia Eagles.
The Redskins spent their off season doing exactly what Washington fans were hoping they would do: revamping their defensive front. With newcomers Stacy McGee, Terrell McClain, and Jonathan Allen joining defensive players Ryan Kerrigan and Josh Norman, the Redskins’ defense may actually be good this year (compared to finishing in the bottom five in the NFL last season). If Kirk gets good protection, he will have no problem finding his targets.
Washington Redskins Vs. Philadelphia Eagles: Start Time And Picks
The game takes place at Washington’s FedEx Field, and the action starts at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday, September 10, 2017, on Fox. If you are looking at the over/under, there is a great chance this will be a high scoring game. Redskins have had no issues with Philly’s defense as of late, and Washington’s defense is still finding its groove. But 48 points may be a little high for this game. It’s best to stay away from the total, but for those who love predicting the over/under, I think at most we will see 47 points.
Washington has had Philly’s number for quite some time now, and there is no reason to think that will change by Sunday. The smart pick is taking the points and backing the Redskins. With strong offensive weapons, a defense that shows signs of improving this 2017 NFL season, and quarterback Kirk Cousins behind the ball, the Washington Redskins should beat the Philadelphia Eagles by at least a touchdown.
[Featured Image by Rob Carr/Getty Images]