The Washington Football Team has a 6-7 record but still holds down the final wild-card spot in the NFC. The WFT has a huge game at fellow 6-7 team Philadelphia on Sunday, but Washington could be down a few key more players after they landed on the COVID list Monday. The Eagles opened as 4-point favorites on the NFL odds as they come off their bye week.
Defensive tackle DT Jonathan Allen, The Football Team also placed LB David Mayo, DE William Bradley-King and TE Temarrick Hemingway landed on the COVID list. Washington now has nine players on the COVID list including five defensive linemen and a pair of linebackers. Allen has 7.5 sacks and nine tackles for loss. Both marks lead the Football Team. Allen is vaccinated, which means he can return as soon as he tests negative for two days in a row.
Washington’s defensive line was down defensive ends Montez Sweat, Casey Toohill and James Smith-Williams because of COVID-19 in Sunday’s loss to the Cowboys. At this point Washington does not know how many of those players will be back in time for this Sunday’s game against the Eagles.
The Cowboys ended WFT’s four-game winning streak with a 27-20 victory Sunday. During the winning streak, Washington’s third-down conversion rate was 50 percent. On Sunday, though, it was s just 3-of-15, or 20%. The offense sputtered against a potent Dallas defense, starring Micah Parsons, who completed five sacks and forced three fumbles.
On the bright side, Washington scored 20 second-half points, the most they have scored in the second half of a game since they scored 24 against the Cowboys on Thanksgiving last season. That’s despite QB Taylor Heinicke leaving with a knee injury.
Heinicke said after the game that his knee was fine and he should be ready to face the Eagles in Week 15. Heinicke suffered a knee injury when he was sacked by Cowboys defensive tackle Neville Gallimore early in the fourth quarter and did not return.
On Monday, head coach Ron Rivera told reporters in his press conference that Heinicke is sore and the team will monitor him over the course of the week. Heinicke also played through an elbow issue on Sunday. He finished the game 11-of-25 for 122 yards with a touchdown, an interception, and a lost fumble. Heinicke’s 43-yard touchdown pass to WR Cam Sims was his sixth TD pass of 25-plus yards this season. Kyle Allen replaced Heinicke in the fourth quarter and went 4-of-9 passing for 53 yards.
Allen has started 17 games in his career, the first 13 in 2018 and 2019 when he played for Rivera in Carolina, then four more for Washington last year. In 20 career games, Allen has completed 63 percent of his passes with 23 touchdowns, 17 interceptions and an 84.1 passer rating. He’s 7-10 in his 17 career starts and 1-3 with Washington. He’s never faced the Eagles.
Will the WFT have top receiver Terry McLaurin on Sunday? McLaurin suffered a concussion on a deep pass down the left sideline with 13 minutes remaining in the quarter. He tried to outjump two Dallas defenders for a pass and hit the ground hard. McLaurin finished with no catches in a game for the first time in his three-year career. He was targeted just four times. McLaurin is Washington’s leading pass-catcher for the season with 61 catches for 808 yards and five touchdowns.
Washington has already played without third-down back J.D. McKissic (concussion) the past two games. Tight end Logan Thomas is out for the year with a knee injury. It has also lost three centers to injuries this season.
Sunday will be the first meeting of the season between Washington and Philadelphia. The WFT won both last year. Washington will look to win its third-straight against the Eagles for the first time since winning five-straight from 2014-16. Washington is 27-28 all-time against the Eagles in Philadelphia, including an 8-10 mark at Lincoln Financial Field.
Eagles QB Jalen Hurts didn’t play Week 13 before the bye due to an ankle injury but will be good to go for this one. The bye week likely helped Hurts, putting him in a position to return. Hurts is still in the middle of the development, and the Eagles need him to get as much experience as possible. Hurts is also at his best when he can run the ball, forcing defenses to jeep one or two defenders in place to contain him from gaining the edge and picking up a lot of yards downfield for big plays.
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